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Your Cockatiels Health Ask questions about your cockatiels health here.

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  #1  
Old 04-27-2017, 01:20 PM
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Default Cockatiel Sheaths Out of Control: Remedies?

Seeing as how Enzo is only 4 months, almost five now, I don't think that he's begun to molt yet. (He is losing quite a few feathers though, but not noticeably more than before) However, recently I've noticed a large amount of sheathes around the back of his neck and a few down his back.

I've been trying to help him break these sheathes that he likely cannot reach (he's been scratching at them A LOT recently) by rubbing the back of his neck and taking some of the sheathes between my fingers and trying to roll them to try and help break them open, but he either won't stay still long enough for me not make a lot of progress or he starts screaming loudly.

Is there anything I can do to help?
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:35 PM
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Bathes, bathes, and more bathes!


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Old 04-27-2017, 08:07 PM
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Sounds like he has begun a molt. It is possible for them to molt that early.

Keep persevering with the scritching and give him showers often.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:56 AM
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What the others have said Sounds like molting. Poor kid sounds uncomfortable! You can give them some baths by spraying them or letting them splash around in a bowl.

Good luck to you
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:11 AM
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Thanks for the advice guys!
I'll start to try to bathe him at least every other day (does it help if it's warmer water?)

Luckily, I managed to spend 10-20 minutes grasping sheathes and managed to rub and break almost all of them open with my nail. (They're WAY easier to break than I thought!)

Not twisting them and using my nail to break them was seemingly more comfortable than twisting since he didn't make one scream. (Though he was squeaking in pleasure )

Last edited by mlj722; 04-28-2017 at 09:44 AM..
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:13 PM
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Warm water would feel nicer, but it's not completely necessary.

And yep, sheaths are pretty easy to break. When my conure went through his 1st molt, I was going nonstop on his head and neck
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Old 04-29-2017, 01:41 PM
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Yes, he's molting. If you touch pin feathers the wrong way, like you bend them the wrong way, pull on them accidentally, etc. it's hurts the bird a lot. Usually gently rolling a pin feather between your fingers that is ready to come open will result in the keratin sheath around the feather to fall apart, but if the keratin sheath doesn't look very dry or doesn't fall apart very easily, then the pin feather is not ready to open up and it will usually cause them pain. Only try to break apart the pin feathers whose keratin sheaths are very dry and brittle looking.

Warm showers (best) and baths are the best way to get rid of the sheaths that are ready to go because they're very dry and brittle, and specifically a warm shower gets rid of most of the mature ones. These mature pin feathers that are dry and brittle are very itchy, so warm showers to get rid of a lot of them is the best way to relieve the itching. As far as the newer pin feathers that aren't ready to break open, these are the ones that cause actual soreness. In addition to a warm shower every day, they make aloe vera sprays (specifically made for birds and are bird safe and bought in a pet shop or bird store...Do not use any sprays made for humans as it may make your bird sick) you can spray on your bird after they take a warm shower that will moisturize and loosen up the younger sheaths that are not ready to open and that are causing them pain, and they also help to break down the older, mature sheaths that are itchy. I use a spray made by Ecotrition called "Bird Molt Ease" that you can buy at any Petco in the bird section. It comes in a spray bottle and costs around $10. It contains not only Aloe and Lanolin, but it also contains Purcellin Oil, which is the natural oil that birds secrete from their Preen Gland and that they dip their beaks in and use to preen themselves with. You don't need much of this spray at all, just one little spritz on the areas with large amounts of pin feathers, then gently use your fingers to rub it down into the skin and around the base of the sheaths. My birds feel 100% better after I give them a warm shower and then spray a tiny bit of the Ecotrition Molt Ease on their pin feathers. It gets rid of all of the itchiness and speeds up the molting process quite a bit.

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