Why Do Parakeets Pull Out Their Feathers?

Parakeets are vibrant and delightful birds? You may have noticed that your feathered companions undergo a fascinating process known as feather shedding. As parakeet lovers, it’s natural to be curious about this aspect of their lives.

So, let’s dive into the mesmerizing world of parakeet moulting and feather shedding.

Why Do Parakeets Pull Out Their Feathers?

For parakeet owners, witnessing their beloved pets engage in such self-destructive behavior can be a cause for concern and confusion.

1. Moulting

One of the most common and natural reasons for feather plucking in parakeets is moulting. Moulting is the process by which birds shed old feathers and grow new ones. During moulting, parakeets may appear to be pulling out their feathers, but this behaviour is actually a normal part of the feather renewal process.

Moulting can be uncomfortable for birds, and they may engage in feather plucking to alleviate itching or discomfort.

2. Stress and Anxiety

Parakeets are highly sensitive birds, and they can easily become stressed or anxious in certain situations. Changes in their environment, such as moving to a new home, the introduction of new pets, or even loud noises, can trigger stress in parakeets.

In response to this stress, they may start pulling out their feathers as a coping mechanism. It’s essential for parakeet owners to create a calm and stable environment to minimize stress-related feather plucking.

3. Loneliness and Boredom

Parakeets are social birds that thrive on companionship and mental stimulation. If a parakeet is left alone for extended periods or lacks interaction with other birds or humans, it may become bored and lonely.

Feather plucking can be a sign of frustration and a cry for attention. Providing parakeets with toys, social interaction, and mental enrichment can help prevent this behaviour.

4. Medical Issues

Feather plucking can also be a symptom of underlying health problems in parakeets. Birds may pull out their feathers in response to discomfort or pain caused by conditions like mites, infections, or allergies.

It’s crucial for parakeet owners to monitor their pets for any signs of illness and seek prompt veterinary care if feather plucking is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

5. Hormonal Changes

Parakeets, like many birds, go through hormonal changes during certain times of the year, particularly during breeding season. These hormonal fluctuations can lead to changes in behaviour, including feather plucking.

In some cases, male parakeets may pluck the feathers of a female they are courting, which can be a part of their courtship behaviour.

6. Learned Behavior

Sometimes, feather plucking can become a learned behaviour in parakeets. If a bird starts plucking its feathers due to one of the aforementioned reasons and finds relief or attention as a result, it may continue this behaviour as a habit.

Breaking this habit can be challenging, but with patience and proper care, it is possible.

One essential product to have on hand is an avian first aid kit. This kit on Amazon contains items like wound care solutions, bandages, and other supplies that can be useful in case your parakeet injures itself during feather plucking.

What Should I Do If My Parakeet Starts Plucking Its Feathers?

Feather plucking is a behaviour in which parakeets pull out their own feathers, often causing concern among pet owners.

Step 1: Identify the Cause

Before taking any action, it’s crucial to determine the underlying cause of your parakeet’s feather plucking. As mentioned, feather plucking can be due to various reasons, including moulting, stress, boredom, medical issues, hormonal changes, or learned behaviour.

Consider using a parakeet health supplement like ZuPreem AvianMaintenance FruitBlend Bird Diet to support your parakeet’s overall health during this period.

Step 2: Consult a Veterinarian

If you suspect a medical issue is causing your parakeet’s feather plucking, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian who specializes in avian care. A vet can perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatments.

Invest in a reliable travel carrier like the Prevue Pet Products Travel Bird Cage for safe and stress-free trips to the vet.

Step 3: Adjust the Environment

If your parakeet’s feather plucking is due to stress, loneliness, or boredom, you can make changes to its environment to address these issues.

  • Increase Social Interaction: Spend more time with your parakeet, talk to it, and engage in interactive play.
  • Provide Toys and Enrichment: Offer a variety of toys such as mirrors, swings, and puzzle feeders to keep your parakeet mentally stimulated.

Try out the BWOGUE Bird Swing Toys to keep your parakeet entertained and physically active.

Step 4: Offer a Balanced Diet

A healthy diet is essential for your parakeet’s overall well-being. Ensure you’re providing a well-balanced diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and a high-quality pellet or seed mix.

Consider switching to a nutritious pellet-based diet like Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Parakeet Food for optimal nutrition.

Step 5: Use Deterrents

If feather plucking has become a habit for your parakeet, you can use deterrents to discourage the behaviour.

Try the Prevue Hendryx Pet Products Tinkle Turf for Birds as a safe and gentle deterrent.

Step 6: Monitor Progress

Keep a close eye on your parakeet’s behaviour and feather condition as you implement these changes. It may take time for improvements to become evident, so be patient.

How Often Do Parakeets Shed Their Feathers?

Parakeets typically shed their feathers once or twice a year. The frequency of moulting can vary depending on factors such as the bird’s age, health, diet, and environmental conditions. In general, adult parakeets moult less frequently than young birds.

The primary moulting season for parakeets is usually during the late summer or early autumn. During this time, they will shed and replace a significant portion of their feathers. This moulting period allows them to renew their plumage and get rid of any worn-out or damaged feathers.

Some parakeets may also go through a smaller, less noticeable moult during the spring or at other times of the year. This “mini-moult” helps to maintain their feathers and keep them in optimal condition.

Can Environmental Factors Influence Parakeet Feather Shedding?

Yes, environmental factors can influence parakeet feather shedding. Parakeets are sensitive creatures, and their environment plays a significant role in their overall health and well-being, including their feather condition and moulting patterns.

Here are some environmental factors that can impact parakeet feather shedding:

1. Lighting

The amount of natural light or artificial lighting in the parakeet’s environment can affect their hormonal balance and moulting schedule.

Changes in day length can trigger moulting, so keeping a consistent light-dark cycle can help regulate their moulting patterns.

2. Temperature and Humidity

Drastic fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels can stress parakeets and may affect their moulting process.

Providing a stable and comfortable environment is essential for their overall health and feather maintenance.

3. Cage Size and Enrichment

Parakeets kept in small or overcrowded cages may experience increased stress, which can lead to abnormal feather shedding or plucking.

Providing an adequately sized cage with toys, perches, and other forms of enrichment can reduce stress and promote healthy feather growth.

4. Cleanliness

A clean and hygienic environment is crucial for your parakeet’s health. Dust, debris, and mould in the cage can irritate their respiratory system and skin, leading to feather problems.

Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to keep the environment safe for your feathered friend.

5. Toxins and Chemicals

Exposure to toxic substances, such as cigarette smoke, aerosols, or household cleaners, can negatively impact a parakeet’s feathers and overall health. Ensure their living area is free from harmful chemicals and potential sources of pollution.

6. Companionship and Stress

Parakeets are social birds and thrive in the presence of other birds or human companionship.

Loneliness or stress from being isolated or kept in an unsuitable environment can contribute to abnormal feather shedding.

7. Diet

A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for healthy feather growth. Poor nutrition can result in feather problems, so ensure your parakeet’s diet includes a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, and pellets suitable for their species.

Should I Be Concerned if I Find Bald Patches on My Parakeet Due to Feather Shedding?

If you find bald patches on your parakeet due to feather shedding, it’s essential to pay attention and assess the situation. While some degree of feather loss is normal during moulting, bald patches can be a cause for concern and may indicate an issue that needs attention. 

Here are some factors to consider:

1. Extension of Bald Patches

If the bald patches are small and limited, especially in areas like the head or neck where preening is common during moulting it may not be a cause for immediate concern.

However, extensive bald patches could indicate a problem.

2. Behavioural Signs

Observe your parakeet’s behaviour. If they seem unusually agitated, spend excessive time preening, or show signs of discomfort, it might be an indication of an issue causing the excessive feather loss.

3. Feather Plucking

Examine whether your parakeet is actively pulling out its feathers (feather plucking). Feather plucking is a behavioural problem that can cause bald patches and is often a sign of stress, boredom, or underlying health issues.

4. Skin Irritation

Check the exposed skin on the bald patches for signs of redness, inflammation, or any skin abnormalities. Irritation or skin problems could be contributing to feather loss.

5. Diet and Nutrition

Evaluate your parakeet’s diet. Poor nutrition or deficiencies in essential nutrients can affect feather health and contribute to excessive shedding.

6. Environmental Factors

Assess your parakeet’s living environment. Stress, lack of companionship, or exposure to toxins can lead to abnormal feather loss.


Finding bald patches on your parakeet due to feather shedding may warrant concern. While some degree of feather loss during moulting is normal, extensive bald patches, feather plucking, behavioural changes, or skin issues should prompt a visit to an avian veterinarian.

Early detection and appropriate care can ensure your parakeet’s health and happiness. Remember to provide a balanced diet, a stress-free environment, and regular veterinary check-ups to support your feathered companion throughout their life.

Written by Justin Michaels

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