Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cockatiel with Dry Itchy Skin

CUSTOMER QUESTION: I have a cockatiel about 6 years of age. She has been flaking & pulling feathers out. My question is can you recommend anything for my cockatiel? It is cold & I don't want to spray her with chemicals or with water with the cold temps. Just wondering if you have any ideas.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Many birds are molting during the fall and winter months of the year. Often when the heat is turned on in our homes, it can cause a prolonged molt as well as some dry itchy skin on many birds as the heat dries the air out. Since cockatiels tend to have a lot of feather dust anyway, winter can seem to add even more dust from them as their feathers can become dryer and in turn seem increase the amount of feather dust.

Dry itchy skin is caused more often in the winter months due to inside heat drying the air out. This can in turn sometimes cause birds to over-preen the feathers or even pull some out as they try and relieve the itchiness. If you have ever had a bad case of dry itchy skin in the winter I'm sure you can relate to the uncomfortable feeling.

Adding a cool mist humidifier to your bird's room, or even a small tabletop water fountain can help in adding much needed moisture back into your bird's environment. Even in the winter months you can lightly spray your bird with warm water in a fine spray mister. Just be sure to spray your bird early in the day so there is plenty of time for all the feathers to dry out before bedtime. Make sure your bird is not in any drafts and you may want to only lightly spray your bird if your household inside temperature is below 70 degrees. Even an occasional light misting will help with adding some moisture back to the feathers.

If you would like to add something extra to your bird's diet during this time, you might want to try Missing Link as we find it to be a very good product for birds who are molting, under stress, or have other health issues.

A little extra moisture in your bird's environment can go a long way to help with dry itchy skin and feathers, and the often seen over-preening of feathers in the winter season.