Grooming your parrot a few feathers at a time


Grooming or preening is a daily part of a parrot’s life. Feathers are lost and new ones grown in their place. Pin feathers are blood feathers that replace lost feathers from regular molting. As the feathers grow they form a white waxy coating that can be pointy and hard that needs to be carefully removed to release the feather.

Most of the time the bird does it themselves or has another bird or mate do it in the hard to reach places, like the back of the head. In situations where there is no mate the human friend can help release the feathers.

What I do is while gently petting Goldie’s neck I check to see if she has any of those pointy shafts. If I feel one I gently squeeze it between my fingers. Never pull it. If Goldie seems at all irritated or if it is sensitive I leave it alone. That may mean it is not fully formed yet. Or sometimes Goldie just being Goldie gets mad because she thinks she can do it herself.

When you squeeze the shaft covering the growing feather, you will notice some white flakes coming loose. This is normal. That means that you have for the most part released the feather from the shaft or at least helped it along. These growing feathers with the pointy shaft can be itchy and sensitive, so helping your bird out can be a bonding experience.

Don’t try to do them all at once. When you pet your bird, do one or two feathers. Then do some more the next time. Sometimes Goldie gets mad and says heh, don’t touch. Then I give her a little head rub and leave the feathers alone for another time. Each bird can be a bit different on how they respond to you grooming them.

All and all Goldie the sun conure has beautiful feathers and keeping them vibrant and groomed is an ongoing job for the bird and its helper. Regular baths, a good diet, and sometimes a little help from a bird’s human friend is all it takes.

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