How Winter Places Stress On Captive Birds

Cockatiel perched on fence in front of hand drawn house indicating winter
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A couple who are a pair of our best customers came in yesterday to fill up a shopping cart full of toys for their lucky bird.


In spite of their efforts to supply their Moluccan Cockatoo with the most and best money can offer, he had begun plucking. The bird had been to the vet whose diagnosis for the 3-1/2 year old was “hormonal.”


If I hadn’t made it clear before – I am no bird expert. I know what I have learned from helping thousands of customers over the years. But the “hormonal” thing bothered me. I asked myself why don’t all or even half of all Moluccan start plucking when they turn 3?


So I asked these folks some questions:

  1. Were any fans or blowers blowing on the bird? – Ceiling and floor fans as well as force air registers that blow air near a bird will ruffle feathers which can cause a bird to over preen. “No – no drafts in the room.”
  2. Lighting – since daylight savings time was he getting enough light? Birds can get depressed like humans. “Could be a problem”
  3. When did they turn on the furnace for the first time this year? “Two weeks ago” How long has he been plucking? “Two weeks.”


We stopped right there. A Cockatoo’s skin is dry in the best of conditions. The dry warm air may have been the trigger – The timing is too close not to look at this as a real factor. Birds, just like us humans will experience dry skin in the winter.


Thanx for listening

Catherine Tobsing & Mitch Rezman

Also published on Medium.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.