Budgies have been one of the three most commonly kept pet birds for over a decade now. Not only do they already have a huge number of people who keep a pet budgie in their home but they are also seeing solid growth in their popularity too!
Although budgies are usually very easy to care for, we have noticed people reaching out and asking about why their pet budgie is losing its tail feathers recently.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over the most common reasons that your pet budgie may be losing its tail feathers as well as some of the other common questions that we see people asking.
Although it can be easy to help your pet budgie recover if it is losing its tail feathers, some of the causes of tail feather loss in birds can be serious.
]If you are in any doubt, you should book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess your budgie via your cameras smartphone and offer you their professional advice.
How Do I Know If A Budgie Is Losing Its Tail Feathers?
Although it may sound obvious as in the later stages of tail feather loss, you can glance at a bird and realize that there is a problem.
That said though, In the earlier days it can be difficult to work out that there is a problem with the bird and it may only be missing a small number of its tail feathers.
If you are unsure if your budgie is losing its tail feathers or not, then the best way to check is to carefully look over the budgies entire body including their wings and feet.
As budgies preen themselves quite frequently, you may find that there are some small feathers on the ground near where they spend most of their time.
If you cannot see any feathers on the floor and your budgie seems to be scratching itself a lot more than normal, then this could also be an indication that it is starting to lose its feathers.
Is It Normal For A Budgie To Lose Its Tail Feathers?
Although it is not overly common, budgies will lose the odd feather from time to time. If your budgie has only lost one or two feathers and there are no other signs of stress or illness, then this is probably nothing to worry about.
However, if your budgie is losing a large number of feathers or seems to be in any discomfort, then it is important to take them to see a professional as soon as possible.
Why Is My Budgie Losing Its Tail Feathers?
There are many reasons that budgies lose their tail feathers but some are more common than others. In this section, we will go over some of the most common reasons that budgies lose their tail feathers.
Please keep in mind that some budgies that are losing their tail feathers can actually be suffering from more than one of the causes covered below at the same time!
One of the most common reasons that budgies lose their tail feathers is due to them being roughly handled.
This does not mean that you are intentionally being cruel to your pet budgie as holding your budgie too tight or picking it up without your budgie being ready can cause this issue.
The main issue is usually the shock and stress or randomly being picked up without the budgie seeing your hand approaching. In some cases though, the friction and pressure of being held can also make this worse and cause a budgie to lose tail feathers.
Small Cage Stress!
Another common reason budgies lose their tail feathers is due to stress from being kept in a small cage.
Although budgies are not the largest of birds, they still need a good amount of space to move around and stay active. If they are constantly cooped up in a small cage with no room to fly, then this can lead to them becoming stressed which can cause budgies to start self-mutilating and pull out their own feathers.
Issues With A Vent Blockage!
In bad cases, a vent blockage can cause swelling that can result in the tail feathers of your budgie falling out but in most cases they will grow back in time.
The budgie’s vent is located at the back end of their body and is used for both excreting waste and for laying eggs (if female). If this area becomes blocked, it can cause your budgie a lot of discomfort and swelling making this condition obvious.
We have a dedicated article going over helping a budgie with a swollen vent though. If you do notice that your budgies vent is swollen then reading that article is highly recommended.
One of the most common times that budgies lose their tail feathers is when they are moulting.
Moulting is a process where birds replace their old feathers with new ones and it usually happens once or twice a year.
During this time, budgies will often lose a lot of feathers all over their body but they will usually regrow them back within a few weeks.
If your budgie is moulting and only losing a few feathers, then there is probably nothing to worry about.
Plucking By Cage Mates!
If you have more than one budgie living in the same cage then it is possible for the budgies to start plucking feathers from each other.
This usually happens when there is a lot of fighting and aggression going on between the budgies but it can also happen if one budgie is being bullied by the others.
If you think that your budgies might be plucking feathers from each other then it is important that you intervene to try and prevent this behavior. Some budgies will groom each other though rather than pull feathers when being mean so try and check what’s happening with your budgies prior to taking action.
Another possible reason budgies lose their tail feathers is due to a mite infection.
Mites are tiny parasites that can live on the skin of budgies and other birds. These mites can cause your budgie a lot of irritation leading to them scratching and pulling out their own feathers.
In bad cases, the irritation on your budgie’s skin can get so bad that the feathers may fall out anyway. This problem is rarely specific to the tail of your budgie so you will usually notice feather loss in other areas of your bird too.
Problems With Nutrition!
Another potential cause of budgies losing their tail feathers is due to a lack of nutrients in their diet.
Budgies need a well-rounded diet that contains all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy.
If your budgie isn’t getting enough of these nutrients, then it can start to affect the health of their feathers causing them to fall out while also sometimes preventing a budgie from being able to grow new feathers to replace them.
Budgie Feather Cysts!
A budgie feather cyst is a small, round, white growth that can develop on the shaft of a budgie’s feathers.
These cysts are not harmful to your budgie but they can sometimes cause the budgie to pull out their own feathers in an attempt to get rid of them with some feathers just falling out if the cyst is not dealt with.
This cysts can take hold anywhere on your budgie though and are rarley specific to the tail of your bird. Depending on the exact situation, the cyst may still be there around the area of the missing feather but sometimes they can pop and heal quickly.
Another reason budgies lose their tail feathers is due to parasites living on their body.
There are a few different types of parasites that can affect budgies but the most common are lice and mites (which have already been covered).
These parasites will usually cause your budgie a lot of irritation leading them to pull out their own feathers in an attempt to get rid of the parasites.
In some cases, the budgie may be so covered in parasites that they will start to lose feathers even if they are not scratching at themselves.
French moult is a condition that affects budgies (and other birds) where they start to lose their feathers but are unable to regrow them back.
This condition is most common in budgies that are young but it can also happen to a budgie that is under a lot of stress or that has been through a traumatic event such as being attacked by another budgie.
Beak And Feather Disease!
Beak and feather disease is a condition that budgies can get that causes them to lose their feathers. This is rarer than most of the other causes on our list and is not very common in the west so it is more likely that the problem is one of the issues covered above.
How Do I Treat A Budgie Losing Its Tail Feathers?
The treatment for budgies losing their tail feathers will depend on the exact cause of the problem.
If your budgie is plucking its own feathers or those of another budgie then you need to find out what is causing this behavior and try to stop it. This could be something as simple as boredom or stress so try and make some changes to your budgie’s environment.
If your budgie has a mite infection then you will need to take them to the vet for treatment. The vet will be able to prescribe medication that will kill the mites and relieve the irritation on your budgie’s skin.
If you think your budgie may be lacking nutrients in their diet then you should speak to an avian vet or avian specialist who will be able to advise you on what changes need to be made.
If your budgie has a feather cyst then you will need to take them to the vet for treatment. The vet will be able to remove the cyst and relieve the irritation on your budgie’s skin.
If your budgie has French moult then you will need to take them to the vet for treatment. The vet will be able to prescribe medication that will help your budgie regrow their feathers.
Beak and feather disease is a serious condition that budgies can get and it is important to seek veterinary advice if you think your budgie may have it. The vet will be able to prescribe medication that will help your budgie fight the disease and regrow their feathers.
Summary On Budgies Losing Tail Feathers!
Here is a quick summary of the more common causes of budgies losing tail feathers for you to keep an eye out for.
- Rought Handling!
- Small Cage Stress!
- Plucking By Cage Mates!
- Mite Infections!
- Problems With Nutrition!
- Budgie Feather Cysts!
- French Moult!
- Beak And Feather Disease
- Issues With A Vent Blockage!