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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yeah, birds can lose their tail feathers when they get stressed or scared. When I was little I had a parakeet I tried to grab by the tail ... I didn't pull or anything but all the tailfeathers just came off into my hand ... it's a defense mechanism ... like lizard's tails.
 

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elfomatic said:
Yeah, birds can lose their tail feathers when they get stressed or scared. When I was little I had a parakeet I tried to grab by the tail ....
I swear I didn't pull any of them out! If it was because of stress it could have been because we had just moved into the new house. He had started to chew on them right before they molted and then boom gone. I thought he was starting to become a feather plucker but haven't had any problems with that. I know sometimes that they can molt out naturally.
 

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Miss New Booty
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Yup, I know what you are talking about Dena! When Snowy was about 6 months, she apparently molted her tail and it took awhile for it to grow in. :) Also, Gizzy the tiel's tail did that, too, when he was younger. Our vet said that was totally normal as well.
 

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elfomatic said:
... it's a defense mechanism ... like lizard's tails.
Ummm, birds do NOT have breakaway tails. They do NOT lose their tails like lizards and it is NOT a defense mechanism for birds.

But just like Dena & Jackie said, they can molt all their tail feathers and be "tail-less" for awhile. That's completely normal and natural.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you ever owned a parakeet? I've seen it many times. Especially when careless children try to grab them by their tail ... pulling isn't required ... the parakeet gets scared and lets its tailfeathers go to escape.

I've called my vet in Columbia just to make sure what I'm saying isn't b.s. ... there are two avian certified vets in that clinic and they both tell me that they have seen the same thing.
 

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Well, I've called a few avian vets myself and they all say that the comparison to a lizard losing their tail and saying that it's a defense mechanism is incorrect.

Yes, they can lose all their tail feathers from a major trauma and if you note all I said was:
birds do NOT have breakaway tails. They do NOT lose their tails like lizards and it is NOT a defense mechanism for birds.
The comparison to a keet losing it's tail like a lizard is mis-information and your wording is misleading, IMO.
 

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Miss New Booty
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I agree with you, Jodi. I have 2 parakeets myself. While I have heard and read that they can lose some feathers of any kind when stressed or in a frightful situation, I have never heard either, that they can "release" their whole tail as a defense mechanism like a lizard. :shrug:
 

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I'm totally with Jodi on this one...

Birds (psittacines) do not shed or drop their tail feathers as a defense mechanism.

It's possible that through mistreatment or rough handling to "break" the tail feathers on a small bird (parakeet, cockatiel...) or for the bird to over-preen and pull them out... or for other birds they may be housed with to pluck them out. - but - they don't drop them out of fear or as a defense mechanism.

They do look funny without a tail (the long tail breeds). When I got my Cockatiel, Dweezil - he had no tail. He was housed with several other 'tiels that were picking on him mercilessly :( He was the smallest out of the bunch and I felt so horrible for him that I took him from the pet store. The owner of the store was at a loss - and practically gave him to me.

It took a LONG time for him to grow his tail back. I thought at times he'd always be a "tailess 'tiel". Today he has a gorgeous long 'tiel tail :D

Neither Dweezil or Dante (my macaw) has ever fully molted their tail off. When they are in molt I may find a tail feather or 2 - but they have never lost their tails.
 

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I've split this thread into two since it kind of went onto different tangents.
 
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