How to improve your parrot's feather quality

7 Natural Ways To Improve Your Parrot’s Feather Quality

Once a feather has grown out of the follicle, it is essentially a dead structure with no blood supply.

This means the efforts you make to improve your parrot’s feather health will only be visible after the next molting cycle is completed.

Luckily, most parrots molt 1-2 times a year, so you have enough time to focus on your bird’s health and promote the regrowth of vibrant-looking feathers.  

There are several factors that influence the quality of feathers including diet, stress levels, hygiene, sleep, and overall care. By taking care of these key areas, you can ensure your parrot’s feather health is at its best.

What Do Healthy Parrot Feathers Look Like?

Your parrot’s feathers should always appear vibrant and luscious. When you touch them, they should feel soft and smooth, without any roughness or brittleness. Healthy parrot feathers should not feel greasy to the touch. Instead, they should have a silky texture.

what healthy parrot feathers look like

Tips To Promote Feather Growth In Parrots

Improving your parrot’s feather quality isn’t about lotions and vitamin supplements. There are a myriad of factors that need to be considered and also understand that it takes time for the parrot to grow healthy and strong feathers. Follow these 7 tips to improve your parrot’s feathers quality and make them look lustrous and healthy:

Nutritious Diet 

The condition of a parrot’s feathers can be a good indicator of its overall health and also reveal the shortcomings in its diet. 

When a feather is in its growing state, it is supplied with nutrients and pigments via blood to form in the right shape and order. 

A complete and balanced diet ensures that the parrot receives these nutrients for the development stage of feathers. 

Ideally, a parrot’s diet should include a mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that comes from natural sources. 

The majority of a parrot’s nutrition, about 80%, should come from high-quality commercial pellets, says Dr. Simon Starkey, DVM, DABVP

The good thing about pellets is that all the ingredients are blended together, so birds can’t just pick out their favorite bits and end up with an unbalanced diet. 

The remaining 20% of the parrot’s nutrition can be provided through fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy foods. 


Feathers are primarily made up of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up our hair and nails. In fact, bird feathers contain 85% – 90% keratin. So when a parrot is growing feathers, the demand for protein by the body goes up. 

Protein is essentially the pillar that gives strength to the feather shafts. If a bird does get enough protein in its diet, the feathers can become weak and brittle. 

A diet rich in high-quality proteins provides the necessary amino acids required for the synthesis of keratin involved in feather growth. These amino acids are building blocks for proteins which in turn make up the feathers.

These are some of the protein-rich foods you can give your parrots:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Quinoa 
  • Oats
  • Nuts

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient in a bird’s diet that has multiple health benefits. It also plays a role in the development of strong and healthy feathers. Unfortunately, vitamin A deficiency is quite common in parrots, particularly those that are seed eaters. So you need to make sure your parrot gets enough of this nutrient in its meals.   

These are some of the foods high in vitamin A that you can include in your parrot’s diet:

  • Eggs
  • Sweet potato
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Carrots 
  • Spinach

Vitamin B Complex

The regrowth of new feathers is directly related to the bird’s health. If your parrot is not getting enough of the B vitamins, the feathers may start to look scruffy and worn down.

Biotin which is a water-soluble vitamin forms a part of the B complex vitamin group. If a parrot is deficient in this vitamin, it may experience patchy feather loss and overall poor-quality for feathers.

Foods rich in B Vitamins to include in your parrot’s diet:

  • Almonds 
  • Banana 
  • Broccoli  

Vitamin D

Adequate exposure to sunlight helps parrots in obtaining Vitamin D. Parrots deficient in Vitamin D often have dull and lackluster feathers so you need to make sure that they get sufficient exposure. You should let your parrot get enough sunlight whether it is by taking them outside or keeping them near a window. 

Other Nutrients

There are various other nutrients that may not play a significant role in improving feather quality but still make up an important part of a parrot’s diet.

Your parrot’s diet should also focus on food that has Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, and vitamins C, E, and K. You should always offer a variety of foods to your parrot to make sure it is not missing out on any nutrient in its diet. 

Image by Shiv’s fotografia, Wikimedia Commons


Sunlight aids in absorbing vitamin D that is produced locally in the parrot’s preening gland. Birds use the oils produced by the uropygial gland to groom their feathers. The secretions from the uropygial gland contain a substance that acts as a precursor to vitamin D.

When the bird spreads these oils over its feathers and skin, sunlight helps convert this precursor into active vitamin D. So, when birds preen themselves, they also ingest some preformed vitamin D, which is beneficial for their overall health.

Avoid Vitamin Supplements 

Unless prescribed by your avian vet, do not give your parrot any commercially available vitamin or mineral supplements. 

Your parrot will be able to get its daily intake of all the necessary vitamins from its diet and adding extra supplements might not do any good. 

According to the Avian Medicine supplementation of the vitamins is unnecessary if the parrot is fed a balanced and healthy diet. It must also be noted that overfortification of Vitamin A and D in particular can cause various health problems including calcification of vital organs.

Aloe Bath 

It is often recommended that you give your parrot a bath at least once a week, but ideally, it should be more like 3-4 times a week(even in the winter). 

You want to keep your parrot’s feathers clean and avoid the build-up of dander and oils that may lead to dry skin and itching, especially if you live in a region where humidity is low. 

Parrots are accustomed to living in humid environments. It allows their feathers to be moist and helps in grooming behaviors. So it is important that you keep the humidity levels in the ideal range. 

The ideal humidity range parrots feel comfortable at is around 40-60%. This level of humidity provides the right amount of moisture without promoting the growth of mold in the house.

But in addition to regulating the humidity inside the house, you can also provide them with regular baths to moisturize the feathers.

Aloe vera can be a great organic moisturizer for your parrot’s skin and feathers. All it takes is mixing aloe vera with some till it becomes a sprayable mist and letting your parrot shower in it.

Not only will it be soothing for your parrot’s skin, but you also won’t need to worry about them preening after a bath since aloe vera is all-natural and edible.

A Hygienic Environment

Lice, fleas, and mites can irritate your parrot’s skin, triggering itching and scratching. They can also be responsible for the deteriorating quality of feathers so you want to make sure they’re as far away from your home as possible. 

External parasites thrive in unclean households. To make sure your parrot does get infected by these feather-eating organisms, you should make their surroundings pest-proof. Regularly sanitize your parrot’s cage and do not leave perishable food in their cage for too long.

Reduce Stress

Managing stress is essential for promoting healthy feather growth and maintaining vibrant colors in a parrot’s plumage. Stress can prevent the normal growth of feathers and may also impact their coloration.

If a parrot is stressed, it can start to develop stress bars on its feathers. These are dark horizontal lines on the feathers that can be caused by emotional distress or underlying health conditions. 

On the other hand, when a parrot feels content and secure in its environment, it reflects in its feathers. A happy and relaxed parrot will have bright and beautiful plumage.

To ensure your parrot is stress-free, offer it mental and physical stimulation through regular interaction, out-of-cage time, a balanced diet, and lots of toys. 

Undisturbed Sleep

When a parrot is going through a molt or regrowing lost feathers, it can be quite physically demanding as the body utilizes more resources to support feather growth. During this time, adequate and quality sleep is crucial for its health. So make sure your parrot gets at least 10-12 hours of sleep consistently.  

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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