As you are cleaning up your bird cage, you may notice that some of the fallen feathers have lines that run crosswise through a feather shaft. These lines are areas of poor develpment or weakened segments of a feather which are susceptible to breakage. These are called Stress Bars.
Stress bars in parrot feathers develop during feather formation and are an indication that your parrot went through a stressful situation that affected feather growth. Most often, the stressful encounter is nutrition related, but it could be extreme temperature changes, illness or another stressful situation that "assaulted" your parrots biology.
Periods of feather regrowth are called molting. This event, which usually happens once or twice a year is a stressful time for parrots, regardless, in which they need superior nutrition to maintain their body in status quo AND regrow fresh, new feathers for a season. While proper nutrition is important year round, it is especially important during molt and feather regrowth periods. Stress bars are an indication that something in your parrots life is stressing, whether it is poor nutrition or environmental. Stress bars may be dark or light in coloration or depigmented and clear, but are always an indication that something has been, and perhaps still is, wrong in the bird’s environment.
While it is common to see stress bars in chicks or baby birds, stress bars in adult parrots should be taken seriously. If you notice stress bars on feathers, carefully think back about what stressful event may have occured. If you are unable to remember a stressful event, the culprit may be an inadequate diet. More often than not, inadequate diet is responsible.
Numerous stress bars and general poor feather condition may warrant a trip to the avian vet. Avian vets are specialist in bird care and they can properly advise you on bird nutrition and creating the optimum environment to help your parrot thrive. Our long term experience with parrots has led us to stock highly recommended parrot bird foods such as Harrison's Bird Food, Organic Sprouts Bird Food and Goldenfeast Bird Food. Check out Featheriffic Parrot Bird Feather Supplement, too.