Male Zebra Finch Is Picking Feathers Out Of Other Male


5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
I have two male zebra finches that I purchased around a month ago. I've had one of them for two months- Aaron- and the other for only four weeks- Ryan- but since introducing the youngest one to the oldest, I've noticed Aaron has lost lots of feathers and his tail is completely gone.

I've been observing their behaviour and the younger one has been very aggressive, pulling feathers and chasing him around the cage. I haven't noticed up until this point and Aaron has barely any feathers on his back and his front, especially around, and under, his tail.

They have numerous toys around their cage but only one food and drink station. I'm considering the possibility that this is more of a dominance display than anything else. I've also provided cuttlebone since day one so I doubt a lack of protein is the problem though Ryan does tend to try and eat the feathers.

Is it best to separate them at the point until Aaron recovers? What might possibly cause this sudden behaviour?

Any help you can offer would be much appreciated. I'm very new to bird keeping, though I've owned chickens for just over a year, and an amateur at this so I'm still trying to learn as much as possible,


Oct 24, 2009
HI. I have had the same problem with some of my birds... some of them are just bullies!

You are best to separate them until the other birds feather are re grown... they re grow really fast.

If you keep them together the other one will see the feathers starting to grow and they are too tempting to pull out... they are full of protein and blood at that stage so must be tasty!

While they are separated put the cages next to each other so they can bond with each other and settle down.

When you eventually put them back together.. put the feather eating one in the others cage.. so the victim will be more dominant on his territory.

Make sure you provide a food with protein in it.. they really like commercial moistened egg food.. or you can just give them some mashed up hard boiled egg (even with the shell). I used to boil and egg. smash it up and mix in some cut up vegetables.. then keep it in the fridge and just give them a small amount each morning.

Try hanging some feathers up in the cage.. part of an old feather duster or some downy feathers. Also some dry grasses and moss... the birds will love to pick at them and carry them about trying to make nests.. so they will be distracted from feather picking.

Let them bath in a shallow dish each day too.. so their feather stay healthy and smooth. They are sometimes temped to pluck a scruffy bird because its feather a sticking out all over the place.

Finally make sure they have a variety of perches.. natural branches and twigs are good.. and they like pecking at them. You can change them when they dry out. Also your idea about putting in 2 feeders and water pots is good.. so they won't fight over them.

Good luck.
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