Do Cockatiels Have Dust? (Explained!)

Do you have a cockatiel and notice an abundance of visible dust in its cage? Does your cockatiel sneeze frequently and leave white powder everywhere? Do cockatiels really have dust?

However, cockatiels are not the only pets that produce an excess of visible dust. Macaws, cockatoos, and many other parrots give off a similar amount of dry powder. If your cockatiel is healthy and its feather doesn’t look ragged or itchy, then there’s nothing to worry about.

However, if you think that something is wrong with your bird or its environment, then it’s best to find out sooner than later. This article will explain everything you need to know about the presence of dust in your cockatiel’s life.

Do Cockatiels Have Dust? Yes, cockatiels have dust. The dust will come down when the cockatiel is preening, grooming, and flapping wings. The keratin covering that surrounds each individual feather serves as the source of feather dust. As the feather develops, it removes this layer of defense, allowing the keratin to become dust and fall away. However, the good news is that you can always reduce the cockatiel’s dust.

Compared to other parrots like macaws and African greys, cockatiels may produce less dust, but it is never zero. Therefore, you must limit the amount of dust that enters the atmosphere.

The dust may still harm people with asthma or other respiratory disorders.

Are Cockatiels Dusty Birds?

Yes, cockatiels are one of the dustiest small birds. But if the owner controls it well, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The feathers develop a refined, scaly powder that spreads over the plumage. In addition, cockatiels have powder-down feathers that insulate them from heat loss and protect against water damage.

Unlike some types of parrots, cockatiels don’t produce feather dust due to their small size. As a result, the amount of dust their feathers can produce is limited.

Additionally, since cockatiels enjoy playing and bathing in water, it is simple to remove any extra dust. So even if you don’t provide a bathing bowl, spraying the cockatiel with water will be beneficial.

Of course, that doesn’t mean cockatiels are dust-free. Like all birds, they produce a layer of keratin around any new feathers as they age, protecting the growing feathers from damage. At that point, the keratin then flakes off since it is no longer required.

However, this is a natural and healthy way for cockatiels to produce dust. You will notice that the cockatiel creates more dust when it molts, but it only happens 1-3 times a year.

Why Is My Cockatiel So Dusty?

Usually, excessive feather dust signals that a cockatiel is moltingOpens in a new tab..

It will be shedding many of its older feathers at this time and growing new ones in its place. This creates more dust than average. However, molting only happens one to three times a year on average.

If molting doesn’t explain this sudden dust production, it could be due to the following reason:

1. Improper care

You need to give your cockatiel regular bathsOpens in a new tab. and access to water. This is essential for their demands in terms of enrichment and wellness. Additionally, it’s critical to limit their dust output.

If you don’t provide your cockatiel with a water dish or mist it regularly, it will struggle to preen away its extra dust. This causes it to accumulate in the feathers.

On the other hand, wild cockatiels are never far from water, even in desert climates. So if you want the cockatiel to stay hypoallergenic, cater to that basic need for bathing.

2. Untidy cage

When their cages are left dirty, the majority of cockatiels become dustier. So even if you regularly clean the cage, a buildup of dust is still possible.

The cockatiel will then be forced to:

  • Play on dusty surfaces
  • Stir up old dust whenever it flies or flaps its wings
  • Walk in the dust on the bottom of the cage
  • Get dust on it when it bathes in an unclean water dish
  • Spacing issues

3. Problems with space

The dust will build up more quickly if you have several cockatiels in one cage.

However, you will have more feather dust for the following reasons:

  • More cockatiels will naturally create more dust
  • By sharing a cage, the cockatiels will be shedding dust onto each other.
  • When very overcrowded, the excess body heat can lead to them shedding dust more often.

Give the cockatiels more space and clean their living area more frequently.

4. Hot weather

Hot weatherOpens in a new tab. can cause your cockatiel to produce more dust than usual. To improve flock efficiency and prevent heat loss, your cockatiel will release more powder down.

Naturally, this will increase the amount of dust that can get into your house. Therefore, keeping your cockatiel cool and giving it access to water should be beneficial.

Is Cockatiel Dust Harmful?

Cockatiel dust can be harmful, but it doesn’t contain any toxins or poisons. However, it is some kind of dander. It consists of several tiny particles that can be breathed and may start to build up over time.

If you have any respiratory issues, this could make things worst. Here is why cockatiel dust can be harmful:

1. Affect your breathing

Cockatiels can still affect your breathing, especially if you have a severe or sensitive condition. This usually happens when:

  • Dust is allowed to build up
  • Living in overcrowded conditions
  • Not regularly bathed

In severe cases, being in the same room as a dusty cockatiel can aggravate a medical condition, leading to wheezing and persistent coughing.

According to Chest, exposure to cockatiels can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitisOpens in a new tab., which is a disease that can lead to irreversible lung damage.

1. Dust allergy

Many bird lovers classify cockatiels as hypoallergenic pets since they produce very little dust.

The degree of an allergy, however, varies from person to person. Some people are more sensitive and may experience allergic reactions when exposed to cockatiel dust, no matter how small the amount is.

2. Triggering Asthma

People with asthma can be affected by cockatiels. Even a limited amount of feather dust can irritate and trigger an adverse reaction.

You should refrain from keeping birds as pets if you have asthma. But, if you must keep a cockatiel in your home, consider installing an air purifier to reduce the chances of triggering an asthmatic attack.

4. Reducing cockatiel’s lifespan

Aside from impacting your health, the dust can harm the cockatiel itself. If its cage isn’t properly cleaned and the dust isn’t removed, it’s not uncommon for cockatiels to fall ill.

After all, cockatiels usually live in wide-open spaces. Therefore, placing them in a small, confident area can expose them to more cockatiel dust than usual.

Excessive quantities of cockatiel dust can build up in a cockatiel’s airways, leading to breathing issues and the onset of certain diseases.

How Do I Get Rid Of Cockatiel Dust?

Here are a few steps on how you can reduce cockatiel dust:

1. Regular dust baths

Giving your cockatiel regular baths is a recommended way of reducing cockatiel dust.

A bath will rinse the remaining tiny amount before it infiltrates the air. Additionally, misting with a water bottle works well. By spraying your cockatiel’s feathers with a little bit of warm water, you may be able to accomplish this.

2. Daily cleaning

It’s vital to clean your cockatiel’s cage at least once per week.

Ideally, you should do this every other day or even more frequently if you have multiple cockatiels. That will remove the small amount of dust present and help your cockatiel avoid getting dirty with old dust.

Use a moist towel to clean the cage’s exterior. You should also replace the tray lining daily to eliminate dust and droppings.

3. Air purifier

An air purifier will improve your air quality by sucking out dangerous molecules from the air. This can be paired with a vacuum cleaner with a continuous HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

if you are considering getting an air purifier for your cockatiel check out this Germ Guardian Air Purifier with HEPA 13 FilterOpens in a new tab..

4. Change areas

Dust, dander, and other particles are retained in carpets, draperies, and fabrics.

Instead of carpet, think about placing your cockatiel in a room with tile or hardwood floors. Blinds made of wood or plastic can also be used in place of curtains.


Yes, having a cockatiel is lovely, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to tolerate bird dust everywhere!

Therefore you need to follow the steps that we listed here. I hope that with this article we help you with everything you need to know about cockatiel dust and how to get rid of it properly.

Cockatiel dust is a legitimate concern, and it can take a roll on bird owners after a while. However, if you use a good air purifier (recommended above), you can improve your living conditions.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

Recent Posts