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IS this normal or is my cockatiel sick?
Hello,

I have not had my cockatiel long, he was given to me by a friend.  I am noticing little white spikey feathers on his head only and am concerned if this is normal or not.  I wondered if it could be new feathers growing in maybe, but I am worried.  Otherwise, he is acting completely normally and all his other feathers look fine.  I attached a picture below.  I would really appreciate the help.  I just don't want to go to a vet and have him charge me for saying the bird is fine, but I will if I have to.
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187666 tn?1331176945
It's kind of cool looking. It's hard to see the feathers on the head clearly but those on the cheek patch look like new feathers still in the feather sheath. The new feather grows out like a spike but it's more like a rolled up feather in a straw. As the "straw" - feather sheath - flakes away or is preened, the new feather unfurls.

I don't see any signs of a chewed feather shaft as you would see with feather lice or mites. These in the picture look normal.  Give it a couple more weeks and you should see nice flat feathers there. Watch a couple closely and you'll see the feather start to appear at the end of each spike. Almost looks like a tiny feather duster for awhile.
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187666 tn?1331176945
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I never got a chance to respond, then forgot to later.  I appreciate the advice.  He seems to be fine and yes some of the spikes have become feathers.  It just looked creepy for a bit there!
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187666 tn?1331176945
Thanks for letting me know. I'm so glad he's doing just fine. I deal with a lot of baby birds during the summer and am quite familiar with new feather growth. For awhile they look like tiny porcupines with wings.  :-)
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