From your description and no actual bald spots/bare skin - I believe you're seeing a very normal, major molt - pretty much all birds are doing this right now.
Birds going through a molting season may look ragged and have what appear to be bald spots, but if you see little pin feathers coming in and not being plucked out, chances are you’re not dealing with a self-mutilation behavior, which is really, really good!
--- If you suspect a delayed molt – you need to have your companion checked for hypothyroidism, one very common cause behind this.
Other symptoms you might notice is overall ragged looking feathers or ‘bald spots’ of feather loss. You might also see lumps and bumps (which would be fatty deposits) on the legs (what would be the upper thigh area) and lower part of the chest, near the vent area and sometimes under the wings.
Your vet will find some anemia upon blood chem., hypoalbuminemia, hypercholesterolemia, mild leukocytosis, etc.. This can be treated, so don’t worry, but yes, do get to that vet before it gets too serious.
The typical Rx is L-thyroxine (.2 mcg/kg 1 q 12 hrs). Results are usually seen within a few days.
Further causes of delayed molt would be nesting.
A “French Moult” is often seen in smaller birds like parakeets/budgies, though it can occur in other species. As fledglings, plumage doesn’t come in and stay in, but seems to continuously moult. Sometimes this can be associated with too many clutches in too short of a time span. Adding some molasses to a small piece of bread is one way to boost vitamins, or offering fresh, dark greens.
--- A “Soft Moult” is a continuous moulting of some feathers. The feathers often look a bit off, or even greasy, unkempt. Adjusting UVA/UVB light input is often helpful, ideally in the form of natural sunlight for an hour or more a day; however, a full spectrum artificial light specifically for birds may help.
--- Aggression at this time of season is not untypical, mostly because it can be very uncomfortable for them to be touched as these pinfeathers emerge. Like a child who is teething, until that tooth is broken all the way through, it can be miserable for them. So until these pin feathers are broken out of their sheaths, your companion may be cranky.
--- Sometimes a molt will put them off their food for a while and slight weight loss might be noted. I get weights on all of the rescues and in-house residents once a week. Same time, same day. You’ll need a gram scale to weigh a bird. Though they might register in ounces, by the time you see an ounce lost – it’s more than 28 grams! --- A weight loss of 5% warrants a vet visit within a day or two. Weight loss of 10% is an emergency vet visit as supportive care may be necessary.
Increase showers, mistings or baths, whichever your bird prefers during a molt. Also, just taking your companion into the shower with you to share in the warm, moist air is helpful. To that end you might want to set up a vaporizer in the bird’s room. No meds or other additives in it though. Be sure to clean it out daily so there’s no mold or bacteria build up. ***********************************
So much information is flooding the net these days about what to feed a companion bird, whether a budgie/parakeet, cockatiel or marvelous macaw, it’s sometimes difficult to wade through the junk science, old wives tales, well meaning owner advice or just plain dangerous suggestions.
--- It’s generally recommended that most of today’s companion birds have a predominantly pelleted diet. Pellets have been continually updated since being introduced to the market years ago and today’s formulas are better than ever.
--- Supplementing this diet with fresh foods every day is ideal and many owners find they can re-introduce seeds - in limited amounts (perhaps once or twice a week) without the bird refusing the pellets overall.
--- Here is more on ideal nutritional needs: ---
www.BrokenBirds.org (under: Is your bird a seed junkie?)
--- Once a full blood panel, crop and vent swab/cultures are done on top of a good physical exam and illness or injury is ruled out, approaching it as a behavior issue is your next move.
-- I'm here to support you all the way. You got this though - right?