GuideDeal with white feather problems in the plumage
Target groupCrows
NOTE: In all my guides, I start from a situation where a rehabilitator takes his responsibility to take care of the animals in an ethically correct way. You should always try to minimize stress for the bird and since the birds, just like humans, are not the same, it can mean that you handle a problem in different ways by being creative! If I see different ways of doing the same thing, I try to write it down in my guides, but it is always up to the rehabilitator to take their own responsibility.
I do not have to write “I recommend putting the bird down” or “contact a veterinarian” or “according to law, you should …” because I start from the situation where you do the best for the bird and that you as a rehabilitator have learned to draw the line so that you do not end up in an unwanted or illegal situation. There may be an eternal battle between what you want and what is best for the bird.
There are also many factors where a similar situation can give different results. For example: access to a veterinarian, lack of time, lack of knowledge and previous experience can include cause large differences in the treatment and decision-making process and indirectly also the end result. Knowledge of basic things can make a huge difference in the stress level of the crow. For example. avoid anything that is black or checkered. They do not like it instinctively and it creates stress when they see that you are dealing with something that is black.
I put energy into my guides to make it easier for a rehabilitator to find information and to spread knowledge.
Do you see a way to improve my guides or do you see a mistake or do you want to add something, feel free to inform me!
If you are worried about doing something because it is new, ask other rehabilitators or a veterinarian for help.
The guides are continuously updated, so make sure to always download the latest version from

This guide describes what to do with birds that have problems with white feathers

A crow or crow with white, brittle or partially broken wing and tail feathers needs long-term expert care so that the damaged feathers can be replaced during the annual mowing / spring change. Affected birds should not be released until the full annual feather change is completed the following year. Otherwise, it is unlikely that these birds will survive their first winter. The bad plumage deteriorates rapidly. This usually means that these birds will eventually no longer be able to fly. They get easily soaked and therefore they can no longer keep warm. They are also prone to predation and will most likely not be able to cope.

Young crow with very bad feathers

The cause

The cause is usually a lack of proper nutrition. It’s the so-called “McDonald’s disease”.
It could also be genetic defects (very small chance that this is, but it is not impossible)


The only treatment is to wait up to a year, until the next moult is completed.
It would be painful for a crow to be alone, so make sure it has a “buddy”. If you do not have another bird in the rehabilitation, check with other rehabilitation facilities if there is anyone who has a crow that can be put together with yours. It is usually possible to put one species of crow with another species of crow. A big exception is the raven. It can not be put together with another species of crow because it would lead to injury / death in one of them.