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  Young female budgie during first moultJust like the Regular moult the juvenile moult is a natural procedure in a budgie's life. It actually is the first moult a young budgie experiences. And it is related to a distinctive change in the bird's outer appearance: Young birds have a special plumage that makes them recognizable as members of their species who are not yet sexually mature. A budgie's first plumage shows some details that allow other budgies to recognize the youngsters. The black drawings cover all their head including the forehead. After the juvenile moult the forehead is coloured white or yellow depending on the bird's colour; there are no black drawings then. Another detail that changes during the juvenile moult of a budgie is that the throat spots become larger and more round. In young budgies, they are more U-shaped than dots as you can see below. The photos show a young male budgie before, during and after his juvenile moult.

Typical progression of the juvenile moult of a male young budgie
Typical progression of the juvenile moult of a male young budgie

Usually the juvenile moult takes place between the third and seventh month of life, but every bird moults individually so the start of the first moult can not be predicted precisely. Once it started, this first mould cycle takes place for about two to three months. During this period, a young bird changes the whole plumage. Since most parts of the plumage look the same before and after the juvenile moult, this complete change isn't visible in each case. But in some budgies it is:

Sirius as an adult bird Sirius as a chickDepending on the colour variety the bird's appearance can change dramatically. So-called European Yellowfaces mutation II show an amazing change: After the juvenile moult, all feathers grow again with a strong shade of yellow. This means that a bird who used to be bluish when he or she was a chick becomes green during the juvenile moult. My female budgie Sirius showed this colour variety and the described changes in colour as you can see in the photos in this paragraph. The left photo was taken when she was a chick and the right one when she was mature (adult).

To make sure that your young budgies will face no health problems during their (juvenile) moult you should serve nutrient-rich food. Birds need vitamins and minerals, therefore fresh vegetables are a perfect food for moulting birds. Beside other nutrients, birds need silica during their moult. A tasty and healthy source of this nutrient is cucumber. And also Common chickweed which can be found in many parts of Central Europe as a wild herb makes a very healthy food for moulting birds.

German version of this text: Gaby Schulemann-Maier,
translation of this chapter: Isolde Aufschläger external link, revision by Gaby Schulemann-Maier

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