|Home > Health and diseases > Plumage defects > Moult|
airborne creatures birds should to be able
to fly all the time. A perfect plumage is essential for this - it's the feathers that allow the birds to stay
up in the air. Therefore the plumage is one of the most important
characteristics of a bird. And since flying consumes a lot of energy,
birds should be as light as possible. Their light-built feathers are an
adaptation to this need. As a consequence,
the plumage perish by and by. Therefore birds undergo a natural change
of their plumage: the so-called moult or molt in the American spelling. Actually the moult is no disease,
but in some birds abnormal moulting may appear. That's why you can find
a chapter about the moult in this sub-category of Birds Online. It is
important that each bird owner knows how a regular moult should look
like. Only by knowing these details one can recognize problems that
might show up in certain circumstances.
In general, most birds change their plumage once or twice a year. But there are also species who run through a moult only once a year. For example ducks and geese moult in summer right after breeding. They lose so many feathers that they become flightless for a few weeks. Most songbirds also moult in summer, but they remain able to fly. Many pet birds such as budgies moult once or twice per year. They lose their large feathers (wings and tail) during a moult cycle and like songbirds they should be able to fly even though they're moulting. So a healthy budgie loses the large feathers one by one and not all of them at the same time. Right after the old feathers have gone, new feathers grow at their place. There is no special time budgies undergo their moult. It's an individual process that takes two weeks to two months in general. In case one of your birds loses its ability to fly during the moult or shows a moult that lasts longer than two months there might be something wrong.
But please keep this in mind: The smaller feathers which cover the rest of the body, e.g. feathers on the head, belly and back, and the warming down that are the bird's "underwear" can drop out over the whole year in small numbers. So you don't have to be afraid in case you find your bird loosing some small feathers from time to time.
If you observe any deviation from the above mentioned patterns, you should contact an avian vet. Because besides the natural renewing of the plumage abnormal moults happen that can have serious reasons. More information about different forms of moult can be gained in the respective topics you find in this sub-category of Birds Online.
All photos and the text on this page are protected by the copyright law. In case you'd like to use photos or texts for your own non-commercial purpose, please contact the author.