Birds Online
  Home > Health and diseases > Plumage defects > Regular moult
  Molting budgie with pin feathersThe regular moult is characterised by the loss of large and small feathers (wing, tail, body) which happens naturally and causes no pain. In general, moulting birds should permanently remain able to fly during the whole natural process of their plumage change. During a regular moult no patches naked skin should be visible, the bird's body should always be covered by a few feathers. In place of the old and worn feathers new ones will appear soon after the old ones have been shed. While they are developing, these new feathers look like tiny sticks with a thin, translucently to white coloured covering. One call this a pin feather. Within a few days this covering opens and the new feather unfolds. The photo in the paragraph shows some of these coverings in the range of the bird's head and you can easily see why these structures are called pin feathers.

Molting budgie with pin feathersDuring the moult, budgies and other birds are substantially less active than they use to be in general. In particular, older birds tend to sleep more and occasionally they are even extremely excitable and sensitive to disturbances, which are acknowledged with loud grumbling and furious bites. If you support your bird during the moult with food supplements and vitamins and let him take his time he will most probably soon recover and feel better again.

While they are moulting, budgies and other pet birds should always remain able to fly. In case they lose too many feathers at once, they might suffer from difficulties while they try to fly. Most older birds who are experienced in flying can adjust skilfully. Young birds who undergo their first moult (juvenile moult) are usually less trained than their older fellows. Therefore there is an increased danger of accidents and you as their owner have to take care of them while they fly around your room.

Please note:
If a budgie of any age loses too many primary feathers (wing feathers) at the same time and has difficulties to fly, you should better not risk any accident and leave the bird in its cage or aviary for the next few days. Only when the new feathers are large enough to provide save flight and navigation, the bird should be let out of the cage again. In general it doesn't take longer than one or two weeks until the feathers grow back the bird will regain the full ability to fly.

Linneolated parakeet eating some salad cucumberIn order to help a bird while it is undergoing the natural moult, you should let it sleep as much as the animal wants. The older the bird is, the moodier and more unbalanced your feathered friend may become during the moult. A bird's organism needs much energy in order to build up the new feathers. Therefore it is important to provide healthy fresh food like fruits or vegetable. Salad cucumber for example contains a lot of minerals the birds need during the moult, also sprouted wheat is a recommended food. The photo on the right shows a linneolated parakeet eating some salad cucumber.

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.