Is There Feather Loss in Your Bird?

Parrot feather plucking

If you have a baby bird in the house, they are most likely molting and losing feathers as part of the regular molting process. Birds shed their feathers as part of their natural cycle. Humans shed hair that may be damaged and has to be replaced with new strands in a similar way. Because bird feathers are formed of keratin, they may also be damaged and cannot be healed. Seasonal variations, as well as the hormones they release, cause molting in birds.

The Molting Process

Your home's floor and the enclosure you keep your bird in may get strewn with keratin as their feathers grow. This is the feather sheath that the growing feather has ripped open. It appears to be a lot of keratin, but it's quite typical given that your newborn bird is creating a completely new set of feathers. As a result, you may find yourself sweeping and cleaning more frequently.

Because it takes a lot of energy to make and replace these feathers, molting happens when their systems are less stressed and rigorous, making it simpler for them to replace the feathers. This usually happens in the wild shortly after nesting season or just before migration. A bird's life will be jeopardized if it is unable to fly. Avoiding predators necessitates the use of flight, which is likely their strongest protective strategy.

What to Expect When Parrots Molt

Parrots typically replace a few feathers at a time when needed. This is to ensure that the parrot can still fly.

During a molt, your parrot may preen a little more. If you have two linked birds, they may decide to aid each other by removing the tenacious keratin sheaths that cover the feather. They'll pluck at the sheath in order to free the feather from its protective sheath.

Itchiness During Molting

Itching is a common side effect of molting. You could notice your bird plucking at his feathers or scratching at those hard-to-reach regions like his head or neck when those sheaths come in full of feathers. This movement frees up those feathers, allowing them to grow more easily. It also relieves the bird's itching. Showers are also effective at reducing itching. It also softens the keratin, making it simpler for the feathers to pierce the sheath.

Many birds don’t mind a little bit of head scratching to help release those feathers form their keratin sheaths. But some birds may find it painful or uncomfortable. 

What to Feed During Molting

Because a bird's feathers and sheaths are formed of protein, you may wish to supplement your companion pet's food with more high-quality proteins during a molt. Introducing a scrambled egg to your pet bird. To make the procedure a bit easier on the system, add a few cooked beans to a or Grain Bake. You should consult your avian veterinarian about the bird's diet to see what they recommend to aid in the molting process. Any food adjustments should also be discussed with your avian veterinarian.

Please visit an avian veterinarian if you notice an unusually large number of missing feathers. Your veterinarian will need to determine if your bird has a health concern that is causing the rapid loss of feathers.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.