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Why Does My Bird Lose Feathers?

Parrot feathersDid you know that parrots can have over three thousand feathers? Over time they wear out and need to be replaced. Molting is the biological process of slowly shedding old feathers so new ones can grow in.  Most parrots molt at least once but sometimes two or more times per year. The process can be tiring and stressful due to the amount of energy that is expended in the production of new feathers. It can also be somewhat annoying to your bird because the new feathers growing in are sometimes itchy. It can also be annoying to you and stress out your vacuum cleaner thanks to the increased voume of feathers and feather dust all over the floor! The timing of molts is tied to a birds hormonal cycles rather than related to environmental factors such as daylight hours and temperature. The molting process can last several weeks and even months and is variable from species to species.

You can make your bird's molt a little easier by:

  • providing them with regular bathing opportunities,
  • helping them break open the sheaths on their new head feathers if they don't have a feathered companion,
  • maintaining a heathful diet and proper nutrition to enable the growth of new feathers,
  • allowing your bird sufficient sleep periods, and
  • keep your bird's environment warm as missing feathers may impact their ability to regulate their body temperature.

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