Why do birds molt?

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            parakeets.jpgAbout three years ago, I bought a pet parakeet. I really didn't know much about the small birds at the time, but it didn't take me long to notice something weird about my blue parakeet: a month after I got her, I noticed that she started loosing some of her feathers. It made her look scruffy. It was mainly around the neck and belly, and it worried me because she was also getting thinner. We took her to the vet only to find out that what happened was completely normal. She was going through one of her molting cycles.

            Similar to humans, birds have their own way of shedding. Over time, as feathers become damaged or seasons change, birds have to shed their old feathers that cannot be repaired and grow completely new ones. This is an important process because a birds feathers need to be in good condition to fly. They are also waterproof, helping a bird to fly in the rain and keep dry.
            Depending on the type of bird, how many times they molt a year varies. Some only molt once a year and others have partial molts more frequently, only replacing the feathers that need to be replaced. The time it takes to finish bird.jpgmolting is also always different. The above source wrote, "note that molting periods cover a range as long as 4 months."
            Although the process is natural for birds, my vet recommended several things to help my bird. The list includes keeping her in a warm temperate, feed her vitamin and protein rich seed, and covering her cage earlier at night, kind of like forcing her to go to bed. Even just from observation, I can tell how much molting helps. She looks very ugly while molting, but the feather grow back colorful and soft.

1 Comment

Kelsie, this is so interesting! I always knew they did this but I never knew WHY. My friend used to have one who would do this but her mom told us it's because the bird was under an immense amount of stress living in that house.

Good placement of your pictures as well. Nice post!

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