Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Ali Shahid
One day you wake up and see your feather friend. Find a cage full of feathers and you get shocked that your budgie might become ill. I truly understand the reaction. Don’t rush to the vet immediately. Stop! Just relax birds undergoes a natural process known as molting. Molting is basically the shedding of old feathers to make way for new feathers.
Like every bird budgie also undergoes a natural process of molting twice a year. Budgies gradually replace their old feathers.
It is an essential process to ensure the bird flying capability. When molting happens you may observe small feathers, all drifting across your furniture and floor. No worries! Just use a vacuum cleaner to clean your budgie’s feathers.
Though molting is a natural process, budgies feel unpleasant during the molting period. That’s why your feather friend can appear low-energy and even cranky when it’s shedding. So, you need to keep an eye on proper care to make your feather friend happy.
You wonder what is a molt and why does it happen? And more importantly, what can you do to help keep your budgie comfortable and healthy during its molt? Just stick with me and get your answers according to expert veterinarians.
Keep in mind that never manipulate typical molting to abnormal feather growth or loss. These are entirely two different things you should aware of.
Normal Molting signs:
If your budgie undergoes a normal molting procedure you will observe
- Feathers dropping out gradually
- New feathers pooping out simultaneously
- You may observe your budgie sleeping more rather than chanting like on other normal days.
- Out of all, your budgie will never stop flying. He or she will manage to retain its flying capabilities.
Wild budgies have three molting cycles in a year, usually around spring and fall. Whereas Pet budgies can molt any time of the year, and it can take as little as 2-3 weeks on average.
By helping your budgie feel calmer, well-fed, and relaxed, it can grow in its healthy new plumage with ease.
Abnormal feather loss or growth:
Sometimes your feather friend starts growing or losing more feathers than normal. I recommend you do an immediate visit to the avian vet to diagnose the problem. This condition is usually referred to as French molting.
According to different avian vets, there is a common disease in birds known as French molt. Though the cause of the disease is still undiscovered yet vets consider it a cause of the contagious virus. In this condition budgies usually have some strange bald spots and no replacement of the shed feathers.
Thus, budgies that suffer from this disease may lose their ability to fly at all. A French molt will trigger a random molt and can lead to unnatural results once it has. Unfortunately, vets don’t have a specific treatment to alleviate the effects of the disease. But they will surely recommend you good care practices for your budgie.
Causes of irregular molting:
Your budgie molting cycle is disturbed. If it is molting more than two to three times a year then I recommend you to visit an avian vet following reasons. After studying it has been analyzed abnormal molting is characterized due to one of the several reasons listed below.
Lack of nutrition:
According to different avian experts, it has been concluded that malnutrition is the leading cause of feather plucking in birds.
It has been observed that if a budgie is being fed with seeds over a long period will be susceptible to irregular molting. Eventually, this plucking may become a behavioral habit, and plucking may continue even after a more balanced diet is introduced.
Another common cause of irregular molting is stress. Birds are hyperactive and want everyone’s attention in the house.
So, lack of attention, dirty or cramped accommodations, and boredom will lead to feather plucking.
Sometimes the birds may encounter lice or mites that will ultimately lead to feather plucking. If these fleas, bugs, or other parasites eat away at the feathers or irritate the skin, the budgie will try to shed its feathers to remove them.
These little parasites can be so irritating and cause several difficulties throughout a molt. I will recommend you visit a vet for their removal.
Sometimes the budgies may suffer from physical illness and follow the irregular molting period. Budgies may become ill and too weak to maintain their feathers. This can trigger a molt to grow into new ones.
Help your budgie during molting:
Help your budgies during the molting period by providing the following facilities,
Just provide them with a warm and comfortable environment. Try to make less noise and avoid stressors.
Your budgie allows you to get closer during the molding stage. Then it will be a good chance to do head and neck scratches to give them relief. Just be gentle and don’t get too offended if your bird gives a warning bite.
Feed for a molting budgie:
All in all, your budgie’s nutritional needs will increase. It is recommended to increase the nutritional intake of the budgies up to 25% during the molting period. Avian vet experts emphasize adding fresh fruits, cereals, hard boil eggs, and vegetables to the food. Some of the stores also offer special molting food for the birds.
As it is not a painful procedure yet a little uncomfortable. So, it is appreciated to add black seed to the diet to reduce inflammation. But keep in mind the balance of all the nutrition is yet another important task to maintain.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you know if your parakeet is molting?
When you observe certain changes in the behavior of the budgie your budgie might be molting. They often start sitting for a longer period of time, making less noise, or sleepier. In some cases, the budgies may panic and jumpier than usual. So, don’t get worried it’s totally normal.
Do budgies get sick when molting?
No, you may observe a change in behavior but you cannot say it is sick. It is completely a natural process thus; his immune system isn’t functioning in top form. So, allow your parakeet to rest more than usual since adequate sleep is important for the development of new feathers.
What is the difference between molting and metamorphosis?
Molting and metamorphosis are two completely different things. In metamorphosis, an organism transforms from the immature stage to the mature stage. Whereas in the molting process shedding of the body parts periodically take places such as body coverings, feathers, cuticles, or skin.
What are the budgie molting stages?
Usually, molting has three stages. In the first stage, the budgies undergo feather loss, and a slow losing batch of the feather will be observed.
During the second stage, pin feather grows; you will observe tiny white stubs forming on your budgie’s skin. In the last stage, a new feather grows. You will observe the small pin feathers will quickly grow out from the white keratin shafts and into new feathers.
How long do budgies molt for?
Like other birds, budgies have an annual molt of around 2 to 3 weeks. So, with primary and tail feathers dropping out, a budgie might not feel confident flying.
When a budgie undergoes its first molting procedure?
It has been observed that a baby budgie goes through the first molting around three months of age. They start losing their baby feathers and start revealing their adult plumage.
The bottom line is molting is an annual event. So, there is nothing to worry about. The only time you need to worry about is when large areas appear without new feathers. Especially if your budgie seems to be molting at an unusual time, appears especially lethargic, or is showing bald spots, something more might be going on. This could be a serious concern and I recommend you visit the avian vet.
We all know that the budgie molting period is not a comfortable time for the budgie. The molting frequency varies from individual to individual. Some finish their molting process in two to three weeks and some require more than a month.
But it’s a completely normal and necessary process and luckily your bird has you around to help it through the itch and discomfort. So, it’s completely normal.
Don’t stress, it will be over before you know it.
Thank you for reading the article. Hopefully, after reading this article all of your thought regarding the budgies molting get clear. If you want to learn more about the budgies and their behavior let us know in the comment section below.
Your response will be appreciated.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.