What Does it Mean When a Bird Loses It's Feather?

Your beloved bird has suddenly begun to lose its features. Naturally, you're worried. Are they sick? Do they need to go to the vet? Don't panic. It's quite normal for birds to lose their feathers. The process is called molting.

What is Molting?

Bird feathers cannot be replaced on their own, so a bird must lose them before they can grow new ones. Just like hair won't regrow unless it has been cut or removed, the same goes for bird feathers.

Most birds follow a seasonal molting pattern, shedding their old feathers during the winter and regrowing them throughout the spring. Molting also helps regulate a bird's internal temperature during the winter when the temperature drops.

Birds can often become stressed during molting, so it's essential to make sure they're as comfortable as possible and still eating and drinking well. Depending on the species, molting can last for several weeks or several months.

How to Help Your Bird When It’s Molting

Because your bird's body is undergoing a stressful process, you want to make sure they have plenty of energy and that all of their nutritional needs are met. Increase their food by 25-percent, and ensure that their diet is filled with plenty of fruits, veggies, and cereals.

You can ask your vet about the best food to feed your bird when they’re molting.

When to be Worried

Birds may also lose their feathers when they aren't molting for other reasons. Your bird may lose features when it's experiencing chronic stress from the result of a move or other circumstances.

They may not have enough exercise and stimulation, so their boredom has caused them to begin pulling their feathers out.

Inadequate nutrition, lack of sunlight and too much or too little humidity can also cause a bird to lose its feathers. Birds are highly sensitive creatures, and it's vital that you always have the right environment for them including adequate space, toys, food, fresh water, natural sunlight, and the right temperature.

Feather Loss Illness

Some breeds of parrots, macaws, cockatoos, and lovebirds develop a condition called Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. PBFD attacks the immune system and causes a bird to lose its feathers as well as breaks down cells in its beak.

If your bird's feathers do not grow back normally or they never stop molting, you should contact your veterinarian ASAP. You should also check for any signs of lethargy in your bird, such as sleeping more than usual, being withdrawn and eating and drinking less.

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