Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: June 23, 2013, 10:00 a.m. PDT
Throughout your birds’ life it will molt to replace old feathers. Molting is a gradual process and all the feathers will not be replaced at once. Birds begin molting at different times, depending on various factors.
A number of things can contribute to when and how often your bird molts including: nutrition, thyroid hormone levels, any infections or diseases present, the amount of light and dark the bird is exposed to daily, the time of year the bird was hatched and the status of the bird’s reproductive system.
Pin feathers appear, mostly on the head or neck when a bird is molting. They are stiff, shiny feathers that are in the sheaths if they haven’t been preened yet. Birds appreciate their person gently combing their fingers through the pinfeathers to remove the sheaths if they are housed alone and do not have another bird to preen them. Pin feathers are very sensitive to the touch, so gentleness is important when doing this.
Birds that have not replaced their trimmed wing feathers by their first birthday should be checked out by and avian vet. You will begin to learn your bird’s schedule once it begins molting for the first time.
Smaller birds typically molt twice a year and large parrots will usually molt just once a year, but regardless of size, their molting schedule depends on the factors mentioned above.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Health section is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.