Parrot Molting: How to Make Your Parrot Comfortable During a Molt
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Periodic molting is a part of life for all birds, but it is uncomfortable and puts a strain on the body, causing your bird physical and emotional stress. Most birds weather a molt just fine, but some captive birds find molting to be unbearable and resort to undesirable behaviors including squawking, nipping, and even feather plucking behaviors to find relief. Molting may last anywhere from one to three or more months. Use our C-O-N-S-O-L-E method to offer your parrot comfort during these difficult weeks.
• COMFORT: Try to make your parrot as physically comfortable as possible. Missing some insulating feathers, your bird needs to stay warm and be exposed to adequate humidity. Make sure to keep your bird in a moderately warm room and away from drafts, ceiling fans and air vents. Keratin wrapped pin feathers are prickly and drying on the skin so make sure that the humidity levels in the room are adequate enough to keep the skin supple. You may wish to consider providing your parrot with a Thermo-Perch to offer warmth.
• OFFER ALTERNATIVE PREENING OPPORTUNITIES: Your bird may become preoccupied with relieving skin discomfort by over-preening new feather growth. Already in a heightened state of stress, a bored, caged bird with few other outlets to allocate energy may become fixated on preening to the point of feather plucking. Provide your parrot with preening bird toys that encourage chewing and preening to prevent preoccupation with irritating new feather growth.
• NUTRITION: Keratin is made from protein and amino acids so your bird will require superior nutrition in order to produce a new set of healthy, colorful feathers. Make sure that you provide your parrot with fresh, premium bird pellets like, veterinarian recommend Harrison’s Bird Food. Supplement premium bird food with nutrient rich fresh fruits and vegetables. A lot of breeders complement premium pellets with egg food and FeatherUp!, as well.
• SYMPATHIZE WITH YOUR PARROTS DISCOMFORT: Most of us are more irritable when we are uncomfortable and parrots are no exception. An irritable parrot may express its frustration with more squawking and nippy or uncooperative behavior. Rather than punish your bird, ignore temperament flare-ups and concentrate your bird contact toward positive behavior and insuring your bird is comfortable. Appreciate that your bird may may not welcome being petted or handled when new feather growth causes itching and pin feathers poke its skin.
• OFFER FREQUENT OPPORTUNITIES TO BATHE: Your bird will be grateful for frequent misting and opportunities to bath away keratin dust and moisturize the skin. Feather sheath dust gets in your parrots nostrils and ears, sits on their skin and may even harbor bacteria. Misting your parrot down with a quality bird bath like Natra Pet Bird Bath or Aloe vera will wash away the debris and encourage appropriate preening while moisturizing and cleansing the skin. Some birds appreciate having access to a clean bowl of water in which they can bathe at will.
• LIGHTING: Expose your parrot to natural sunlight or bird lights on a timer, set for the length of a natural day, approximately 12 hrs. Likewise, your bird needs a proper amount of sleep. Make sure that it has about 12 hrs. of dark and quiet each evening.
• ENCOURAGE EXERCISE AND SOCIALIZATION: A caged stressed bird can easily become lethargic and preoccupied with its irritating feathers - sometimes resulting in over-preening or feather plucking. Encourage exercise and socialization as much as possible by placing your bird on a bird stand in an area where it can see the family. While your parrot may not appreciate petting, it will appreciate getting out of the cage and having an opportunity to climb and stretch its wings. Out of cage time and bird toys that promote exercise such as a Bird Bungee are good choices.