Many parakeet owners are curious about molting and want to know more about it but don't know where to look for answers. Luckily, this article is here to answer all of your questions! In the following paragraphs, we will discuss everything to do with parakeets molting and answer the questions in depth.
Yes, parakeets do molt. Molting is a natural process that all birds go through, and it's an essential part of their growth cycle.
What Is Molting And Why Do Parakeets Molt?
Molting is when feathers are replaced with new ones. The process of replacing old feathers cannot happen without dropping the old, deranged feathers from their sockets. The process of molting is essentially a form of rejuvenation for birds. When a bird reaches adulthood, it develops the ability to molt twice per year.
During the pre-molt period, feathers will loosen up and become less shiny. At this point, many birds will start to gorge on food in anticipation of not being able to eat during the actual molt process because they need both hands free to rearrange strands and tuck them down between their skin and muscles before these loose strands harden into new contour feathers for flight.
When Do Parakeets Molt?
Parakeets usually molt once or twice a year. They will go into the equivalent of what is known as a “catatonic” state in which they are not active at all and do not eat for 3 or 4 days.
It was thought that this was due to the body using up its resources for the process, but research has shown that it is more likely because parakeets have evolved to trade plentiful days of eating with scarce days of flying here and there, so every now and then they have to look after their energy resources.
Caring For Your Molting Parakeet
Molting is a stressful process for all birds, but your parakeet may be in even more pain than usual.
The newly growing feathers can cause itches and pains that will drive them to become cranky with you during this time period – they don't want to be touched or bothered by anything!
Give Your Parakeet Some Space.
You'll notice the little pin-like things sticking out from between their other feathers, as these are called “pin” feathers. These sheaths of keratin grow over new growths until they're ready to fully emerge, so try not to bother them while molting occurs because there's nothing much else you can do besides give some extra love when things get difficult around the time.
Scratch His Neck (If He Will Let You)
Parakeets are often seen preening themselves to remove the accumulation of old dry sheaths. They are usually able to clear their wings, tail feathers, and body plumage, but they cannot reach around their necks.
Fortunately, if your pet will allow you to, you can give him a hand in removing those stubborn ones by gently scratching off them using your fingernails.
Bath Your Parakeet
Bathing also helps soften them so that new feathers will be able to grow through more efficiently. Ensure that the water isn't too hot, as this can make your pet uncomfortable. You should also avoid using soap or detergents because they could irritate their skin and cause chaffing of feathers, which will slow down molting.
Prepare His Cage For Molting
Preparing your parakeets' cage for molting day can help them get through with less stress (moisten some cotton wool with water if needed). The food dish should be placed in such a way that it cannot get knocked over or dirty.
The cage should also contain some tissue paper on the floor to catch any new feathers which may fall out of your pet's body when molting occurs due to the stress – this will prevent them from getting lost and rolling all around their enclosure, causing your parakeet to panic and get even more stressed.
If you have any perches, they should be removed from the cage to prevent them from getting in contact with your pet's new feathers as these might become dirty or contaminated by bacteria which could make your parakeet ill.
How To Encourage Parakeet Molting
If your parakeet is showing signs that he wants to molt, but molting has not yet started (or just begun), you can encourage it by decreasing the amount of light in his cage. Decrease or eliminate artificial light sources and move him into a darker room for about two weeks.
This will help trigger molting because they need to be in a dark environment to molt.
The winter months are also conducive for molting because of the lack of daylight hours and cooler temperatures, which can help parakeets with their stress levels when it comes time for them to shed some feathers.
Decreasing his food intake by about 30-50% during this period should also be helpful in triggering molting.
What To Feed Your Molting Parakeet
While your parakeet is molting, you will need to take care of their nutritional needs. Use food that is high in protein, and don't forget the vegetables!
Both proteins and veggies provide your parakeet with vital nutrients like calcium for healthy bones and vitamins A & C, which can help reduce stress levels during molting.
Also, feed them leafy greens such as celery, lettuce leaves, and spinach. These will provide your parakeet with the nutrients they need to keep their feathers in tip-top condition while molting occurs, as well as plenty of vitamins C & A, which can help reduce stress levels during this time period.
What Happens After Your Parakeet Molts?
After molting has been completed, you can expect your parakeet's wingspan to be longer for a few months as she grows out her new feathers, which will be more pointed and of more vibrant color.
When the parakeet molts her next set of flight feathers, she'll grow out even longer wings as they reach their full potential length after this cycle is completed. Flight feather molt can take up to three months before your bird has reached its maximum wingspan once again.
Molting is a natural process, and your bird's body is designed to do it! Make sure that you have plenty of fresh water for your bird so it can drink, eat as much as it wants, and bathe if desired.
It's also essential to make sure that the cage has enough room so your pet feels comfortable and safe while molting because they may be more prone to stress or illness at this point in their life cycle. Be patient with them too!
They'll need time outside of their cages before being able to fly again once all those pesky old feathers grow back out. We hope this guide has been helpful and answered all your questions about molting, but if not, please do get in touch with us.