Change Of Feathers In Parrots And Plumage Status

Moulting of feathers in parrots and plumage status

The molting of feathers in parrots and the condition of their plumage are great indicators of the health of these birds and many other species of birds. It can be said that through the feathers we can detect diseases  and, therefore, it is advisable to pay attention to the change of feathers, if the color is correct and also in its general condition, because we can prevent diseases or correct errors in the  feeding of the parrots..

The moulting of normal parrots

Typically,  birds perform a cyclic exchange of their feathers, known as molting. This process is physiological, and in it there is a gradual decay of the old feathers, which are renewed by the new growth. Feather moulting in parrots usually  occurs completely every one to two years  and is especially pronounced in spring and autumn.

parrot couple

The molting of feathers in parrots, when ideal, never leaves skin lesions or uncovered areas. However, when the feathers fall out, the growing feathers can be seen, something that should be plentiful. The new feathers will be the color of the rest of the bird’s plumage; and we will only see a change in color at the first moult of some species, such  as parakeets and cockatiels, which acquire their final color after the first moult.

Stress and depigmentation bands

One of the main anomalies of feather molting in birds is the stress bands,  some marks that appear as a dark band, practically black, with a certain translucent character. Like the growth rings of a tree, the distance between these bands gives us information about chronic stress processes or even nutrient deficiency problems.

Though they can be confused with stress bands,  feathers can suffer from depigmentation, which will also have a dark appearance, but will spread over a large part of the feather and not be band-shaped. In this case, it is not associated with stress, but rather with a poor diet or insufficient sunlight. Taking into account these chronic problems, we should contact an   exotic animal veterinarian to change our bird’s diet.

Other plumage problems

There are pathologies of an infectious nature that affect the plumage, such as  beak and feather disease.  This disease is caused by a virus and, in addition to general symptoms such as diarrhea, lethargy and vomiting, it can affect the plumage. Feather shedding, depigmentation or even abnormal colors are some of its symptoms.

healthy parrots

On the other hand,  broken feathers are due to inadequate handling, fights between parrots housed in the same enclosure, or even the use of small cages  that do not allow the animals to move freely.

The appearance of bald areas is also frequent in parrots and, in fact, pecking itself is one of the most dangerous processes in birds. Stress and depression are one of the main causes of feather shedding, although it can be a consequence of trying to attract attention, due to the presence of mites or other processes.

In this sense, the variety of causes of the problem is enormous; thus,  this self-mutilating behavior is usually due to several factors and, in many cases, requires the intervention of a veterinarian specializing in the ethology of these animals, or a parrot trainer.

In general, animals that are in a good facility, accompanied by other parrots and that are well fed, generally do not develop plumage problems. Ensuring this will allow us to have healthy and happy parrots.

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