Molting is a natural process where the birdís feathers get replaced with new ones. A molting budgie is not sick. Feathers are just replaced since over time they can get worn and damaged.
A budgie first molts at around twelve weeks old. His first feathers get replaced by new ones, and he loses the appearance of a young bird. The large, dark stripes across his head disappear when he gets his new feathers.
There is no set time of year for budgies to start molting. Because budgies donít have any set travel routines in the wild, they molt whenever the flock has a safe place to stay that provides enough food and water.
So in captivity your budgie can start molting at any time, whether itís spring or winter. Some budgies even molt a little all year round, a couple of feathers at a time.
Molting can last for quite a while since some of the larger feathers take up to eight weeks to grow back. The smaller feathers can grow again in around six weeks.
Budgies can also start to molt if they get especially frightened of stressed. When this happens just treat him as if he is molting routinely, and try to keep his life stress free.
Do I Need To Help My Budgie?
Even though a molting bird is not sick, it does need a little extra consideration. Drafts are deadly to budgies at the best of times, but when they are missing some feathers they are even more sensitive to the cold, so they need to be kept warm.
What your budgie does need is a quiet, stress free time, and a balanced diet. Getting proper nutrition is the best way to help healthy new feathers grow.
Another way to help your budgie during the molt is to spray him with lukewarm water every day. This can help him to get the loose feathers out more easily.
You might notice your budgie pulling at certain feathers to help them come out. Thatís fine, your bird is in the best position to know which feathers are ready to come out. Your budgie also knows what will cause him pain.
Budgies rarely need any physical help from us when they are molting. Pulling loose looking feathers out of your budgie can cause him some serious pain. The only time your budgie needs you to step in is when the new feathers look deformed or arenít growing through properly.
If your budgie is having trouble with a feather that he canít get out then you might want to get a professional to help him out. Alternatively you can try to remove the trouble feather yourself.
Just keep your budgie warm and well fed and let him get on with it. Unless he looks sick or in pain he shouldnít need any real help from you. If you are really concerned about your budgie though, seek veterinary advice. Itís better to be safe than sorry.
Budgies, Budgerigars Information