The moult as an indicator of the state of health of your birds
Birds in good condition will moult normally reasonably quickly provided they have adequate space and are not kept in overcrowded aviaries or cages.
It is of course most important to provide a balanced and nutritious diet with some extra vitamins as a moulting bird requires lots of energy to shed old feathers and grow new ones.
As feathers consist out of keratin=protein. A good diet rich in proteins and minerals is essential to ensure a trouble free moult.
The moult is a good indicator of the condition of your birds
The condition of the feathers of a bird is a good indicator of the bird’s health.
When a bird is sick or in bad condition the bird will moult very slowly and very often only partially...
For a quick moult a number of factors need to be considered. A good healthy diet with a good seed mixture and some extra vitamins and soft food are necessary.
Also give the birds plenty of natural light only and at least twice a week the opportunity for the birds to take a good bath. Once a week I add a little bath salt for pigeons to the water. The salt helps to remove the dust and soften the new plumage and keeps feather mite at bay.
Take also care to make sure that the aviary or cage is not too crowded.
During the moulting period the birds should be left alone as much as possible.
To keep the birds entertained put some millet spray in the aviary or put up some pieces of rope.
Shielded perches are helpful to stop feather picking, also put half an onion in your aviary or half a parboiled potato for the same reason once a week.
Feathers have a limited lifespan and are renewed by every moult. When we realize that a canary has about 1500 feathers which is about 10% of the weight of the bird it is easy to understand the amount of energy and resources that are needed for the bird to go through a moult successfully.
The bird often loses weight and this becomes readily apparent when we keep the bird in our hand. Egg food and oily seeds like rape, linseed and hulled oaths should be made available during the full duration of the moulting period. Also added vitamins in the drinking water and a supplement of probiotics are most helpful for a good condition of the birds.
And remember that a good and successful moult will determine your success in the show and success for the next breeding season.
Translated from an article by Wout van Gils