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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone.

Gonzo is going through his first molt. He has been molting for a little under two weeks, how long does it usually last. Is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable? I have been rubbing his head and spraying him with warm water (which he doesn't really like too much). I also just ordered a Lixit bird bath, but that won't be here for a few days. He has a lot of pin feathers on his head, I have heard some people pull them out, is that recommended? I always thought the pin feathers were the new feathers is that true?
 

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A parrotlet will molt a LOT in their first year.

Things that help:

Lots of baths/showers till very wet, several times a week minimum

Natural lighting or supplemental lighting. The UVA/UVB rays (full spectrum lighting) affects the pineal gland thus controlling the molting process to really kick in, thus making it a faster process.

Some birds prefer warm water, some prefer ice cold water, either is fine for bathing. Some like to bathe on their own. Some like spraying with a bottle. Others despise spray bottles but love the bird misters. Some like to get in the shower or in the sink.

Do NOT pull the pin feathers out. You can gently preen these for him. It does take a lot of practice because you will, on occassion, pull some too hard and hurt him.

Pin feathers are the new feathers, their is a coating on the outside that has to come off. You can gently take the feathers on the surface of your pointer finger and rub against your thumb to preen the pin feathers.

Also, feed extra protein via cooked legumes/beans. You may have to play around with them to find a way Gonzo likes them (if he doesnt accept beans) Feed whole or even mash them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply. I will start trying to give him beans tomorrow. He isn't a really picky eater, I guess I'm lucky in that area. I have been trying to give him new things like different kinds of fruit and veggies everyday. He doesn't always finish but he always eats some of whatever I give him. Thanks for the advice. I tried giveing bringing him in the bath tub and dripping some warm water on him but he didn't like it at all and wouldn't get off of my shoulder. I would get him on my finger but he immeatately flew back up to my shoulder everytime. I guess I'll just stick to misting him for now, even though he doesn't really like that either. I hope he will take to the new bird bath I just ordered for him, but like I said that won't be here for a while.
 

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I’m glad Andrea saw your post yesterday and mentioned not to pull out the pin-feathers :eek: – although I’m sure Gonzo would have let you know in no uncertain terms not to do that :D

On my males last molt I would try to rub his pinfeathers between my fingers very softly but inevitably he would squeal and pull away if I got too rough. Both of mine have started their molt this past week but I haven’t noticed any pinfeathers this time, I’m not sure if its too early in the molt or because they groom each other so much that they are opening them on each other.

I’ve read the pinfeather sheaths are likened to shoelace tips – apparently this is why birds like shoelace tips so much :p
As for the bathing, my male took months before he started to bathe. I was offering him warm water as my book said to do – apparently that was why he wouldn’t bathe, I found out by accident he prefers cold water. I was rinsing dishes under cold water and he ran down my arm to get a drink and as soon as he felt the cold water splashes he started to fluff for a bath – ever since then he bathes whenever cold water [from the faucet] is offered to him – You just need to figure out what Gonzo’s preference is for bathing and you’ll find it by trial and error I’m sure :rolleyes: My female took to bathing right away as she copies everything the male does :p

As Andrea said they like more protein during a molt – as she stated beans and also more nuts – this is usually the only time I offer them, in moderation - natural unsalted peanuts [a big hit] I’ve heard if you give too many peanuts when they are not in a molt it can trigger a premature molt [so that’s not good].

Andrea – do you know once they start their molt how long before their flight feathers start being replaced? – I’ve been watching all week for a cut flight feather to fall of my female but nothing yet and also how heavy is the risk of having a problem with blood feathers?
 

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What about eggs for protein?
GREAT TIP - mine aren't nuts about egg but will eat it - my last bird LOVED egg - boiled with the egg shell crushed in or scrambled with bits of veggies and such scrambled in. You can even sprinkle some Cayenne pepper on top -

Please see post below about the use of eggs for your birds. I may have been a little over zealous about the “GREAT TIP” part :eek:
 

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In regards to eggs, Dr. Wolf from the avian section of the University of Hanover and a nutrition expert for parrots strongly advised against feeding any animal proteins to parrots. They increase the uric acid and will lead to gout. They do not need it nutritionally and it can harm them. So for this reason I tend to avoid much animal protein. We do feed tiny bits very rarely as a treat, but the beans/legumes offer enough protein.

A mate is the best cure for pint feathers!

With nuts I like to feed whole nuts in the shell, cracked or crushed slightly so they have to work to get into it. This gives a good foraging opportunity as well which they need.

I didn't know that about peanuts Pado!
 

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Andrea – do you know once they start their molt how long before their flight feathers start being replaced? – I’ve been watching all week for a cut flight feather to fall of my female but nothing yet and also how heavy is the risk of having a problem with blood feathers?


I am sorry I can't really answer this! The risk of blood feather issues are pretty minimal. In my five years with parrotlets I have never had a blood feather issue with the birds that have come into our care. But it is important to be prepared to deal with broken blood feathers. A broken blood feather is an open blood vessel and a sure death if the feather bleeding does not stop on its own or if it is not pulled out.
 

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Yikes, I had no idea about the eggs – I was giving my last bird eggs about twice a week for five years! :eek: :eek:
I’m glad my Parrotlets don’t really care for them – But I’m glad to hear its okay to give animal protein occasionally as a treat – both my P’lets LOVE to pick at chicken bones when I offer it to them – they also love bits of lunchmeats. I’ll be sure to only offer these as an occasional treat.

The peanut thing I heard from other forums – I was feeding my male peanuts as a regular treat when I had him out of his cage and he also eats Harrison’s pellets which apparently contains peanuts.

This was around the time he had over bonded with his toy and I was seeking advice from everywhere I could think of –

Apparently I had thrown him into a hormonal surge from too much protein and misuse of his full spectrum light.

I was asked about his molting pattern – I had never really thought about it but he always seemed to have pinfeathers even when he wasn’t in his molt or dropping any feathers

I was told I was giving him too much protein so to cut out the peanuts as they were the worst culprit and to only offer them on occasion and during a molt - also to cut out the full spectrum light as I was using it incorrectly {the cage I have has a mostly covered top so I couldn’t put the light on the top of the cage, I was using it shining in from the side of the cage – apparently a no no – I was told the light should only be used shining down onto the bird and at about four feet away from the bird – I think it was 4ft, either way I had it too close]

When I started to cut these out he started to calm down and the constant pin feathers subsided - then I got the female so he really calmed down :p :D

Thanks for the tip on the eggs - I'm going to go back an make a notation to my original post:

 

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I'm glad I asked about the eggs. I've heard them recommended many times, but was always uncomfortable with giving animal protein to a parrotlet. Here's another one for you-- what about nutritional yeast (not baker's yeast)?
 
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