I am a fairly new bird owner. I've never owned one before and there are alot of basic things I don't know. I have two cockatiels I've had three months. What is molting? How often do the birds do it? How will I know what's happening?

Jud G.


Congratulations. You have selected what we believe to be the best all round bird as a pet. You have started your cockatiel education correctly, by asking questions. It's a fun and fascinating hobby and should provide you with endless enjoyment.

Molting is simply nature's way of replacing the tired worn out feathers with smooth, fresh feathers, much like us humans buying new shoes when our old shoes wear out.

There are two types of molting. The first is what we refer to as a heavy molt and the second is a light molt. The loss of old tail and crest feathers is a classic example of a heavy molt. You can expect this to happen twice a year. Light molting may ocur at varying times. Both types are natural processes but they can also be triggered by changes in the surrounding lighting and changes in temperature.

Molting is hard work for a bird and as always, you should provide your birds with the best nutrition, especially during molting. Placing a shallow dish of water in the bottom of the cage for bathing is appreciated by the birds during this time, too.