Managing the Molt
The white dust…and feathers everywhere. Broom, dust pan, vacuum and mop seem to be out daily. It’s a time of year we usually don’t look forward to.
But, what about our feathered friends?
The molt for our canaries is a process in which they must loose and re-grow their feathers. The loss and re-growth takes about 1-2 months to complete. The adult canary molt begins with the wing feathers, spreads to both sides of the body and is completed on the neck and head. Some 2,000 feathers are lost and re-grown in this process. I’ve seen some canaries molt so quickly they have a hard time flying from ground to a high perch.
So how do we make the molt as easy as possible for our canaries? The quick and simple answer is a nutritious diet. A nutritious high protein diet is needed to promote the re-growth of all these lost feathers.
Feathers are made up of primarily proteins. Proteins consist of 21 different amino acids. The 2 essential amino acids (Lysine and Methionine) are especially important during the molt. These two amino acids also tend to be in short supply in most birds diets. Canaries need more that just the essential amino acids. Huge amounts of energy, vitamins, fats and minerals are also needed for the bird to quickly grow their new feathers and regain their vigor. By supplying proper nutrition, the bird is able to shed and replace feathers more quickly and able to produce strong, tight feathers that will serve them well in the coming year.
Some sources of good nutrition:
|• Sprouted or Soaked Seed
|Be careful about spoilage in hot weather, but sprouted or soaked seed are
excellent sources of protein.
|• Bee Pollen
|One of the most complete proteins available.
|• Boiled Egg, Nesting Food
|Hard boiled egg and commercial nesting food are good sources of protein. Be careful with boiled egg in hot weather.
|Don’t forget your dark green vegetables. Vegetables are higher in protein than some think.
|• Mineral Grit
|A completely digestible mineral grit provides calcium and other minerals for feather growth,
|• Oyster Shell
|Great source of both calcium and iodine
|A source of calcium and trace minerals.
|Blue-green micro algae provides vitamins, minerals and beta carotene.
|• Trace Minerals
|Trace minerals are important for feather growth. Available from Birds 2 Grow.
Their product contains 63 trace minerals.
|• Extra Vitamins
|A commercial product is helpful in providing added nutrition during this
Other ways to help our canaries through their molt are exercise and baths. Provide ample room for your canaries to fly and not be over crowded. Daily baths are also helpful. Baths encourage the loosing of old feathers and promote preening. Preening spreads the natural oils the canary produces and helps spread this oil over the entire feather for a healthy sheen.
Giving your canaries a good nutritious diet, exercise and baths will help them be ready for the show season in good heath and beautiful plumage.