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Category: Bird
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Lost all his primaries a few weeks ago. Moulting. Still

Customer Question

Lost all his primaries a few weeks ago. Moulting. Still seems healthy and chatty but am concerned that it's taking so long to grow new primaries.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the bird?
Customer: As I said,- no primaries, can't fly. Seems to be taking a long time to regrow.
JA: Where does the bird seem to hurt?
Customer: He doesn't hurt. He seems healthy and chats and whistles same as ever.
JA: OK. No obvious pain. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the bird?
Customer: He's about 9 months old, shares his cage with a hen friend, similar age. She's fine. Just want to know if it's normal to take several weeks to regrow flight feathers.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  DrMichaelSalkin replied 9 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  DrMichaelSalkin replied 9 months ago.

Molting is controlled by a wide range of factors including thyroid activity, reproductive hormones, photoperiod, body condition, age and diet. After a series of molts to attain adult plumage most birds go on to molt 1-2 times annually. The pattern of molting is orderly and in the following progression (with some overlap): the inner primaries; the outer primaries, the secondaries and tail feathers; and finally the body contour feathers. It's usually bilaterally symmetrical and is paced so as to avoid loss of flight capacity at any time. A normal molt might take 3 weeks to 3 months to complete.

If his molt is delayed, first examine his diet. Which type of bird is he? What has his diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Expert:  DrMichaelSalkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?