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Irregular Molting Pattern?

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Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Trick or 'Tiel » Fri May 26, 2017 7:27 pm

Hello everyone,
I was just doing some training with Ducky and when I asked him to do the "wings" trick I noticed a gap in his primaries on one wing. Then I discovered a primary on the floor in front of his cage, and I already knew before that he had lost two other primaries in that same area. So there is a gap on one of his wings with three missing primaries, and I'm just worried why he's losing feathers from the same area on the same wing. I know that birds usually molt the same number of flight feathers on each wing to keep them balanced for flight, so I'm just a little concerned why he hasn't lost any primaries on the other wing. If I look closely at the wing with the missing feathers, I can see one new primary coming in. I am also wondering why he's losing primaries when he's not losing body feathers or tail feathers. I don't think he is going through a full molt right now, and Bluebell hasn't started her molt yet either. He can still fly fine as he is a good flyer, but I'm worried that if he loses another primary on that same wing he will be unbalanced and won't be able to fly well.
Ducky- Lutino Cockatiel :pied:
Bluebell- Blue Budgie :bluebudgie:
Kermit- Yellow Sided GCC :gcc:
Trick or 'Tiel
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 124
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Pajarita » Sat May 27, 2017 1:55 pm

Hmmm, I really cannot give you an answer on this one, my dear. You are absolutely correct that molt is always symmetrical but it's never perfectly simultaneous so it does happen that they lose a feather from one wing before they lose the corresponding one on the other wing. It's also normal for them to start their molt with primaries instead of contours and some of the short day breeders (tiels, being highly opportunistic breeders do breed in short days, too) have started losing some feathers so I would not worry too much about that. What it is unusual is for him to lose three remiges on one wing and none on the other... Is it possible that he banged this wing against his cage or something? Not hard enough to actually cause any trauma but maybe enough to loosen the feathers? Is his cage large enough that it easily accommodates his wingspan? Because the thing about parrot cages is that, because they climb, they have horizontal bars but it's the vertical bars that are 'kinder' to plumage, especially primaries (and that's why cages for passerines have vertical bars) so parrot cages need to be extra wide so as to accommodate their wings wide open without 'bumping' them against the bars. Sometimes it's not so much that the cage is not large enough but that the perches are all placed too close to the bars... Check this out and see if this is the problem.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11753
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Trick or 'Tiel » Sun May 28, 2017 8:04 am

He didn't lose all three feathers at the same time. If it were an injury, they would have either fallen out right when it happened, or first thing after he took flight when he was let out. I've noticed that both birds tend to lose feathers as they're flying, which makes sense because if a feather is lose, it will be knocked out while flapping. His cage is 30 inches long, 40 inches tall and 20 inches wide, but he never actually flies in his cage even though it's big enough. He flies around the room first thing after I let him out, but while in his cage, he climbs the bars and multiple ladders placed in there for him. Bluebell can fly from perch to perch in her cage with no problem, but Ducky just never does. I don't see everything going on while he's in his cage, though, so it still could very well be an injury.
Ducky- Lutino Cockatiel :pied:
Bluebell- Blue Budgie :bluebudgie:
Kermit- Yellow Sided GCC :gcc:
Trick or 'Tiel
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 124
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Pajarita » Sun May 28, 2017 10:49 am

I wasn't really talking about an injury. Sometimes, they bang/snag their primaries against the sides of the cage and although this doesn't cause any trauma whatsoever to the bird's body, it loosens or breaks the feathers. This is very common with birds that have long tails. When the perches are close to the sides of the cage, the bird turns around kind of fast and hits the bars with the rectrices, sometimes breaking them, sometimes loosening them. But it can happen to the remiges, too, and it doesn't necessarily have to be because of flight inside the cage. Pablo, for example, has half a wing and real bad feet so he never flies but he is always climbing up and down the sides of the cage even though I have put all kinds of ladders, ropes, platforms, etc in there to help him out and, when he climbs, he half opens his good wing for balance so his primaries (both wings and tail) get caught between or hit the bars and, after a while, the end up broken or missing.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11753
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Trick or 'Tiel » Sun May 28, 2017 12:01 pm

When Ducky was clipped terribly as a baby (before fledging, all at once, all his primaries and half the secondaries were clipped) he used to break tail feathers all the time. He actually had broken every single one of the rectrices at one point. When he started to gain confidence with flight and his remiges started growing back, he was no longer "clumsy" as breeders always tell you. One by one, he grew back all his tail feathers as he learned to fly with his new, beautiful, long flight feathers and never broke another feather again. The feathers I found were clearly not broken, but fell out. He literally hasn't broken a single tail or wing feather since he was clipped. I'm guessing that he probably banged against the side of the cage, not breaking the feathers, but loosening them. Then he lost them while flying around outside of his cage. He hasn't been loosing any more feathers, so I'm guessing he hasn't started molting yet.
Ducky- Lutino Cockatiel :pied:
Bluebell- Blue Budgie :bluebudgie:
Kermit- Yellow Sided GCC :gcc:
Trick or 'Tiel
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 124
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel, Budgie
Flight: Yes

Re: Irregular Molting Pattern?

Postby Pajarita » Mon May 29, 2017 10:08 am

Well, if the lack is not impairing his flight in any way (and you have already confirmed this to be the case), it's OK. He will grow them back soon enough.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11753
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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