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can parrots regrow feathers?

How Do You Promote Feather Growth in Parrots?

(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Psittacines have naturally vibrant, colorful plumage. However, parrots can lose their feathers for many reasons, including molting, stress, and illness.

To stimulate feather growth in parrots, expose them to sunlight or artificial UV light to remove feather-degrading bacteria.

Also, parrots need protein, vitamins (A, B complex, C, and D), and minerals, such as calcium. Ensure your parrot gets sufficient sleep and experiences minimal stress.

Parrots are exotic birds that require emotional wellness and care to thrive in captivity. A parrot with unmet needs is more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors, like feather-plucking.

Unfortunately, this will lead to feather loss, skin damage, and unhealthy feather growth.

Can Parrots Regrow Feathers?

Growing and regrowing feathers is a normal part of a parrot’s life cycle. Most species molt at least once a year, replacing old, worn-out feathers with new ones.

According to AUK, molting often coincides with the migratory season for many parrot species. Meanwhile, in other species, it overlaps with the mating season.

When a parrot is molting, it loses feathers on either side of the body in symmetrical order, allowing it to keep warm and fly as things progress.

The shedding process takes parrots about two months. New feathers start as short, pointed quills known as “pin feathers.” Each feather comprises a protein called beta-keratin.

Although normal and healthy, molting can be an uncomfortable time for parrots. The emergence of sharp pin feathers can leave a parrot feeling temperamental and stressed.

Pin feathers contain blood vessels and nerves, so even minor injuries can cause bleeding and pain.

How To Promote Feather Growth During Molting

Misting the parrot’s body twice daily prevents its skin from drying up and minimizes itching. When your parrot is itchy, it’s likely to scratch itself aggressively, damaging the skin and preventing feather regrowth.

Ensure that parrots get lots of rest to reduce stress and promote the healthy development of pin feathers. Avoid petting your parrot since pin feathers are sensitive and painful when touched.

how long does it take for a parrot's feathers to grow back?

Risk Factors In Feather Growth

Healthy parrots grow back their lost feathers. However, certain factors might cause the feathers to grow abnormally or prevent them from growing.

For example, if the parrot plucks out its feathers regularly, the follicles and underlying skin structures may get damaged, preventing new growth.

Likewise, if the parrot has an internal illness like kidney or liver disease, it could experience permanent feather loss. Abnormal feather loss may signify Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD).

How Long Does It Take for A Parrot’s Feathers to Grow Back?

A parrot takes 1-12 months to regrow its molted feathers. The duration of molting may vary, depending on the size and health of the parrot.

However, if a parrot has a nutritional deficiency or underlying illness, it might experience an abnormal molt. This is characterized by uneven feather loss and bald spots on the body.

What Can I Do to Help My Parrot Grow Feathers?

Parrots naturally lose old and worn-out feathers and regrow new ones. The process can be uncomfortable, making them vulnerable to injuries and infections.

If improperly cared for, a parrot might experience abnormal molting, resulting in permanent feather loss. Here’s how to care for a parrot during a molt to promote healthy feather growth:

Regular Misting

The loss of feathers and the growth of new pin feathers can cause the skin to feel itchy, prompting scratching. This behavior can damage the skin and feather follicles, undermining new growth.

Spray water on your parrot twice daily to minimize discomfort and scratching.

Ample Sleep

Molting isn’t easy for parrots, so they must get ample rest.

Put your parrot in a dim room where it won’t be disturbed for 12-14 hours daily. Doing so ensures parrots get sufficient deep REM sleep, thereby minimizing stress.

No Petting Once Pin Feathers Appear

A parrot’s pin feathers contain blood and nerves, making them sensitive to touch when they emerge. Avoid petting, as this can damage the fragile pin feathers.

Nutrient-Rich Diet

Proper nutrition is essential to the growth and development of healthy feathers. For this reason, ensure your parrot receives a nutritious diet.

Some recommended foods include pellets, fruits, nuts, and seeds, which are high in protein. That should be paired with vitamin-rich vegetables, such as:

Warm Room

As a parrot loses its feathers at the beginning of the molt, it’ll feel colder.

Not only does this cause discomfort, but it might make the parrot vulnerable to respiratory infections. For this reason, keep your parrot at room temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Moreover, ensure that its perch or cage is away from windows and doors during cold weather.

Sunlight Exposure

The exposure of feathers to sunlight inhibits feather-degrading bacteria.

It limits the damage these microorganisms cause to parrots’ plumage. Artificial UV light can aid feather growth if natural sunlight is unavailable.

Vitamins for Healthy Parrot Feathers

First-time owners make the mistake of feeding parrots a diet composed mostly of seeds and nuts.

Unfortunately, they don’t provide the nutrients to keep the parrots’ feathers healthy. If a parrot is deficient in vitamins, it’s likely to experience poor feather health or malnutrition.

Vitamins that a parrot needs to develop healthy feathers include the following:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is crucial for healthy feather growth and the wellness of parrots. It helps the skin produce an oil known as sebum, which keeps the skin healthy and moisturized, preventing flaking and dryness.

Examples of foods rich in vitamin A include:

Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7 (biotin) is essential for healthy feather development. If a parrot is deficient in vitamin B7, its feathers may become:

  • Dull
  • Weak
  • Damaged

Molting parrots, in particular, require foods rich in Vitamin B7 to develop pin feathers, like:

  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Legumes

Vitamin C

A vitamin C deficiency can cause over-preening and feather-plucking behaviors in parrots, damaging the underlying skin structures and preventing feathers from growing.

Some of the best sources of vitamin C for parrots include:

Vitamin D

According to The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, parrots that don’t receive enough sunlight are prone to Vitamin D deficiencies.

This can result in poor skin and feather quality. To avoid this, ensure your parrot receives adequate sunlight, especially during the molting season.

In conditions where natural sunlight is unavailable, you can use artificial UV lights to stimulate the absorption of Vitamin D.

Switch them off at night, so they don’t interfere with the parrot’s sleep cycle.

how to improve feather quality in parrots

How To Improve Feather Quality in Parrots

The most important factor is proper nutrition to improve the quality of a parrot’s feathers. Remember, feathers are made from protein, so provide them with a protein-rich diet.

The best sources of protein for parrots include grains and seeds, such as:

  • Watermelon seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Parrots can also eat a small amount of lean meat and fish.

Vitamins are vital for healthy feather growth. So, offer your parrot vitamin-rich vegetables like collard greens, broccoli, asparagus, and carrots.

Also, include fruits such as berries, oranges, and pomegranates in your parrot’s diet, since these are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Your care routine can be modified to improve the quality of your parrot’s feathers. For instance, a bath will prevent the skin from drying up and minimize itching.

Likewise, allowing your parrot to enjoy 12-14 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night aids in stress reduction and promotes overall health and well-being, which is essential for feather growth.

Also, ensure your parrot receives enough enrichment and attention to keep it happy and healthy.