The Moulting Season is a powerful indicator - W.v.Gils
When the birds are in good health the moult will proceed normally and reasonably quickly, but the birds must be provided with adequate room and not overpopulated. It is of course important to provide the birds with a proper balanced diet because the moult can be very taxing.A good supply of protein and mineral salts is also required to ensure a good moult. Indeed the feathers consist of the protein 'keratin'. If the bird is ill or suffers from a deficiency the moult will be drawn out and incomplete. A feather has a limited life span. The total plumage comprises about 10% of the bird's weight.
To enable a smooth moult some important aspects need to be considered, viz, "the light" and the "bath" and a good variable seed mix. and adequate living space, perches and distractions.
As soon as the breeding season has ended any artifical lighting should be reduced as much as possible. Only natural lighting should be the norm. This will bring the birds in relative darkness and will serve as a natural trigger for initiating the moult.During the moult the birds should be left in peace and quiet and any catching avoided as much as possible. Also provide half an onion (amino acids) on a regular basis and sprays of millet will also be of great benefit. Provide distractions by suspending strands of rope and sufficient sheltered perch positions.Any birds that show traces of blood should be removed straightaway and kept separate, and only returned when the bleeding has stopped and all traces of blood washed away.
Baths are provided twice a week. I use normal water and add "bath salts for pigeons". The salt softens the feathers and assists in feather renewal by removing the dust. The salt is added once a week.
When you know that an ordinary canary has about 1500 feathers you will appreciate the amount of energy that the bird must produce. The effect is often that the bird grows lean. This can be felt when you hold the bird in your hand and is the reason for making eggfood available during the course of the moult about 6-7 weeks. Food supplements are added to the eggfood which is given three times per week. Probotics are also added to maintain the intestinal flora in alance.Other measures include proper ventilation and air replacement, avoiding moisture ingress. With proper care your birds will have properly moulted after 6-7 weeks. Plumage will be smooth, clean and tight and the males will thank you when once again they resume their singing.Complements - Wout Van Gils