I’ve had my Senegal parrot for about six months now, and while it has been cleaner than many other species that I’ve owned over the years, there has been one specter hanging over my head for a while—molting.
It hasn’t molted yet, and my old parrots generally did about once or twice a year.
As I figure it out, I’m due a molting soon.
It occurred to me, though, that I was just assuming that Senegal parrots molted, and I had no idea if they really did or not.
So, I decided to look into it.
So, do Senegal parrots molt?
Yes, Senegal parrots molt once or twice a year. The molting process will last a week or two, and you should notice fully formed feathers at the bottom of its enclosure. They are medium sized birds, so the molting is not as bad as other species, but it certainly happens.
Senegal parrots need to molt for a few reasons, which I will get into.
What you need to know, beforehand, is that they definitely do molt, and will do so once or twice a year.
It can be different depending on the bird and on the local climate.
Let’s look further into this.
How can you tell if a bird is molting?
Most parrots tend to shed their feathers once or twice a year, and Senegal parrots are no exception.
You can usually tell the bird is molting by looking at the bottom of their cage.
The feathers will fall, fully intact, down to the bottom of their cage.
They won’t be broken up in split in half—I’ll get into why that might be a problem later.
As I said, too, you should also be aware of what kind of molting cycle your bird will be on.
For Senegal parrots, you will notice molting usually quite early on, and they will molt once or twice a year.
They will lightly preen themselves during molting, though generally not more than they normally would.
So, you need to be on the lookout for a lot of loss of feathers, rather than what they are actually doing.
This is different for many species, though, so be sure to be aware of that.
It’s important to have a rough idea of when they should be molting.
What month do Senegal parrots molt?
It is going to depend on where you live.
For the most part, across the US, September, October and November are prime times for your Senegal parrot to start molting.
They will shed and regrow their feathers for the upcoming winter, and if your parrot sheds only once in the year, it is most likely to be during this period.
If they shed more than once, they will most likely molt at the beginning of spring, too.
This is when food is most abundant, so they are able to provide themselves with the added nutrition needed to molt and regrow feathers.
If you live somewhere where the seasons are flipped, then you can follow the pattern of seasons, rather than months.
They should molt before winter and at the beginning of spring.
At what age they molt is the next big and important question.
At what age do Senegal parrots molt?
It depends, and will vary a great deal depending on the individual birds.
Sometimes, Senegal parrots can molt after their first few months of life.
As a good rule of thumb, the smaller the bird is, the earlier it will molt.
Smaller parrots can molt within their first few weeks, and larger parrots, like African greys, may not molt until they are almost a year old.
Senegal parrots, as medium sized birds, can vary quite a lot.
Generally, though, you should expect to see molting within the first six months.
It depends, too, on when the bird was born.
It’s more likely to shed earlier if it is getting colder.
They may also not shed until they are around ten months old, depending on the circumstances.
Knowing what to look for is the important thing in this case, then.
How do I know if my parrot is molting or plucking?
So, as I’ve touched on, molting is entirely normal, but it’s always important that you are certain it is molting.
Stressed out Senegal parrots, and indeed other species, will very often engage in self-destructive behavior, such as plucking out their feathers.
As I said, you’ll know their molting if the feathers they’re losing are fully formed.
They are not broken, or snapped, or worse, blood-stained.
If the feathers are broken in half, if they seem to have been severely ruffled and nipped at, either at the shaft or the tips, then this could indicate they are plucking.
If the feathers look chewed up, or splintered, then there is most likely some destructive behavior going on here.
You should consult a vet as soon as you can in this case, as it’s not always easy to know what the problem is—especially if you are inexperienced.
Always take careful stock of any feathers your Senegal parrot is losing.
Molting is a natural behavior, but you should always be aware of the possibility that they are in fact plucking or damaging their own feathers for behavioral reasons.
In any case, molting for Senegal parrots should occur once or twice a year, and in that time, you’re going to be cleaning up a fair number of feathers!
As I said, though, they are smaller than other species, so it shouldn’t be such a big issue.