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    How to Promote Healthy Feather Growth in Birds

    ArticleBird AdviceTuesday 28 June 2011
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    No matter what your bird is, all birds require care for their feathers to make sure they don’t fall out, stay healthy and stay attractive. Birds possess several different types of feathers on different parts of their bodies. Contour feathers, for example provide protection from injury and are identified as body feathers or flight feathers, located at the wings and tail. Beneath the contour feathers are the down feathers. Down feathers are fluffy and protect the bird from the heat and cold. The blood flow within feathers subsides as the feather ages. These developing feathers are called "blood feathers." Most problematic feather-loss issues involve these blood feathers.


    If your bird is showing evidence of lots of unusual feather loss (some is normal) there are a few potential reasons for this. Take your bird to the vets to determine which it is.
    For example, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, or PBFD, is a fatal disease affecting parrots, cockatoos, lovebirds and other species. Feather loss is a symptom of PBFD, as the disease attacks the follicles and renders them unable to produce feathers.

     Make sure your bird has a healthy environment. During winter, don’t expose your bird to central heating as this can lead to dehydration of a bird’s skin, in turn leading to itching and scratching that finally leads to feather loss.

     Ensure your bird is undergoing no psychological issues. If a bird is depressed it will pluck its feathers and if a feather is plucked enough, the follicle can become damaged meaning it will no longer produce feathers. Psychological issues in birds can come from a depressing environment or a cage that is too small, or even a lack of important socialisation.

    Groom the bird often. Keeping the nails short prevents serious follicle damage if the bird itches. Misting the bird's entire body also provides an enjoyable, moistening experience, particularly when the bird undergoes routine moulting.

    Feather growth can be artificially stimulated by making sure your bird has the right exposure to sunlight. If natural light is unavailable, exposing your bird to artificial UVA and UVB lighting facilitates feather growth. It is also important to turn off the lights during the night. Patterns closely monitoring that of a natural day is the key to stimulating feathers through light monitoring.

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