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Caring for a Molting Canary

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: November 7, 2016
Caring for a Molting Canary

We will never get tired of repeating that any pet that you decide to take into your home is going to need your time and care. Your pet should undergo regular veterinary checks, as its health and well-being should be assessed by the corresponding professional.

Birds are no exception. Even though they are not comparable in nature to cats or dogs, the fact is that they need lots of care. Furthermore, that care needs to be adapted to each of the bird's particular life stages, as they have different requirements in each one.

In this AnimalWised article we will talk about caring for a molting canary - after all, the molt is a process that you, as an owner, should monitor closely.

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The canary's molt

Canaries' feathers are derivative structures of the skin, but biologically speaking they are dead. This means that they don't require a blood supply, but for that same reason they don't have the ability to regenerate. This is why the molt is a very important physiological process: It renews these structures that are so important to the life and development of the bird.

The hours of sunlight and heat have an impact on the canary's thyroid gland, which produces a rise in thyroid hormones in the blood. These are the biological trigger for the start of the molting period. The molt will first be observed in the wings, followed by a shedding of the tail feathers and finally a massive molt in the chest, back and head.

In the case of canaries, their first molt will not entail the shedding of all feathers. Those in the tail, wings and other areas necessary for flight will stay intact.

Caring for a Molting Canary - The canary's molt

How long does a canary's molting period last?

As mentioned previously, the elevated levels of thyroxine - responsible for the onset of the molt - are due to an increase in heat and sunlight hours. This is because the feathers then become less necessary owing to the temperature and abundance of available food.

The canary's molting period starts around the beginning of the summer and will last from 1 to 3 months - 2 months is the most common length. However, molting is a very stressful process for any bird, and the degree of stress will directly influence the duration of this physiological process.

Diet during the molting period

The canary's diet plays a very important role in the molting process, since optimal nutrition will be essential in achieving a durable, shiny and beautiful plumage.

The most important nutrient during the canary's molting period is protein, since it helps to generate new structures and synthesize large amounts of collagen. In order to meet the canary's protein requirements during this period, you should turn to two elements of great importance for its diet:

  • Nestling food
  • Protein-rich seeds, which should comprise 35% of the diet

In addition to proteins, as you'll see below, the canary will also need an extraordinary intake of micronutrients, that is, of vitamins and minerals.

Here you can learn more about what is the best diet for a canary.

Caring for a Molting Canary - Diet during the molting period

Nutrient and vitamin supplements for molting canaries

The molting process should be supported by a vitamin complex that also incorporates minerals. You should choose a product that's specifically designed for the canary's molting period and follow the recommended dosage for each case.

Finally, you should maximize caring for your canary during this period, since its stress levels will rise and this usually leads to a reduction in its defense system.

By following the proper steps you will guarantee a healthy molt. Your canary might stop singing during this period, but that should not be a cause for concern in any case, as it comes down to the low levels of testosterone during this process.

Caring for a Molting Canary - Nutrient and vitamin supplements for molting canaries

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for a Molting Canary, we recommend you visit our Skin care category.

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1 comment
Suheir Khoury
I have a male canary who never stopped singing since I bought it 6 months ago. I have observed that he wasn't singing at all for the last three days. What could be the cause?
Matthew Nesbitt (AnimalWised editor)
Hi Suheir,

If you have only had him for 6 months, then it is possible you are experiencing his first molt. This is a process which takes it out of your bird, so they often stop singing until it is finished. Is your bird also losing feathers?

If you don't think this is the case, then you should check out this article to see some other possibilities:

https://www.animalwised.com/why-has-my-canary-stopped-singing-306.html

As always, if you are at all unsure, then take them to the vet.

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