If you own a budgie, then you know the joy that this little bird can bring to your life. There is nothing better than being greeted by a happy bird who is obviously excited to see you. Similar to other pets, you will get to know your little friend and you are going to notice when something is wrong.
That is why when I first saw small black dots appear on the head of my budgie seemingly overnight, I was terrified. I thought he had contracted some form of mold or fungus that was infecting him.
The good news is that this was not the case. Why do budgies develop small black dots on their head all of a sudden?
Your Budgie Is Molting
Your budgie molts on an annual basis and one of the first signs that you will notice is black dots on his or her head. This process will take between two and three weeks to complete.
Long Answer: The Annual Process of Molting
When I first saw small black dots start to show up on the head of my budgie, I immediately grabbed and took him to the vet. Then, the vet explained to me that my budgie was simply molting.
This is an annual process and involves the replacement of all of the feathers on his body, including his head. Did I feel embarrassed about taking my budgie to the vet for something that was completely normal? Yes.
On the other hand, I felt much better when I learned that this was something that happened all the time in her office. It turns out that lots of budgie owners are not familiar with this issue. That is why it is important for everyone who owns a budgie to know about molting!
The reason why budgies molt gradually is that if they lose all of their feathers at the same time, the result is that they will be unable to fly. In order for your budgie to both fly and stay warm, molting takes place gradually.
You should not see any bald patches on your budgie as this process unfolds. If you notice that your budgie has developed bald spots on his or her body during the process, then this is a sign of disease or stress. Your budgie needs to be taken to the vet.
As the budgie molting process takes place, you will notice small blacks dots on his or her head. This will give way to white, sharp stubs. These are usually pin-feathers. They will give the head of your budgie an odd appearance that looks like spikes. Don’t worry, as this is a process that will also fade with time.
Of course, the molting process is going to impact every feather on your budgie. Over time, the large feathers are going to collect at the bottom of the cage. Then, you will notice that the smaller feathers that look more like down are going to gradually drift across your furniture and floor.
These will be so light that they might be difficult to see and hard to clean up. I remember feeling like my feet were slipping and sliding on some unseen force. Did I suddenly lose my coordination? Was there a spill a missed somewhere? It turns out that the down feathers from my budgie were simply blending in with the tile floor in my kitchen.
I have found that both wet cloths and vacuum cleaners work well to remove them; however, I prefer wet cloths because my budgie doesn’t like the noise of my vacuum cleaner.
In general, the entire molting process is going to take around two to three weeks to complete. As the primary feathers, particularly the tail, start to fall out, your budgie is not going to feel confident in his or her ability to fly.
Therefore, give your budgie some space and let him or her sit on the perch. Your budgie likes to fly around the living room and this is simply a time for him or her to take a break and enjoy a quiet night in. In order to provide your budgie with help as this process unfolds, make sure that he or she has plenty of food.
There should be a mineral block available at all times as well. Provide grains and fresh veggies. These are all important ingredients that will help your budgie grow new feathers that will allow him or her to fly once again.
Common Problems Related to Budgie Molting
Now, there are a few times when your budgie might come to a stall in the molting process. There are a few reasons why this might happen; however, the two most common reasons include stress and malnutrition.
This is why it is important for you to make sure that your budgie has access to all of the required nutrients that he or she needs to fuel this process from start to finish.
If the molting process comes to a halt, you will notice that the head and neck region of your budgie is going to look completely barren. You might also notice that some of the new pin feathers have brown or black tips.
If you feel like your budgie is not molting the way that he or she should, then this is cause for concern. Remember that your budgie is supposed to molt gradually to make sure that there are no bald spots. If you see bald spots, then you should take your budgie to the vet.
A trained vet will know how to take a look at the molting process, diagnose something wrong, and provide you with a strong set of steps that will help you correct your budgie’s molting process.
There is also an unusual condition that is commonly called the French molt. In this case, your budgie will molt all of his or her feathers and they will not come back.
Obviously, this is going to get your attention and you might be wondering what to do. That is why it is important to understand your budgie’s behavior as the molting process takes place.
An Overview of Budgie Behavior While Molting
If you are watching your budgie molt for the first time, then you might be concerned. It is normal for budgies to shift their personalities as they molt. They tend to feel a sudden drop in energy and you might be worried that your budgie is in pain.
The good news is that the molting process does not lead to any change in their physical behavior; however, they will seem a bit more passive than usual.
During the molting process, your budgie will probably sit for long periods of time without saying or doing too much. Older budgies might even take this chance to get some extra sleep.
In some cases, your budgie might seem a bit jumpier than usual. The smallest bit of noise or movement might cause him or her to jump up and start squawking.
The reality is that your budgie is just a bit edgier than usual. He or she knows that the molting process could leave him or her vulnerable. This is why they might try and bite your hand during this time.
Therefore, just make sure that your budgie has plenty of space and let the molting process unfold.
If you find that your budgie does undergo a French molt, then you need to take him or her to see the vet. Without feathers, your budgie is going to get cold and will be unable to fly.
This is why a French molt is a cause for concern. Your vet will be able to let you know if there is anything you can or should do to support your budgie while the feathers come back in.
Symptoms of Budgie Stress
There are times when your budgie might be feeling a bit more stress than usual during the molting process. Some of the most common signs that your budgie is struggling include:
- Poo: If you find that your budgie unleashing lots of liquid poo, then he or she is feeling stressed. You need to take your budgie to the vet if this does not resolve during the next few hours.
- Loss of Appetite: In order for your budgie to complete the molting process, he or she needs to have plenty of food and water. If you find that your budgie is not eating, then this is another sign that something is wrong.
- Odd Swellings: Finally, if you find that your budgie has lumps on his or her skin once the feathers fade, then you need to have these addressed. This could be another sign that something is wrong with your budgie.
When your budgie is molting, he or she is vulnerable. While you need to give your budgie space to complete this process, you also need to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
Black dots on the head are signs of molting and this process will take a few weeks to finish.