Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moult: Dietary Requirements by Jeffrey Low

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:07 pm Post subject:



Feathers account for more than 20% of the bird’s structural protein hence the importance of providing sufficient protein intake during the molt. Amino acids are the basic structure of proteins and the 2 sulphur containing amino acids methionine and cysteine are very important for the proper formation and development of the feathers. We sometimes see shamas with horizontal stress bars on their primary tails. This is most probably due to deficiency in methionine during the molt. Insects are important sources of sulphur containing amino acids for insectivorous birds. Other sources rich in these are eggs, fish and meat.

Molting is very demanding on the bird, probably second only to egg laying. There is also an increase in other dietary requirements besides proteins. There is a drop in blood calcium level during molting. Vitamins should also be supplemented during this period of stress.

It had been documented that medication during the molt can adversely affect the growth and development of new feathers. One example is the anthelmintics (dewormer), fenbenzadole, which can damage feathers if given during the molt. It is best not to medicate the bird during this period.


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