Monday, July 1, 2013


I was recently asked about a matter relating to moulting shamas.  Below is my reply:

Hi ___________,

Your shama seems to be molting well.  It’s still too early to know if the bird will have prawn tails as the secondary tail feathers hold up the primary feathers (the 2 longest tails) and prevent them from curving downwards.

I notice from the photos that the bird is fed dry-food in a cup with insects on the floor.  When I do this, the bird tends to eat the insects and neglect the dry food.   This is not desirable, as I have found that feeding the molting shama only live food often does not result in a good molt.  The reason is that we only have crickets and mealworms and perhaps pineapple beetles and these do not provide sufficient variety of nutrition to ensure that the bird gets all the nourishment it needs for the molt.  My experience is that the molting shama also needs to eat dry food as well as insects and small fish (or frogs) if it is to have a good molt.

My practice nowadays in feeding molting shamas is to mix cut insects with the powdered dry-food.  This is how I do it:

(1)          Put crickets, mealworms and pineapple beetles in a container. An empty 3-Coins container will do but a higher container is better to prevent the crickets from jumping out;

(2)          Partly cover the top of the container with a hand and cut the insects with a scissors.  Don’t cut the insects too small as they become very wet if you do so.  Shamas do not like food that is wet;

(3)          Add palm oil or some other oil (such as omega 3) to the cut – insects.  Do not put too much oil.  You will know if you have added too much as the bird will tend to eat less of the food;

(4)          Then add powdered multi-vitamins with a high concentration of vitamin B. For my powdered multi-vitamins and vitamin B, I use a brand named, “From Fatigued to Fantastic”.  It can be purchased from

(5)          Add powdered dry-food.  The oil that is applied on the insects will help the dry food to stick to them.

(6)          Change the food twice a day.

(7)          Check the droppings to ensure that the bird is eating both the dry food and the cut insects.

The molting shama should also be kept in an environment where it can molt in peace.  We don’t want the shama to get excited during this period.  If the shama gets excited, testosterone will be released into its blood stream and this will have an adverse impact on the molt.

The cage of the molting shama be partially covered with a cloth.  It should be kept in the same part of the house and the cage should only be moved for bathing.

It should be bathed at least once a day.  If possible, use rain-water for bathing the bird as tap water contains clorine which is detrimental for the feathers.

Do not place the caged bird in the sun after bathing as the tail feathers will tend to curve upwards if you do so.

Best regards,


1 comment:

  1. hi david,

    I was wondering which flavor of "From fatigued to Fantastic" kind do you use. There is also a capsule type...i just want to get the right kind. I couldn't get my hands on 3 coins, instead i have Mazuri pellets. Should I train my birds to eat powder form instead (by ground them with a coffee grinder)?? I also recalled a post about how people refer pellets over powder form since it would not cloud the water. The reason that I asked for your advice is because I noticed that my birds don't eat all the pellets that they grab and a good amount of it slipped off the beak and fall down to the ground. Thank you kindly for sharing your method. I want to try it out since my birds are molting at this time.


    Phuc Do