Birds molt their feathers just like dogs and cats shed their hair.
Feathers can be molted at any time of the year, but normally they will have a heavy molt once or twice a year. The rest of the time we will still see feathers dropped, but nowhere near as much as during their heavy molts.
Every feather will not be replaced during a molt although as you sweep up several feathers every day, you might think your bird should be bald.
Many birds don't seem bothered at all with their feather loss and will carry on eating, playing and sleeping normally but some birds seem to lose a bit of energy and could use some foods with extra protein to help them through it. For the smaller birds (canaries, finches, budgies and cockatiels) you can often find molting food or stress food in the stores that might help. If your bird is not receiving proper nutrition, the molt will last longer than normal.
The time to complete a molt will vary from species to species and from bird to bird. The larger birds can take a few months to complete their molt whereas the smaller birds may only take a few weeks.
You should never see any bald spots during a molt although some birds may look a bit scruffy. The feathers do not fall out until a new feather is ready to start poking out. What you will see are the sharp points of the new feathers that are coated in a sheath that will break into a powder when rubbed.
Many birds love to have the sharp sheaths rubbed to help it break open, especially on their heads where they can not reach themselves. Be sure to rub gently though as the new feathers are often quite sensitive. Frequent bathing helps to soften and break the sheaths open, as well as washing the feather dust down the drain.
How does your bird handle the molt? Lets talk about it in the forum.