Why and When Do Pigeons Molt? (Timing is Everything 2024)

Molting is a very important process during the growth and development of pigeons, who are interesting birds. But when do pigeons molt?

Molting is a cyclic event that occurs once per year; pigeons need to preserve the quality of their feathers as well as proper health.

This article will provide an in-depth analysis on when pigeons molt, what leads to molting and how it impacts the behavior of these birds.

If you are a birder or interested in these gracious birds, read on to know how they molt and can pigeons kept with parrots.

What are Pigeons Molting?

Pigeon molting occurs as the old feathers of pigeons are replaced with new, stronger ones and during that period sometimes birds won’t eat.

This transition is integral to their overall health and quality of life because feathers are central in various aspects of a pigeon’s existence.

Feathers provide pigeons with warmth, efficient flight capacities and a healthy look.

They also act as insulation, keep the pigeon safe from weather changes and support courtship displays.

When molting take place, pigeons lose their feathers in sequence and develop new ones. New feathers are usually grown in the same way as old ones fall out, from head to tail.

For this process to take place, it may range from weeks to months depending on the age and state of health in a pigeon.

When Do Pigeons Molt?

Pigeons are molting annually, usually in spring and autumn. The time of molting can be affected by a number of variables including age, health and environmental factors.

Overall, young pigeons will shed more often than when they grow older. The environmental factor such as temperature, day time length and availability of food also plays a role in development timing of molting.

However, pigeons molt during warm seasons and have sufficient food to meet their energetic needs otherwise birds panting occur.

This ensures that they have a full set of strong, healthy feathers when they need to fly and forage for food.

How do I Know If My Pigeon is Molting?

Several signs indicate a bird is molting:

Missing Feathers

During molting, birds shed their old feathers and grow new ones. You may notice patches of missing feathers on the bird’s body or wings and that’s the same case in budgie’s molt.

New Feather Growth

Look for signs of new feather growth, such as tiny pin feathers or feathers that are still covered in a protective sheath.

Increased Preening

Birds spend more time preening during molting as they try to maintain their feather quality and keep their new feathers in good condition.

Changes in Behavior

Molting birds may become more lethargic or less active as they focus their energy on feather growth.

Increased Feather Dust

Molting birds produce more feather dust, which can accumulate around the bird’s perch or nesting area.

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When Do Pigeons Molt

How Many Times Does an Indoor Pigeon Molt in a Year?

The two main molting seasons for indoor pigeons are in the spring and autumn. Molting usually occurs twice a year.

Pigeons replace and lose their old feathers during a process called molting, which makes room for new ones to grow in.

They can adjust to seasonal changes and retain good plumage thanks to this natural cycle.

Remember that each pigeon has a unique molting pattern, and that the frequency and severity of molting may be influenced by a variety of factors, including nutrition, health, and environmental circumstances.

What are the Stages of Molting?

The stages of molting in pigeons can be described as follows:

Preparatory Stage

During this stage, the pigeon’s body starts to prepare for the molt by reducing its hormone levels and slowing down the production of new feathers.

The pigeon may also decrease its food intake and stop laying eggs.

Active Stage

During this stage, the pigeon will begin to shed its old feathers and grow new ones.

The feathers will start to loosen at the roots and eventually fall out, allowing new feathers to grow in their place. This stage can last several weeks and may cause some discomfort for the pigeon.

Resting Stage

After the active stage, the pigeon will enter a resting stage where it will stop losing feathers and allow its new feathers to harden.

In this case birds love to sleep in the corners and feel protective. During this stage, the pigeon will start to regain its normal activity levels and increase its food intake.

Regrowth Stage

During this stage, the pigeon’s new feathers will fully develop and replace the old feathers. The pigeon will regain its full feather coverage and return to normal behavior.

What do You Feed Pigeons When Molting?

During the molting process, it’s important to provide pigeons with a balanced and nutritious diet to support their health and feather growth.

Some recommended foods for pigeons during molting include:

High-quality Pellets

A balanced and nutritious diet should include high-quality pellet feed, which provides pigeons with the necessary nutrients they need for healthy feather growth.


Grains such as barley, oats, and wheat can be offered to pigeons as a supplement to their regular diet.


Offer a variety of dark, leafy greens such as parsley, lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as carrots, squash, and other root vegetables.


Offer small amounts of fresh or dried fruit as a treat, such as apples, berries, or grapes.


Offer small amounts of protein-rich foods, such as boiled eggs or mealworms, to help support feather growth.

Also Check: Are Budgies Smarter Than Dogs?

What are the Benefits of Molting?

Pigeons gain a variety of advantages from the process of molting, which involves feather loss and regrowth. Among these advantages are:

Feather Renewal

Molting aids in the replacement of old, worn-out feathers with fresh, healthy ones. The bird’s overall appearance and flying prowess are enhanced as a result.

Better Insulation

Pigeons can regulate their body temperature and keep themselves healthy in a variety of weather circumstances thanks to new feathers’ improved insulating qualities.

Better Feather Efficiency

Young pigeons have stronger, more durable feathers that help them defend themselves against predators and increase their chance of survival.

Improved Adaptability

By renewing feathers that may have grown worn-out or damaged, molting enables pigeons to adapt to changes in their environment. They can maintain their health and growth as a result.

Is Molting Painful for Pigeons?

Molting for pigeons is not usually considered painful but it can be a rather uncomfortable and stressful process.

Molting takes place in which the old feathers are shed, while new feathers grow and some discomfort may occur because of stretching skin during this part.

Secondly, birds suffer some stress as their bodies undergo hormonal changes and while normal routines such as feeding or preening get disturbed.

But these discomforts are not usually termed as painful the same way that physical injury or disease would be uncomfortable for a bird and leads to sudden deaths.

Conclusion: Molting in Pigeons

Molting in pigeons occurs annually, during the late summer or early fall. Molting is a critical process for pigeons because it rejuvenates and stimulates growth of their feathers.

The stages of molting in the pigeons are the preparatory, active phase, resting stage and regrowth.

To support pigeons through this process, the provision of a well-balanced nutritious diet and minimizing environmental stressors should be provided.

It can be said that understanding the process of molting and how to support pigeons during this period will ensure their good health and activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when a pigeon molts?

A pigeon’s natural process of developing new feathers and losing old ones is known as moulting. In order to keep the bird’s plumage healthy, let it to adjust to seasonal variations, and guarantee optimal flying ability, this renewal is essential.

During which month do most birds molt?

Most birds, including pigeons, commonly molt during August. This seasonal shedding of old feathers and regrowth helps birds adapt to environmental changes. Observing molting patterns contributes to understanding avian behavior and the natural rhythms of the animal kingdom.

Do pigeons molt in summer?

Yes, pigeons typically molt in summer. This natural process involves shedding old feathers and growing new ones, helping them adapt to seasonal changes. Summer molting is crucial for maintaining healthy plumage and optimal flight capabilities in pigeons.

Do baby pigeons molt?

Baby pigeons, or squabs, undergo a gradual feather replacement process known as “preening” rather than molting. They develop adult feathers over several weeks, and the process is less noticeable than the distinct molting of adult pigeons.

Why is my pigeon losing feathers?

Your pigeon may be losing feathers due to several reasons, including molting, disease, stress, parasites, or poor diet. Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How do birds act when molting?

During molting, birds may decrease food intake, stop laying eggs, and experience some discomfort or stress. Their old feathers will shed and new feathers will grow.

What time of year do most birds molt?

Most birds molt at different times of the year, but many species typically molt in the late summer or early fall.

How long can a molt last?

A molt can last 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the species of bird and the number of feathers being shed and regrown.

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