Please help me not starve my parrot

A Blue Front Amazon Parrot
Read in 23 minutes


I’m particularly interested in your take on his molting, as well as what interesting pellet style food might be of interest for him to eat, for his species and size, too.



Elizabeth, Dollar’s Mum


P.S. I love your videos, and learned a lot from them–thank you!!

Mitch replies

Kudos on keeping Dollar flighted. Generally speaking Amazons don’t molt a lot but when they do it can be a short period of time like weeks or an elongated period  of time as in months.


African grays have a more unique molting situation where they can go on for 18 to 24 months.


As for the amount of feathers he is losing I wouldn’t be concerned the bird probably has 5000 to 8000 feathers on his body.


Editor’s note: birds always molt symmetrically – loose a feather on the left wing the next feather to go is on the right wing.


I like that you using the avian lamp and the 12 hour light cycle.


I’m concerned about the kitchen light stays on for an additional three hours. That may be sending the wrong signals to Dollar.


Are you covering his cage?


The thing with molting and our inability to predict molting for our pet birds is because of the erratic North American light cycles. Birds decide when to molt based upon their circadian rhythms.


Their circadian rhythms are controlled by something called the pineal gland. The information the pineal gland receives is the quality and cycle of light i’ts perceiving.


Melatonin cells in the gland vibrate like little metronomes that actually keep time more accurate than a Rolex.


Without true equatorial 12 hours on 12 hours off of sunlight there will be confusion in the birds mind.


The other issue is especially in the winter you gonna want to make sure the Dollar gets bathed on a regular basis.

Amazons like Hyacinth macaws are one of the few parrot species that lack a uropygial gland producing a preening goo that most birds apply to their feathers throughout the day to keep them moist.


Lacking this particular avian system, Dollar really needs to get wet a couple of times a week


“I am surprised that you suggest cutting out people food entirely; I’m afraid to make him go cold turkey, being he’ll get angry and bite, while dive bombing our heads”.


Your bird weighs around 400 grams. What you’re saying is you have no control over an animal that ways a little less than a pound.


I would strongly advocate that you begin clicker training with Dollar at this time his age has no relevance to his ability to receive a positive benefit from this type of training.



Because he is eating with you doesn’t necessarily mean that he has to eat what you eat.


Finding alternative foods is not just a matter of trying this pellet or that. Watching this video you see that we use five or more types of bird food and one mix for our Senegal.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.