Falcon Feather Problems During Moulting

Falcons undergo a yearly moult, and they shed their feathers to allow new feathers to grow. The process is one of the most critical times during a falcon’s life cycle; successful moulting is essential for optimal performance. During moulting season falcons’ feathers can become compromised with parasites or injury, which can significantly impact the process. Understanding common feather issues and learning how to prevent and treat them if they arise can help your falcon have a successful moult.

Lice or Mites

Feather lice and mites are common parasites that may affect hunting falcons during the moulting season. They can cause itching and irritation and may lead to feather damage or loss.


In some cases, falcons may develop abnormal feathers during the moulting season. This can include feathers that are malformed, misshapen, or discoloured. These abnormalities can be caused by nutritional deficiencies or the use of some medications.

Picking or Plucking

Some falcons may habitually pick or pluck at their feathers, resulting in loss or damage. This behaviour can be caused by stress or other factors.

Damage or Breakage

During the moulting season, falcons may be more prone to feather damage or breakage due to the stress of growing new feathers. This can result in jagged, frayed, or broken feathers, impacting the falcon’s ability to fly or hunt.


Feather cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the feather follicles of hunting falcons during the moulting season. They can cause discomfort and pain and, if left untreated, can lead to feather loss and infection.

Shaft Damage

The shaft of a feather can become damaged or deformed during the moulting season, which will impact the overall strength and quality of the feather.

Feather Loss

As old feathers are shed and new ones grow, falcons may experience temporary feather loss. However, excessive feather loss can indicate a health problem or underlying issue.

Feather Bleaching

This occurs when the pigment in the feathers fades, causing them to appear lighter or white. Feather bleaching can be caused by excessive exposure to sunlight, poor nutrition, or other factors.

Appropriate housing conditions can help prevent many feather problems in hunting falcons. If you notice any abnormalities or issues with your falcon’s feathers, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian.

Reward your best friend

Sign up to our newsletter for your chance to win a $50 Vetafarm voucher!

    No thanks, I'll pass