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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7621
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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She lost her ability to fly about 2 years ago she lives in a

Customer Question

she lost her ability to fly about 2 years ago she lives in a large cage with 4 other parakeets and falls to the bottom of the cage now and again
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the bird?
Customer: it seems one of her falls has hurt her foot and she is favoring it and having a hard time getting around in the cage. we put her in a much smaller cage by herself and have tried to put the perches as low as they can go - we were thinking about lining the bottom with a towel or something soft
JA: What is the bird's name?
Customer: Nova - female, approx 4 years old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Nova?
Customer: other than her wing not allowing her to fly, she has been in great spirits the last few years, and always seems to get around the cage just fine by crawling, climbing the walls or using the many rope perches we have (like an in-cage highway) it is obvious now though, that she is hurt and not able to put weight on the leg
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 1 year ago.

Very good idea to lower the perches and use a towel, but be sure it's not a terrycloth type so her little toes don't get tangled or stuck in the looping

My biggest concern is that this is a very young bird to be having these symptoms. If you've been feeding her a seed diet you might be looking at hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), internal tumor or even heart issues among other conditions associated with birds on a high fat diet without the means of burning off the calories. In the wild they can eat seeds, although that's not all they eat, and then they burn it off by flying just about constantly every day from dawn 'til dusk. Birds in our homes don't have that opportunity. They're just not going to be chalking up miles of flight time in a house (or cage)

The leg involvement by the way, may not be from injury at all; inability to balance or grasp with one or both legs and feet are also a symptom of health complications due to fatty liver, tumor, etc

Another common condition seen with symptoms like this is hypovitaminosis A (very low vitamin A levels) and again, seed diet

Try this: Offer ½ spoon of all natural, organic baby food (squash, yams, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables) which many birds take readily; also try some pabulum or baby rice cereal and a few licks of natural (no artificial anything) yogurt. You might see an improvement in a matter of hours and even more if you an convert your little one to a good pellet diet and keep pushing the fresh foods.

Beet greens, Beets, Carrots, Carrot Tops, Chard, Mustard Greens, Spinach, every kind of Pepper (birds are not affected by the capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers hot) just go through your produce aisle and look for dark greens and orange colors.
It’s fun to soak some big leaves of Kale and tuck them all through the cage. The bird may use them as a washcloth while nibbling away.
You can serve veggies raw, chopped, sliced, diced, steamed, boiled, baked or sautéed in a bit of olive oil - be creative.
-- Just because they don’t like something one day doesn’t mean they won’t get used to it at some point in the future.
TRICK: Get a couple jars of human baby food like sweet potatoes, squash, etc.. Many birds will sample this more readily than the actual vegetables at first. As long as you’re sticking with all natural and preferably organic types - it doesn’t matter how they eat it as long as they do.

It's also pretty vital to get her to a vet who knows birds. I'm confident that she doesn't need to live like this and it's something that can be treated.

If you think there's no avian vet nearby, go to Pet Smart. Their Banfield clinic has an avian experienced vet on staff. Call Pet Co and ask for their list of 'bird vets' - they happily share! Call ANY regular vet in town and ask them who they refer bird patients to. Call any breeder in town and ask who they use.

Chances are you have about 2 or 3 of them not too far away.

Good luck and please let me know how you make out ok?