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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 2632
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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Fledgling cockatiel suddenly lost the use of legs. Saw

Customer Question

Fledgling cockatiel suddenly lost the use of legs. Saw mother was no longer feeding so started hand feeding. Saw improvement right away with alertness etc. Seeing small but steady improvements in ability to use legs and mother is now feeding. but this morning found second bird with same problem, altho this bird is more active and alert. can't goto vet as their are no Avian Vets closer than a 200 mile trip. I have now started hand feeding of all birds of this clutch. Mother is an experienced hen raising 3 previous clutches with now problem.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Bird
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
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Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.


I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just logged on and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in birds. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. Do you still need help? If so, some additional information will be useful.

What are you feeding the fledglings - brand names, etc.? do they get anything else?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Bird is now dead
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.

I'm so sorry to hear that.

I'm going to give you some information for future reference. There are two common causes of problems like this. Often when a mother bird stops feeding babies, it's because she instinctively knows something is wrong with those babies. There are a number of genetic disorders that can cause this sort of thing. In nature, the parents stop feeding such babies and concentrate on caring for the healthy ones. It's a waste of their energy and food resources to continue to feed a baby that isn't going to survive.

The other common cause of losing the use of legs is a nutritional deficiency. Most often, it is a lack of vitamin E and/or selenium. If vitamin E is given soon enough, it can reverse the condition. Once symptoms develop, the deficiency usually can't be remedied. If you want to, take a vitamin E capsule made for humans, puncture the capsule with a pin, and squeeze a little onto the bird's food.

I hope you won't have to deal with this condition again. Let me know if you have further questions.