Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spraddle Leg Parrotlet

Good morning, I have 3 babies that I have been hand feeding for about 2 1/2 weeks. This is my first time. They are all doing well except for one that I'm concerned about, maybe overly concerned. One of them his legs splay out to the sides as if it can't get it's legs under him to walk. The other 2 seem all right. Is this something to be concerned about or will it eventually learn to get them under him? I'm the only one that handles them and I have never dropped or squeezed so i don't understand. He eats very good like the others and doesn't seem to be in any pain. He can move it good and there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with either of the legs. thank you for your time. Patti Dear Patti: Thank you for your email. What you are describing is called ‘spraddle leg’ and it is something that is extremely serious as it severely handicaps the bird and it will be deformed for the rest of its life. It is almost always caused by not having enough porous nesting material in the nest box or in containers provided by the hand-feeder. It is for this reason that I have written in my 3 books as well as hundreds of articles on breeding parrotlets that it is vital to keep copious amounts of nesting material (and untreated wood shavings are the best – after all, it was what birds have been evolved to use for millions of years) in the nest box and replace it if the parents knock it out. Also, you must keep the chicks on these wood shavings in order to properly develop their hips, legs, feet and joints. I’m not sure if at this point this can be corrected but you will need to bring that bird into a vet immediately. Sometimes, if it is caught early enough, it can be treated by hobbling the legs together or placing them in certain kinds of restraints but it is simply better to avoid the problem all together by providing the correct amount and type of nesting material. But I would get that bird to a vet who specializes in birds immediately. If it cannot be corrected, the bird will be crippled and unable to walk for the rest of its life. Please let me know how this works out and best of luck. Sincerely yours, Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S. Secretary, International Parrotlet Society

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