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Your Cockatiels Health Ask questions about your cockatiels health here.

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  #1  
Old 03-01-2017, 04:52 PM
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I recently got my 'tiel only around a month ago (and he'll be turning 3 months tomorrow). He didn't come from a pet store, but instead a family owned store that sold hand-fed birds. He's a sweet little guy (the gender is unknown at the moment, but I'm guessing it to be a boy) and was one of the smaller 'tiels compared to her other clutches. However, upon bringing him home, the next day I noticed that he was slightly clumsy and if he climbed up the side of his cage too fast, he'd fall (since he's slightly clipped, but he can easily glide). I guessed that this was due to him being so young, but when I looked closer, I noticed his toes were curved inwards compared to other birds I've seen.

This hasn't seemed to effect him too much, for he can grip perches and sit in shoulders, but he will lose his footing when moving too fast on his perches or even when turning around on them (if he's unable to grab something for support like the side bars). I feel as though this slight disability is why he was also the runt (but I of course love him despite it).

In fear of him falling from too high and harming himself, I've made all the perches in his cage lower to the bottom, but I don't know what I can do to possibly get rid of the constant worry that it's causing me. I can't help fearing coming home to having found him bled out from his feet or his breast from having fell too hard/high. I took him to a vet, but she said that taping the feet and hoping they would fix as he developed, be she fears that he is too old and it may not work. She's also worried that he could develop sores on the sides of his feet. Is there anything that I can do to help this issue?

(As you can see in the pictures, he won't hold onto fingers normally and often will grip his toes around your knuckle, or will sit even more sideways on your finger. The way he's sitting in the first one is even the way he sits on perches since his toes seemed to curl sideways. Or he'll run and climb up onto your shoulder)
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2017, 05:30 PM
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This might be a permanent weakness in the toes caused by malnutrition in infancy. I'm not completely sure of specifically what causes it, but it might be a problem called curled toe paralysis, which is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in growing chicks. If it's treated when it first appears it can be cured, but if it's not treated right away there is permanent damage to the sciatic nerve, and giving vitamin B2 will not help at this point.
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Old 03-01-2017, 07:16 PM
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It may very well have been toe paralysis or another nutritional deficiency that developed from improper nutrition as a growing chick. I've seen this before along with malformed legs, wings, beaks, and so on, and it typically happens from either the parent birds neglecting a baby or not eating adequate nutrition to pass on to their babies, or the breeder either not feeding a quality baby bird formula and mixing their own formula, or the breeder not feeding nearly enough (this is very common, as a chick pulled between 2-3 weeks need to be fed every 2 hours)..
It can also result from a poor nest box flooring/shape or the baby being kept in an improper position, much like how splayed legs develop, but I doubt that if the bird was hand fed. Most likely a nutritional deficiency from weeks 2-5. That's such a shame, I'm so sorry for the little guy, he's very pretty...

At 3 months old there is nothing that can be done supplement-wise to correct his toes, though I would absolutely buy a high-quality vitamin/mineral supplement made especially for pet birds/parrots and be giving it to him on his food once daily (DO NOT USE THE LIQUID VITAMIN DROPS, AND NEVER PUT ANY SUPPLEMENT IN HIS WATER!!!) The liquid vitamin drops are not nearly as good as the powder vitamin/mineral supplements, and never ever put any in his water as #1 birds don't typically drink enough to get even near a full dose, and #2 a lot of birds stop drinking because the water tastes awful. They also make their water a bacterial magnet!

Qwiko makes a fantastic avian powder vitamin and mineral supplement that you dose one of the small, pre-med scoops in the birds seeds or pellets every time you fill up their bowl. Petco sells it along with Qwiko powder probiotics. I think the vitamins cost $5.99 and they last forever. I would also try to get him to eat as many fresh veggies as you can each day, and also a large variety of fresh veggies each day. The vitamin supplement acts only as a backup to the bird getting his daily nutrition from a high quality pellet and lots of fresh veggies. I'd be very diligent about this for at least his first year or so of life, as he has obviously been deprived of proper nutrition since birth.

While supplementation won't help straighten his toes out at this point, taping them might help a bit. He isn't quite fully grown at 3 months so there's a chance it may help a bit, but it's not going to make a huge impact at this point. Just like splayed leg has to start being corrected at just weeks old to influence the direction of bone growth, so does this. If you did decide to tape his toes/feet you would have to have a very strict schedule of removing the old tape and replacing it/repositioning it many times a day to prevent pressure sores, infection, etc.

I think I would just concentrate on modifying the world around him to make his life and mobility easier and less stressful.

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  #4  
Old 03-01-2017, 09:55 PM
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Is he currently eating pellets, and if he is, how big a percentage of the diet are they? When pellets are a big percentage of the diet, you should not use supplemental vitamins in addition to the pellets. The pellets are formulated to contain enough vitamins and minerals, and adding more on top of this can lead to toxicity issues.

If he's eating a lot of pellets already and you'd like to increase his vitamin/mineral intake, you can use a high potency pellet - Harrisons makes one. The nutritional content of their high potency pellet is quite similar to their handfeeding formula. In an older bird I would be concerned about the high percentage of fat, but your bird is still young and can handle it better.

I've got some charts at http://www.littlefeatheredbuddies.co....html#analysis comparing the nutritional content of several pellet brands, including Harrisons Lifetime (the regular formula) and their high potency formula.

If he's NOT already eating pellets, you might want to try Nutriberries (assuming that you're in the US or Canada where they're easily available). They're nutritionally equivalent to pellets, but they look like seed balls. So it's usually easier to convince birds to eat them than it is with regular pellets. They don't have a high potency formula, but if he's not eating pellets already they will still be an improvement on his current diet.
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:10 AM
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I think you should take him to an avian vet to make sure he has no other deformities and see if they have ways of straightening and strengthening the toes. Good lucky with you baby
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:39 AM
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The woman I bought him from claims he has never been fed any seed before, and I have kept that at my home. He is fed a mixture of pellets, plain Cherrios, dried fruits (though he rarely eats these unless I hold them and break them into smaller pieces) and very few slithered almonds. The pellets make up a majority of the mixture. This is the exact diet that he was fed at her store, and she had also given us other recipes of hers such as muffins filled with vegetables (but he doesn't really eat vegetables). I've tried feeding him vegetables, but he'll either eat very little or none at all. I'm not sure what type of formula she used, or anything like that. The weirdest part about this is the fact that she said that she spoiled the bird and it was out all the time, but I wonder how she could have missed this foot issue if he'd been out that much.
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Old 03-03-2017, 04:48 PM
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Some additional information about this bird:
Quote:
I also forgot to mention in my previous post that when I meant runty, he currently weighs only 64 grams (since the avian vet wants to make sure he's gaining weight). Is that too low of a weight? The vet said he should gain weight each week, but is that true? He's stayed at 64 for a few weeks now
64 grams is pretty small for a cockatiel, but at his current age he has mostly stopped growing. He'll continue to fill out somewhat for a few more months, but I wouldn't necessarily expect him to be gaining weight every week. Did the vet check the appropriateness of his weight by feeling around the keel bone, or did he just look at the number on the scale and say "that's too low"? 64 grams could be the perfect weight for a bird that has a smaller body than average. Feeling the keel bone is the only way to really tell whether a bird is too thin, too fat, or just right.

If this bird has a smaller body than average, this information plus the toe problem makes me think that he had some kind of problem as a baby that stunted his growth and temporarily interfered with his ability to absorb nutrients. It could have been just a bad diet, or if could have been a crop infection or some kind of illness.

Do you know whether the store owner owns his parents, or could she have gotten him from someone else who didn't feed the parents a very good diet? I would assume that she feeds her own birds pellets, since she weaned him onto pellets. But if she got him from another breeder, the parents could have been eating an all-seed diet.

Cockatiels generally don't like fruit, and they don't need it. Vegetables are more nutritious than fruit, and fruit is a lot higher in sugar. I have an article on fruit here: http://www.littlefeatheredbuddies.co...ion-fruit.html Try hanging up some leafy green vegetables in the cage, so it looks sort of like a plant is growing there. Cockatiels often like vegetables that are served foraging style better than vegetables in a dish.

Cockatiels don't need Cheerios either. Human breakfast cereals are often fortified for humans, which means they have too much iron and zinc for birds.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:11 PM
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The avian vet that I visited did not check. All she did was look at a weight chart and told me that he was underweight and that I needed to get a scale to weigh him. (Which I ordered that same day). Since he was going in for a health check-up all the vet did was trim his toenails, look at his toes, and answer any questions that we had. She recommended that we remove the almonds as well, but I still add a few as a treat.

And regarding the parents, I asked for a picture to see them, (since I was curious to see what they looked like since I found Enzo just gorgeous I thought they'd be too), but she didn't send one and claimed that they were busy with a clutch currently and she didn't want to disturb them. This seemed like a VERY strange reply to me, but I'd already purchased Enzo from her by this point. The woman claims all the birds are fed the same diet Enzo is, so that's all the info I can give you. And from all the birds I saw, they all had good sized cages, fresh vegetables and fruit, and they all looked healthy.

Guess if I ever bred my little Enzo, the babies would be quite the surprise appearance wise. Haha. Although, due to his disability and small size, I likely won't breed him in order to not impact the babies health. Especially since I have absolutely no experience. The woman says that he is a Cinnamon Pearl, but I'm unsure about the Cinnamon part since when I looked up Cinnamon Cockatiels, some said they were lighter while others claimed them to be a darker, almost brown color. Then again, it's likely too early to tell such things.

Here's the name of the place I bought him from. They're located in Ohio. Have you ever heard of them before? Or ever read reviews?
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:16 PM
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It's unlikely that he could mate successfully with his foot problems. I know you don't actually know the gender yet. But the cock needs to be able to grip the hen's back with his feet, and the hen needs to grip the perch with her feet. It takes foot strength to get the deed done right. BTW he does NOT look cinnamon at all. I've heard that dark cinnamons exist but I've never seen one.

I've never heard of the place before, but they have a website here: http://www.bakersnestaviary.net/ They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bakersnestaviary/

It looks like a nice place and they say the right things on their website. There's no way to be sure about what's really going on of course. It does seem like something went wrong with your little guy, since he's undersized and his feet don't work right, and they should have been aware of this.

For all we know, the storekeepers might have had a heroic struggle to keep him alive against terrible odds. But it would have been nice for them to tell you about it before you bought him. But no matter what happened, he's a sweet little bird who needs a good home, and you get to be the person who gives it to him.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tielfan View Post
It's unlikely that he could mate successfully with his foot problems. I know you don't actually know the gender yet. But the cock needs to be able to grip the hen's back with his feet, and the hen needs to grip the perch with her feet. It takes foot strength to get the deed done right. BTW he does NOT look cinnamon at all. I've heard that dark cinnamons exist but I've never seen one.

I've never heard of the place before, but they have a website here: http://www.bakersnestaviary.net/ They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bakersnestaviary/

It looks like a nice place and they say the right things on their website. There's no way to be sure about what's really going on of course. It does seem like something went wrong with your little guy, since he's undersized and his feet don't work right, and they should have been aware of this.

For all we know, the storekeepers might have had a heroic struggle to keep him alive against terrible odds. But it would have been nice for them to tell you about it before you bought him. But no matter what happened, he's a sweet little bird who needs a good home, and you get to be the person who gives it to him.
That's very true. Thank you SO much for answering all the questions that I've asked.
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