Cockatiel Foot Problems

My 18-year-old male cockatiel spends much of the day sitting in one spot till I come home. He now has aching, red feet. The vet advised me to get “natural” as well as varied diameter perches. Will this be of assistance? In the meanwhile, what should I do? I place him in a warm dish of water for five minutes (all he will remain), and then I rub olive oil (as recommended by the bird shop) on his feet. But I’m scared he’ll get too oily. Do you have any recommendations? He is now limping and quite painful. This has made me quite angry. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

The foot troubles your cockatiel is suffering did not occur overnight, and it is probable that more than one reason is contributing to his condition. You didn’t say whether a vet examined your cockatiel or if you phoned the vet and got advise over the phone.

The first order of business is to bring your bird to a trained veterinarian as soon as possible for an evaluation and treatment. If possible, bring your bird’s cage with you to the vet. This will allow the veterinarian to inspect the environment in which the bird is kept. The vet will be able to provide recommendations based on what is witnessed rather than simply your description of the cage and setup. It is recommended that you take a sample of the food you are giving your cockatiel. Unless otherwise recommended by the veterinarian, discontinue all therapy until you have been appropriately counseled.

Replace the present perches with natural perches of varying diameters, as directed by your veterinarian. When gathering branches, ensure that they have not been treated with pesticides or chemicals and that they are free of rot and mildew. Sizes should be varied such that the feet grab nearly entirely around in the smallest region and practically flatten while standing on the biggest. Perching that is not cylindrical in form and is more uneven in shape will reduce pressure on any one portion of the foot. Maintain the cleanliness of perches. Perches that are faulty might worsen an already existing foot condition. When perches get clogged with excrement, eaten, or damaged, they should be replaced.

Perches should not be placed atop one other or above food and water containers. This includes overlapping perches in cage corners or any other location where excrement would be deposited from an upper perch to the perch or dish below. In the cage, sandpaper perch coverings should never be utilized. They have little influence on the length of the bird’s nails, but they may predispose a bird to foot issues.

Your cockatiel’s foot troubles might be caused by a nutritional deficit. Insufficient vitamin A is the most frequent vitamin deficit reported in pet birds. Hardening or callousing of the epithelial tissues, as well as roughness and scaling of the legs and feet, are common symptoms of vitamin A insufficiency. Yellow, orange, and dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A may be found in sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash, alfalfa sprouts, endive, kale, spinach, and dandelion greens. It should be mentioned that chronic vitamin A deficiency might lead to kidney damage. A bird may potentially get an overdose of vitamin A. Never add vitamins to a pelleted diet bird’s feed unless prescribed and overseen by a veterinarian.

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