Cherry-headed Conure "spells"

by Anne
(Western MA)

Hi... my 22-year-old female cherry headed conure, Oliver, has been having odd "spells" starting about a week ago. Her right leg/foot (always her right, never her left) suddenly doesn't work, with the claw curled. She stumbles and flaps and once fell off her play tree. It's happened about 5 times in the week, only once daily. When I grab her to keep her from falling, she seems to be able to move that leg, but not grip. Her wings seem fine. If I put her in her sleep cage (for safety) during this, she's unable to perch with the right leg for a few minutes, sometimes stumbling as she attempts to. Or she sits very quietly on my shoulder with only the left leg gripping. Then she seems to recover. She's quiet for a few minutes after an episode, sometimes with her beak open a little. Hard to tell if she's spacy or freaked out. Other than that, she's acting fine, like the little monster she is. The foot looks normal. Each "spell" seems to be getting shorter, but it's worrisome.

The episodes happen only when she's fallen asleep on her play tree in the evening, I've noticed, never during the day. Additionally, it only seems to happen when the lights in her room are out (the next room's lights are still on, making her room dim), not when her lights are on.

She's a bad eater, absolutely refusing anything other than seed, fruit, and table food. Many attempts at converting her to pellets have failed spectacularly. Her appetite is very good. She had a full work-up by an avian vet 10 months ago and was pronounced very healthy.

Can you help? Thank you so much!

Comments for Cherry-headed Conure "spells"

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 22, 2013
Bird with foot that goes lame
by: Tracie

Unfortunately this is not something that can be diagnosed or helped over the Internet. I am thankful you have an avian vet already, that way they have the history of her weight and health.

Your bird could have a tumor, either fatty or cancerous, or something else causing this. With the bad diet, anything is possible.

Have you already tried our avian vet's way of converting your bird? If so, then also look at my parakeet conversion, it doesn't matter that your bird is a conure. Persistence it the key, it took my parakeet over a year to accept seeds as food, because it was weaned to pellets.

Switching Birds To Pellets article

Switching Parakeets To Pellets article

Click here to add your own comments