Cockatiel unable to perch

by Carlene
(Augusta, GA,USA)

For the past few days, my pet cockatiel has been unable to wrap his feet around the perch and balance on it. He climbs up the cage (which is made of hardware cloth wire) to the perch, but then falls off when he tries to roost. He is still eating okay. He is about 15 years old. What could be the problem? Arthritis maybe?

Comments for Cockatiel unable to perch

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Aug 20, 2009
by: Linda

YES, GET YOUR BIRD TO AN AVIAN VET IMMEDIATELY. The hardware cloth has a high content of zinc, and zinc is as poisonous to birds as is lead. Just from climbing on the hardware cloth, he could get a heavy dose of the zinc.

Take him to Avian vet and do it very soon as this bird is very ill. Cockies live to over 25 years of age, so he should not have arthritis at this point unless you do not have natural branch perches in his cage.

To clean the zinc coating off welded wire, take cage outside, use vinegar and a sponge and clean the entire cage with the vinegar. Once you have cleaned every square inch of cage, rinse it off and let it air dry until all the vinegar smell is gone. Rinse it several times to make sure all vinegar is off before air drying. If it takes the "finish" off the wire, well that is the zinc that makes it shiny, so your bird can do without it. I would recommend getting a powdercoated cage made for cockatiels if you can possibly afford it. Get the darker colors as the white and brass powder coat also have high levels of zinc. Lead is also a potential problem in powder coated cages made in China, so make sure you get information about testing done in the US on the powder coat used on cages. We have a very large flight cage for our Amazons, and it was made by HQ in China. I had them send me the information about where the powder coat paint was tested in the US at a University in Louisiana. We got the Green one, and lead levels are way below the safety regulations. No zinc was used in the dark green powder coat paint.

Also, be sure your bird's toys and perches have no metal parts coated in zinc. Buy toys with either stainless steel or nickel parts and the same for the washers and wing nuts and bolts used to put together perch material. All the regular shiny metal used in toy parts including chains are made using zinc coated metal, so ask retailer for alternatives when buying already made toys for your bird. When buying perches already with hardware, take off the zinc washers and wing nuts and replace with stainless steel. You can find stainless steel metal parts and pieces by doing a search on the internet. Yes, they are a little more expensive, and you will know that your bird is safe. For toy hangers, you can buy the nickel plated quick links and exchange ones that come with toys for the nickel plated ones. The stainless quick links are very expensive, so we use the nickel plated hangers and rings. We make our toys from wood pieces hung on cotton rope. Not real fancy, but birds love them!


Aug 20, 2009
Cockatiel needs to see a vet
by: Tracie

I am sorry to hear about your bird. Dr B can not help you because he would need to examine your bird in person. There are just too many possibilities and hearing them will not help your bird get the proper treatment.

Please let us know what you find out at the vet.

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