Conure-Loss of balance

by Juliette Joyce
(Arroyo Grande, CA USA)

Sunny is a 9 yr old Sun Conure and through the years has restricted her diet substantially. She only eats safflower and sunflower seeds, apples and bannanas. She is now very underweight. I have tried many different types of foods without success; I now add appetite stimulant to her food to encourage to eat all her other seeds. Also, I now add vitamins to her water bowl.

In the last 6 months she has had difficulty staying on her perch during the night; falls 2-3X a night. I have now laid down extra bedding material to soften the falls. Doesn't appear to fall during the day unless startled. She is still squawking (less) and plays with her bell(less).

When I transfer her from her night cage to her daytime cage I have to hold her and walk slowly otherwise she loses her balance and falls to the ground. I am very frustrated and fear I will be losing her soon. What could I have done when she started limiting her diet? What else can I now do?
Thanking you

Comments for Conure-Loss of balance

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Mar 12, 2011
Transitioning bird to pellets
by: The Avian Vet

The method in my Switching Birds to Pellets article will switch her without starving her. But, for it to work, she must east something besides seeds. The steps in this method should be employed for several days in a row, or even 2-3 weeks if that is what it takes. Establish and maintain the routine. You will need to limit her seeds to twice daily and no more than a teaspoon at each feeding. In the middle of the day provide her something besides seeds ? this is the key step that will prevent her from starving. Mornings are when she is hungry, after a few days of establishing the routine, then give her nothing but her pellets in the morning, until she gets her afternoon non-seed treat. The article gives more detail on this method.

Things you should do:
Be sure to weigh her daily, in the mornings.
You should put a dish of pellets next to her highest perch. Putting a mirror behind this dish will often help.
Have her out at meal times and everyone pretend to eat the pellets and offer them to her.
Do not mix the seeds and pellets. It will not work and will waste the pellets.
Try different pellets ? Harrison's, Roudybush, Oven Fresh Bites.
Try getting her to eat dry cereal like Cheerios, first, then transition to pellets.
Have a friend with a bird that does eat pellets come over and let the bird teach yours how to eat. Keep them separate but so they can see each other?s bowls.

Dr B

Mar 10, 2011
Conure-Loss of balance
by: Juliette

I want to thank you for your feedback and I will try the pellet conversion. A vet had recommended a switch to pellets earlier but I was unsuccessful. I will try your method and a another visit with a new vet.
I am giving Sunny AviGain which is a Weight Gain Supplement for birds. It is a blend of vegetable fats, proteins, probiotics and appetite stimulant; I also put it on her apples.

Mar 10, 2011
Help with conure problems
by: Tracie

Dr B would like to help you, if you have any more questions or need clarification. He is very concerned about your bird. Please feel free to ask more questions.

Also, I am familiar with where you live. Here are two clinics that have vets that have experience with birds, even though they are not avian vets.

Mar 10, 2011
Conure losing balance
by: The Avian Vet

What appetite stimulant are you using? I have worked with birds for nearly 30 years and know of no appetite stimulant that is used in birds. Putting anything on seeds is a waste of time because it is not going to be ingested. IF it sticks to the seeds, it is going to be shelled away with the seed hull and not be ingested.

You should discontinue the appetite stimulant. You should also discontinue using the water vitamins. These will not help and in fact can cause bacterial infections. These are not effective methods of getting a bird to eat. I am sure she is underweight, but that is not going to be her only health problem associated with the diet she is eating.

My suspicions are that she is actually sick, either from not eating, or she was sick and that is causing the decreased appetite. Hard to say which came first.

This is a sick bird. I am sure that one reason for falling from the perch is weakness; another reason is a calcium deficiency.

She may be loosing her balance also from a bad wing clip. I feel that you must have this bird examined by an avian veterinarian immediately. Determine if and what she needs to be treated for, then when she is well, switch her to a pellet diet. Harrison's is the best one. I have attached an article I wrote that will help you to get her to eat this diet.

Switching Birds to Pellets article.

Dr B
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Mar 09, 2011
Conure on bad diet losing balance
by: Tracie

One thing you did not mention, is taking your bird to an avian vet. If you did not do this, then that is what you should have done in the very beginning.

Also, you are the one that feeds her, so you are the one that limited her diet. If she only has pellets to eat, she will only eat pellets with a little bit of treats, if she eats her pellets first.

But, it is possible your bird got sick, and that influenced her eating. Adding vitamins to the water, can easily kill a bird. It can give your bird too much of one vitamin, and make your bird toxic.

Dr B will eventually answer your question, but you really need to get your bird to an avian vet right away.

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