foot sores

My Grey Cheek parakeet (55 grams) tends to get sores on the bottom of her feet. I have changed to all rope perches of various sizes which are replaced weekly. She gets food
rich in vitamin A so I don't think that is the problem.
Can you recommend a safe ointment to use to prevent infection? Thank you!

Comments for foot sores

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Mar 19, 2010
Feeding a Brotogeris pellets
by: The Avian Vet

There is no scientific or physical evidence that pellets ever caused the demise of any Brotogeris species. I ma very familiar with this species as well as others in this family, include the Canary-winged, as I was a breeder of these for may years. All of my Brotogeris were on pellets as well as all of the babies we raised and I never experienced kidney disease in any of my birds. This same rumor of not feeding pellets because it causes kidney disease has been spread about many other birds, too including cockatiels, lovebirds, and parrotlets, and the rumors were as unfounded as the one about not feeding pellets to Brotogeris.

The lack of variety of perches (i.e. giving only rope) is only a contributing factor. In my opinion, the most important problem that contributes to bumble foot lesions is nutritional imbalances, in particular vitamin A deficiency. It is widely accepted by all avian veterinarians that the only way to guarantee that a bird has a balanced, complete diet is to feed at least 70% of the diet as pellets or formulated diets.

You need to offer a variety of perch textures including rope, natural branches and pedicure textured perches. This will help prevent bumblefoot, but it helps to have a good diet.

Dr B

Mar 17, 2010
foot sore response

Thanks for your response. The bird sees an avian
vet who is the one that recommended using rope perches. Grey Cheek Parakeets are not parrolets. They are in the Brotogeris species and
do not do well on pellets. Many have been lost to kidney problems with a diet of pellets so that is not an option for her. I do use rope perches of different diameters but will give the natural perches a try again.

Mar 16, 2010
Bird foot sores
by: The Avian Vet

Your bird needs a larger variety of perches. Having only one kind of perch will contribute to this problem called bumblefoot or pododermatitis. So, provide at least three different types of perches such as natural wood branches (not from outside,, but a commercial branch such as Java, Manzanita, etc.), one rope perch such as a Bungie, and the most important one would be a pedicure perch, the best being Polly's Pastel Pedicure Perch (size for a parrotlet is Baby Medium, Baby Large or Small and too large is OK).

This pedicure perch should be the highest perch in the cage so your bird will sleep on it. You also nee to get your bird onto a pellet food, like Harrison's, to balance his diet. This should be 80% of the diet. Supplementing foods high in vitamin A will help, but only a little and will not correct this bumblefoot.

Finally the most important thing you can do is take your bird in to see an avian veterinarian immediately. Sometimes the changes I have suggested can cure minor lesions, but bumblefoot can progress very rapidly and become very serious, even life-threatening. So get it checked by an avian veterinarian and make the changes suggested.

Dr B

Mar 13, 2010
foot sores
by: Linda

First of all, we never recommend ANYTHING for your bird that has not been okayed by an Avian Vet. Do not use over the counter products including those you find in pet stores as they usually make matters worse. Secondly, you need to take your bird for an exam with an Avian Vet to see if there could be a physical problem like an infection causing these sores.

Diet is the most important aspect of bird care, and we recommend organic pellets because they are high quality and have no dyes, preservatives or pesticide/fertilizer residue like the non-organic kinds. Tracie carries several kinds out here, and you need to start changing your bird over to one or two of them. We have Amazons and have been feeding Harrison's for many years, and are very pleased with how healthy our birds are using it. It eliminates the need for any additional supplementation, and that is a savings right there.

The rope perches are not adequate for your bird and are making the foot problems worse. Birds need to be sitting on all natural branch perches from various safe woods. There is a list of safe woods out here, and you may wish to look at them. Pet stores carry ones that already have the hardware on them, and you just need to make sure the diameter is right for your bird and that the perch will fit your cage. There should be a mix of hardwood perches and softwood perches. You can even use kiln dried pine dowels for the soft wood if you cannot find anything else. We have a combo of Manzanita for their main perches and soft pine wood dowels where they eat and drink. The natural wood perches give their feet and legs the benefit of changing diameters all up and down the perch. The ropes are making burns on her feet and must be taken out and replaced with safe natural branch perches.

So, please make an appointment with an Avian Vet to have her checked out for any physically based issues like infections and/or problems elsewhere. Get her cage outfitted with natural branch perches, and start getting her changed over to an organic, high quality pellet. It will take some time if she's been eating seeds for a long time, so do not be in a hurry. Here is an article written by an Avian Vet on how to go about the change:
Switching Birds to Pellets article
Your Avian vet will probably give you some topical meds for her feet, which will afford her some relief.

Let us know how everything goes,

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