My birds feet are all balled up

by Janet Olson
(Oakley, CA USA)

Hello, I hope you can help me. My 5 year old African Grey's feet have been bald up for over a week. I have taken him to our Avian vet and he ran over five hundred dollars worth of blood work and everything has come back normal. He did this about a month ago and got better for a while but now it is back. He is under a UV light and we have been giving him calcium supplements . Can you give me any ideas of what can cause this.
Thank you, Janet Olson

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Jan 02, 2010
by: Janet Olson

Thank you for responding, we had another vet appointment and the Doctor thinks it's PPD even though Ozzie tested negative for the Borna virus. Ozzie is only 5 years old so he doesn't believe it's arthritis. We are giving him anti inflammatory medicine for now and we will do a MRI (for a possible lesion on his spine) if the medicine doesn't change anything.
Thanks again for your help, if there are any more ideas I would love to hear them.

Dec 27, 2009
My birds feet are all balled up
by: Linda

This could be early onset arthritis.He needs to be on natural branch perches made from safe woods, and they can be found in many online and regular petstores with the hardware already installed.Birds need both hardwood like Manzanita and soft wood like Kiln dried Pine or other soft safe wood. DO NOT USE ANY OF THE SAND, CONCRETE OR PUMICE PERCHES AS THESE DRY THEIR FEET OUT TERRIBLY. (Our avian vet says it is fine to have there perches, as long as they are not the ONLY perches they have.) One of my Amazons lost two toes before I realized what was wrong with his feet.

If he is already sitting on natural branch wood perches, then his feet and legs may need xray to see what is what. I know you've already spent a lot of money, and you are to be commended for that. At least you know his internal structures are in good working order which rules out a number of possible problems.

The calcium supplements may cause an imbalance in his mineral intake, so unless the vet authorized it, stop giving them. Birds on high quality organic pellet diets need no vitamin/mineral supplements.

So, make sure he has the right kinds of perches, that he is changed over to an organic pelleted diet. The full spectrum lights should be over him all the time. Not too close, and they need to be either Ott or another type bought from a petstore and not the stuff like Home Depot or Lowe's carries as they are just simulations and not the "real" thing. You can use an extension cord so they reach your wall sockets, and be sure to tape everything to wall so cords do not hang down where bird can get hold of them, and make sure lights are up high enough so he cannot get to them either.

Changing over from seeds to pellets takes some time, you can read the Switching Birds to Pellets article.

The only veggies you use with the Harrisons are the dark yellow, orange and green. Do not use Spinach as it leaches out the calcium and causes an imbalance. You can use organic yellow squash, baked sweet potato and dark green lettuce. Fruit can be bananas and apples fed in small quantities.

Fruit and veggies make up no more than 10% of a bird's overall diet. Harrisons makes a great Birdy Bread mix and get the organic Red Palm Oil to go in it. It bakes up quickly, freezes for up to 6 months and can be refrigerated for up to a week.It will help with the changeover.All of the foods and oil can be found here on Tracie's site.

Thanks for writing,

Dec 27, 2009
Bird with balled up feet
by: Patti Stalma

This happened to my Amazon. It turned out she has arthritis and circulatory problems. You need to see an Avian Specialist. Search for one on the internet- there are only about 20 in the U.S. - so hopefully you are near one. If it is what my Amazon has, it can get really bad so you need to do something asap to determine the cause. I am wondering the age of your bird? Good Luck.

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