Pressure sores on feet

by Alison Ambrose
(Australia)

I have 5 cockatiels all in a very large cage indoors. They have a variety of natural branches in their cage, one dowling perch and a couple of small calcium/pumice perches. One of the birds was fussing with her feet today and when I checked her out I noticed she has pressure sores on the bottom of both feet. I've put her in a cage by herself and have padded a natural branch with soft paper towels. I have also put soft material on the bottom of the cage for when she gets down. Id there anything else I can do for her?

Comments for Pressure sores on feet

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Jun 15, 2009
Pressure sores on bird's feet
by: The Vet

The first thing you need to do is find an avian veterinarian that can assess these lesions to know if they need medical or surgical attention. If they not then treatment is easy. Soft perches are not going to help and may make the problem worse. You need to put a Polly's Pastel Pedicure Perch Small in her cage as the highest perch so that she sleeps on it. Take out all dowels. The natural branches are OK if they are not smooth.

Also a poor diet will contribute to this problem. You should be feeding your bird a pellet diet. The best pellet is Harrison's. Roudybush is also a good diet.

By correcting these few things, the lesions will heal in 2-4 weeks, provided they are not serious enough to need medical / surgical attention.

Dr B

Jun 15, 2009
Pressure sores
by: Alison Ambrose

Thanks so much Linda for taking the time to reply. After some thought I believe the cause of her sore feet just might be the calcium perches so I've removed them. She does seem to like them and spends a lot of time on them. The birds do spend a lot of time out of their cage and they have a good diet of maintenance pellets, a little seed, veges and occasionally some scrambled egg. I'll keep her on the padded perch until she's better and I really appreciate all your helpful comments.

Jun 15, 2009
Perches
by: Linda

You need to make sure your natural wood branches are made up of both softwoods and hardwoods and that they are in good condition. The correct diameter for Cockatiels and similar sized birds is 3/4" to 1 1/2". You need a full range of these diameters in your natural branch perches. Branches are much better than dowels although it does not hurt to have softwood dowels like Pine in there as well. My Amazons have Manzanita perches and pine dowels in front of their food and water dishes to give their feet a break from the hard wood.

If your perches are too small, this will cause irritation in trying to hold on too tightly and feet are in an unnatural shape. Check and make sure your perches are correct diameter throughout cage. Also, if you have 5 Cockies in one cage, cage must be what is called a large flight cage. They need to have the width to fly back and forth. Cages taller than they are wide do not provide room to fly which is mostly done horizontally not up and down.

The other thing is to get rid of any pumice and/or concrete or sand perches as these cause a great deal of irritation plus they dry bird's feet out. One of my Amazons lost 2 of his toes because he loved his pumice perch so much that he spent too much time on it. By the time I figured out what was causing the excessively dry feet, two of his toes had dried up and fell off. So you can attach mineral treats to the sides of cage in a place or two, and get rid of any rough perches which can dry out their feet. I know these perches are said to help keep nails trimmed, and that can be accomplished by clipping their nails or having a vet do it. It is not hard to clip their nails using clippers made for birds and/or cats nails. You must always have "quik-stop" ready in case of any bleeding (not in the drawer, but right there ready to use). Nail and wing clipping is a two-person job ALWAYS.

Your little bird may also need a trip to vet. If your birds have not been to Avian vet in over a year, then they need to be taken in for routine tests to see about infections or poorly functioning organs which would be done using blood. A once a year checkup keeps your bird in optimum condition and actually cuts down on vet bills overall. A healthy diet of a high quality organic pellet will also keep vet bills down to a minimum. If you feed seeds only, it will take some time to do the changeover and instructions come with the food. I recommend Harrison's which Tracie carries out here, and the Birdy Bread mixes are wonderful as well (at least according to
Eli and Stella!)

WARNING: Never use any kind of oil on your birds as this can be spread all over their bodies and cause them to suffocate. Linda

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