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Splayed Legs

Splayed legs are when the legs do not develop in the proper position. In mild cases, the legs will be set out just a bit wider then they should be. In severe cases, one or both legs will stick out from the hip at a 90 degree angle straight out to the side, where the bird had no ability to put the leg under itself to perch. It is exceptionally sad if both legs are splayed (i have seen this once in parakeets at a less reputable bird store), thus both sticking straight out to the side, and the birds can only sit on their rear. I don’t think birds like this can move around on their own at all, and so would not survive unless handfed forever. It's a very cruel way to live. It is very sad to see this when it happens and is not corrected when the bird is still a hatchling. There is no way to fix it once the bird becomes fully developed.

This can happen for many reasons, the main ones being either that the hen sits very tight, pushing her babies down into the bedding, legs out to the side, and they cant get their legs up under them properly because the hen is sitting on them so tight. Another reason it may happen is lack of bedding in the nest box (if mom throws it all out perhaps). This makes it so the floor is smooth, and the babies cannot get any traction to get their feet under them, and so the legs grow out to the side.

This can happen in any species, but it is most often seen in the smaller species such as lovebirds, parakeets, and cockatiels. The bigger birds are stronger and seem to be able to keep their feet under themselves better to develop properly, and so it is very rarely seen in the larger species.

The way to fix this is that you must first notice it while the baby is still in the nest box. It is easy to see, since the baby will not look right...the leg(s) will stick out at an odd angle to the body, and it may be difficult to get the leg back under the bird and into its proper position, and the baby will not be able to keep it there underneath itself.

Once identified, the baby's legs must be bound together so that they sit in the proper area under the baby, in one of several fashions... One way is to band both legs and use string to tie them together (with enough slack so that the legs can move a bit, but still must stay under the baby in the proper position). Another way is to use a soft makeup sponge, punch two holes in it, and put the legs through it to hold them in the proper position (this is my preferred method). These methods are left on for 2-3 weeks, at that time they should be able to be removed and the baby is all better, and will live a perfectly normal life with perfectly normal legs.

Hope that helped!


Mystery Pickles Parrots

Parrotlets, Lovebirds, Scarlet Chested Parakeets