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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 9521
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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I have a pet parrot (Kakariki) and I think she had an

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Hi, I have a pet parrot (Kakariki) and I think she had an accident of some sort because she can't use one of her legs. She stands on the other leg and uses her beak and wings as well as the good leg to move. She can fly and move but she doesn't use the other leg at all. I don't think she can move it at all.
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the parrot?
Customer: She can't use one of her legs
Assistant: Where does the parrot seem to hurt?
Customer: On her left leg I think
Assistant: OK. What is the parrot's name and age?
Customer: She's called Kiki and I think she's around 3 years old
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Kiki?
Customer: We have another parrot with her Riki but he hasn't been affected at all

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!

I am August Abbott, cert. avian specialist and owner of "" a sanctuary for previously abused and permanently handicapped birds.

What kind of bird are we talking about here?

Describe her diet please - including the base diet and anything fresh or otherwise she tends to eat.

Describe her droppings - amount, color, consistency.

Where in the home is she kept and tell me about her daily routine starting with when her day starts, how it starts and right up to how it ends (how she's put to bed)

Thank you for your patience here. The mod notified me that your question never popped up in my notifications for some reason.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
It's a Kakariki a small parrot. She's on a diet of bird seeds, bread (which we soak in water), and a variety of fruits. Usually kiwis, apples, sometimes pomegranates. We also feed her chilli's (they like the seeds).She's been pooping less than usual. It's hard to tell because we have two birds in the same cage. But the droppings are brown, thick, and in a white film.She's kept in a part of the corridor in a small cage. The cage is about a meter in height and a but more than half a meter in width. The birds wake up around 9am, we let them out and give them their breakfast. They fly around the house and eat. We use that time to clean their cage and replace water. Then they stay in their cage. In the evenings we usually let them out again and give them their food for the night. Around 9-10pm we cover the cage with a blanket (since we keep the lights on in the corridor) and they go to sleep.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The cage has a small box inside it with a small cushion which is her nest. She sleeps inside her nest every night.

Wow! You are an excellent parent! I'm so happy to hear you allow your birds to be birds during the day. You even have the daylight/nighttime hours divided appropriately.

All this praise said, let's look at the various possibilities behind what you're seeing:

Sometimes a tumor on the kidney will not appear on the outside of the body, but other symptoms such as those you’re describing. These things could be the result of the tumor pressing on certain nerves.
Tumors can also be in a male’s testes or female’s ovaries and there are not always obvious changes until later on when the growth is more dominant inside.
Other indications that there may be tumor activity would be a change in cere color, weight loss, changes in droppings (often becoming pasty, soiling around the vent) and just subtle, overall changes that owners may sense more than actually see or be able to describe.
Fatty liver disease is something that is often seen in a bird on a seed only or predominantly seed diet. No matter how much the manufacturer insists they are fortified and healthy, they are misleading all of us. This is what I expect is happening with Coco
Skeletal problems, deficiencies and even toxicities can cause various symptoms too, even though they seem very unrelated. Anything from loss of balance in some birds, as well as the more common symptoms such as breathing difficulties/breathing with beak open, restlessness, nervousness, acting afraid of usual things, startling easily and so on.
Zinc and other toxic metals or substances can be ingested slowly over time when toys, clasps, chains, links or even cages are chewed on or played with. Other poisonings occur when the bird actually swallows a toy, link or piece of one. Watch out for bell clappers for instance.
Take a look here under critical conditions to reassure yourself that urgent veterinary intervention may be necessary (these symptoms apply to all birds, not just ‘tiels)


Remarkably, birds don’t need much, if any vitamin C. It is a water soluble vitamin which means it passes out of the body after the body takes what it needs and C is available in a wide variety of both fresh and processed foods given to birds.
Vitamin A/Beta Carotene is frequently found to be deficient in birds. This is a fat soluble vitamin which means it gets stored in the fat cells of the body, so it’s possible to overdose on it. With our companion birds though, too little is the situation most often encountered.

The symptoms a bird will show when deficient are increased allergic reactions, respiratory/sinus infections, reproductive problems, skin and feather disorders, even cysts and tumors, as well as various intestinal complications.

Vitamin A is most ideally received from natural foods like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash and other dark colored vegetables. If your bird doesn’t care for fresh vegetables, a ½ teaspoon of natural baby food (human baby food) of any of these vegetables. Again, it must be all natural and nothing but the vegetable with water sufficient for processing.

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What you can do while securing a vet to see your companion is supportive care.

If your bird will drink and eat on their own, excellent. If not, have an eyedropper ready to administer a few drops of plain water, or better yet, children’s Pedialyte every 20-30 minutes. Put the dropper gently inside the beak and let the drops fall into the bottom beak under the tongue rather than trying to get into the back of the throat. We don’t want to chance the bird inhaling the fluid and developing pneumonia.

You can also make some sugar water with 1-2 tablespoons of natural white sugar (none of those sugar substitutes no matter how natural they claim to be) in ½ cup of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and offer the bird a couple drops of this along with the Pedialyte.

In a pinch, Gatorade or other sports drink without added zinc or at least with zinc listed low on the list of ingredients, can be used while you are getting Pedialyte.

Another feeding option is to offer ½ spoon of all natural, organic baby food (squash, yams, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables) which many birds take readily; also try some pabulum or baby rice cereal and a few licks of natural (no artificial anything) yogurt.

Feel free to mix these or offer them one at a time.

This may actually 'fix' things rather quickly; however, liver or kidney disease (if that's the real internal issue) absolutely still needs a vet visit.

These days, with birds growing fast in popularity as in home companions, many DVM’s are quite experienced and able to see and treat many birds. If you have a pet store that sells birds or know of any bird breeders – ask them who they use for their bird care.

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Pet Smart? in town you may have a vet for your bird. Most Pet Smart’s now have a veterinary clinic inside and many of them will see birds (open 7 days a week too).

Also, calling ANY vet and asking who they refer bird patients to should also glean you a few more options.

Will you let me know how it goes?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you so much! I'll definitely take on the dietary advice. How will I know when it's time to see a vet? My bird doesn't seem to have any other symptoms apart from her droppings consistency and not using that leg.

I'd see that vet now. While it could be just a dietary insufficiency, IF it's liver or kidney disease or a tumor - we need to know for sure right away.

Keep in mind that birds, surviving the last complete annihilation of all life on earth (the Ice Age) - birds and crocodilians are the only two major species that survived. So your little companion is a real, live, dinosaur!

They survived partly because they are one of nature's more experienced "maskers" - they can hide disability, disease and even injury remarkably well so even if Coco seems to recover, the disease could be and likely is progressing. The next time you see symptoms - if they get masked to begin with - the disease will be far more complicated or even impossible to treat.

One of my clients delayed getting veterinary care for a macaw and the poor bird ended up passing away on the mommy's lap while she was driving 2 hours one way to an emergency clinic at 11 pm on a weekend.

You don't want this to happen right? So have her seen asap

Please remember to rate this so I can remove it from the 'open to everyone' board and we can continue more privately .. Thank you

S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 9521
Experience: Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
S. August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks, I'll definitely be seeing a vet and letting you know!