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Parrots/Lovebird baby stretch feet backward


  I'm Yaasir from Mauritius. Since 2 weeks ago I got some lovebird chicks they are very beautiful. But then yesterday I found a baby out of nest. The parents are not taking care of it nor gave him food. So I remove the chick for handfeeding and to my surprise I found that the bird is having a feet problem. He can't stand on his feet. Both feet are stretch backward. The feet don't have any force and he can't move it either. But I noticed it has very little force approximately 2 %.

The chick can move with the help of  his wings but its very hard for a chick of 2-3 weeks.

Please I would like to have a better response concerning this case and give me some solutions for this. Also please tell me some reasons why such cases happen.

I'm really sad and worried for the cute baby.

Hope to get your reply soon.

- You're describing "splay leg" which happens in nests where the parents sit too tightly on their babies, or there's not enough 'grip' on the bottom for the babies to keep their legs under themselves.

Splayed legs tend to happen early in the nest when the chick canít find enough traction to hold their legs underneath them.  The nesting material is often the cause, and to best provide for the little ones, plain paper towels with a bit of corncob bedding over the top may be good.

The paper towel allows the traction, the corncob helps hold body heat and directs the droppings away from the birdís body.  Even with these precautions though, change their nesting material daily.  Good hygiene provides for overall good health and helps prevent many diseases seen in youngsters.

Depending on the extent of the splay, some experienced owners will attempt to hobble the chicks themselves.    The links provided will show you how, but let me stress that if youíre not experienced, I wouldnít suggest this baby be your experiment.  Birds need their legs and feet to perch and live normally for their lifetime.  Splay leg caught early can often be successfully resolved and itís well worth it.   

Inexperienced hobbles can exhaust a baby trying to fight them and there is little more heartbreaking than losing a tiny baby you care a great deal about.


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

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