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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks! I can use some expert advice.
I recently adopted a cockatiel with a dramatically splayed leg and her brother. The woman who gave them to me didn’t even know she had chicks until they were a few weeks old. I took them about three weeks ago. They are 3-4 months old.
Sister’s left leg sticks out at a crazy angle. Her foot does grasp, but she cannot balance on a normal perch and scooting to where she wants to go is slow and cumbersome. Her favorite sleeping position is spread eagle hanging from the corner of the cage by her feet. I can’t imagine that grasping cold skinny bars all night is a good thing…
My first order was to introduce her to the one avian vet in our area (1.5 hours away). Examining her seemed traumatic - she stared at me the whole time while screaming. I’m sure she thinks it was me hurting her! After some manipulation and the vet determined that this is a born deformity and not something that could be reset or fixed without a risky and costly (@7K) surgery that could kill her. So we will just give her the best life we can the way she is and I look forward to seeing her thrive. I know that adaptations can be made, but she will require special care, perches, and cleanliness.
I have a temporary cage that is entirely too small but should do for now as she cannot fall far. She struggles with perches so the cage is set up mostly for walking and foraging activities at the bottom lined with a towel (she slid too much on paper) which I change once to twice daily as it gets soiled quickly. The ladder she uses also needs to get washed about every day. The goal is to figure out what kind of ramps and platforms will work best for her and when she isn’t quite so wiggy, move her and brother to a bigger cage. Today, I will build and install a platform perch and ramp.
Even with all of the cage cleaning and better perches, it is HER that will need excellent hygiene to prevent infection over her life and I notice that she is not cleaning her underparts very well. Previous cockatiels that I had years ago became so tame that I could bathe them in the sink or by hand whenever I wanted. These two are far from that point and here is where I can use some advise!
Even though young, they have been very timid. I work on trust twice a day by opening the cage door and luring them to approach to eat millet spray from my hand (that is the only time they get that treat). Brother always leads. Progress feels slow but is happening which is delightful. But I notice that when one spooks, so does the other and that is frequent. Their nerves play off each other. I wonder if it would be best to separate them? Understood that these are social flock animals but brother isn’t especially sweet to her and I wonder if separate but adjacent cages might make for better training.

Many thanks for good advice!
Kerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Maybe someone will chime in with advise, maybe not! At least I find this process with my new tiels fascinating!
It has become quite apparent that these siblings are parent-raised. Sometimes they reluctantly eat millet from my hand. I sit with them after work and if I come home late I can tell that they are too tired to be curious so I leave them be. On weekend mornings, they become relaxed go about their cockatiel business with me nearby.
Today I had what I consider a success when something out the window spooked them and the male fluttered out of the cage and landed in the next room. I took my time before trying to retrieve him, and after a few minor flip-outs landed perched on my finger and I was able to slowly walk him back to the cage. A little victory? I think so!
The splayed female is so awkward in her movements and although she gets pushed around by brother and might take longer to tame but I am keeping them together for now.
I am sure enjoying having them!
Any advise is welcome!
 
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