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Old 05-14-2018, 10:45 AM
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Exclamation Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

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Hi all, I have 4 parakeets. 2 male and 2 female, they have paired off. The one pair had laid eggs in their bathtub. I first separated the pairs (so that my breeding pair had privacy), but otherwise I left them alone to do their thing. Didn't add bedding or gravel to the bottom of the bathtub out of fear Maya (the female) would abandon the nest. My mistake.

Now, out of 4 eggs, we have 2 hatchlings. They hatched on the 26th and 28th of April. So they're about 16-18 days old, Maya is a first time hen.....and they each have a splayed leg, At least that's what I'm thinking.

On both babies, one leg can sit underneath them just fine, but the second leg juts straight out to the side, it looks like there is a lot of adverse pressure on their knee joints on that leg...I took the initiative to get them out of the bathtub. They're now in the bottom of the cage where I have paper towel layers as a floor with shredded paper bedding.

I've done some research, and went out last night to buy flat make-up sponges to attempt to make splints for them. But I don't have another, willing participant to help me get the splints on them and I don't want to hurt them doing it myself.

I'm willing to take them to an avian vet but...I'm not sure what to doo...In my opinion, they're not as bad off as some of the other cases I've seen reversed while researching, can it remedy itself if they start using different muscles to get around? I.E, can the condition fix itself now that I've moved them into an area where they can move freely and with grip? and out of a 4in by 2in bathtub.....

Please, someone give me some kind of advice...anything would be greatly appreciated as I feel a great pressure to do SOMETHING for them. I feel that if I just let it go, they'll have the problem for the rest of their lives and it's technically my fault...

Last edited by Budgiegirl38; 05-14-2018 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:03 AM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Just an addition regarding my ignorance....

I initially thought I had 3 females and 1 male. Not realizing that albino birds have differing pigmentation in their cere bec, well, they're albino (duh)....I have 2 greens, 1 blue, and 1 white. well, the white one was a male in disguise. He is the father (Scarleau: previously scarlet) to Maya's 2 hatchlings.

SO, I didn't purposely buy 2 pairs...and because of this mix up...I wasn't able to catch the breeding behavior. I thought Scarleau was just a very playful female and Maya was being tolerant towards 'her'. I didn't realize that they were a pair because I thought they were 2 females...Maya had already laid the eggs before I realized that scarleau was the father. Which is why there was no breeding box...Had I realized sooner, I would've prepared for them.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:33 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

They have to be splinted. I had to splint a cockatiel once. She was fine.

Find help, gently do it yourself or go to a vet. It needs to be fixed ASAP.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:35 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

My question to you is, why didn't you just take the eggs out after they were laid? Do you know how old all your budgies are? Do you know that they are not related (letting sibling birds mate can and will cause genetic defects). If you don't know for sure, then you should NOT be breeding them.

As you have already realized, breeding birds is a complicated process. No bedding underneath the babies likely is contributing to their splayed legs. They do better in a nestbox that only the pair will enter and exit, bedding, and the babies should be weighed daily to make sure they are gaining weight. I hope the parents feed the babies well, otherwise that is a problem all in itself, some parents refused to feed their young, abandon them or pluck them and then as a breeder you have to take the baby out, keep in warm in a brooder and hand-feed until weaning.

My advice to you is take all babies to an avian vet to get checked out. They will help you figure out what to do. Please, please don't let your birds hatch any more babies. They can be allowed to breed - tehre is no stopping that -- but once eggs are laid, gently pick them up, give them a good shake to scramble the yolk onside and stop that fertilization and put eggs back down so they can nest on them. Once they loose interest in eggs that never hatch, then you take them out and throw.

Also another question..how is their diet? It is crucial the female get more protein, calcium and water during this time to replenish her supply for her eggs.
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Last edited by itzjbean; 05-14-2018 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:35 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Convince a neighbor to help if you can.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:37 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

I'm so sorry your babies are having these issues
I agree with Grace, I would get them to a vet as quickly as possible while there is still a chance to fix the problem.
Please let us know how they are doing!
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Old 05-14-2018, 01:17 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Another vote for VET ASAP!
Breeding and caring for hatchlings really is so very complicated, and an expert is called for. Good for you for reaching out, and good luck, and do let us hear.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:09 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

As far as the chick with the splayed-legs, please take it to a Certified Avian Vet ASAP, immediately, as the sooner you get it properly splinted, and it has to be done exactly the right way to work, the less permanent damage and permanent disability this bird will have. The older he gets, day by day, the worse it's going to be for the rest of his life, because they literally grow and develop at the speed of light. If it's not done correctly it will not be corrected, and NO, IT WILL NOT CORRECT ITSELF, IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE AND WORSE, AND AS I ALREADY SAID, EVERY DAY THAT GOES BY THE BIRD IS GROWING AND IT'S BECOMING MORE OF AN ISSUE...

As far as your set-up, I understand you didn't realize what genders you had, but I couldn't understand what you meant as far as how you have your birds set-up now. YOUR BREEDING PAIR OF BIRDS WITH THE BABIES NEED TO BE IN A CAGE ALL BY THEMSELVES WITH NO OTHER BIRDS IN WITH THEM!!! This is called "community breeding", and regardless of whether any other bird or birds in with the breeding pair and the babies is male or female, regardless of whether they got along fine before the babies hatched, etc., doesn't matter, you need to separate the breeding male and female and the 2 babies into their own cage WITH A WOODEN NEST BOX THE CORRECT SIZE FOR BUDGIES. They sell them at Petco cheaply, get one ASAP and put the 2 chicks in it. NO GRAVEL OR GRIT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NEST BOX, YOU MUST USE SOME KIND OF BEDDING TO PREVENT THE SPLAY LEGS IN ADDITION TO OTHER ISSUES. I USE THE "CAREFRESH" PAPER BEDDING. This is not optional. IF YOU ALLOW ANY OTHER BIRD OR BIRDS TO BE IN THE SAME CAGE AS THE BREEDING PAIR AND THE CHICKS, YOU'LL LIKELY END-UP WITH DEAD CHICKS AND/OR DEAD ADULTS. IT'S JUST WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS SITUATION, ALWAYS...

I'm hoping that you are allowing the parents to feed the babies, as you should not hand feed with no experience, however you absolutely need to be ready to do so if one or both of the parents stops feeding the babies, which happens, or the mother dies, etc. Stuff happens all the time, and the babies will die very quickly if the parents stop feeding them. This also means that up until the chicks have all of their feathers, around 5 weeks old, they must be kept in a brooder for heat. Then after they get all of their feathers they must be moved to a "Weaning Cage", which is a regular cage set-up with different diameter perches, toys, different types of feeding cups and water dishes/bottles, this is so they can learn to climb, play, walk, perch, and eat and drink on their own.

Budgies usually are fully weaned between 7-8 weeks old, but prior to that you must be ready to step-in, meaning you must have hand-feeding formula, a hand-feeding syringe, unflavored Pedialyte, a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the formula before feeding each chick (THIS IS CRUCIAL AND NOT AT ALL OPTIONAL), a Brooder of some kind with an Ambient Thermometer to keep the Brooder at the correct Ambient Temperature for the chicks to properly live and digest their food, and then all the emergency supplements you need if they happen to develop slow crop, sour crop, crop stasis, etc., including Apple Cider Vinegar, Avian Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, etc.

This is not something that can be taken at all lighting, and unless you have all of this stuff on-hand and then you are mentored by an experienced hand-feeder so that you don't aspirate and kill the babies, as they typically die instantly when that happens, you should simply remove future eggs and freeze them overnight, then dispose of them. There are any number of reasons that the parent or parents will stop feeding them, kick them out of the nest box (literally kick them out), or start hurting them or trying to kill them, and that's when you have to step-in and take over. And this is also why I mentioned removing ALL OTHER BIRDS FROM THE CAGE WITH THE PARENTS AND THE CHICKS, BECAUSE IF ONE OF THE OTHER BIRDS TRIES TO GET AT THE CHICKS, AND THEY WILL, THE PARENTS WILL DIE DEFENDING THEIR BABIES. THEN YOU'RE STUCK WITH YOUNG BABIES THAT NEED A MOTHER....
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:00 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Quote: Originally Posted by itzjbean View Post
My question to you is, why didn't you just take the eggs out after they were laid? Do you know how old all your budgies are? Do you know that they are not related (letting sibling birds mate can and will cause genetic defects). If you don't know for sure, then you should NOT be breeding them.

As you have already realized, breeding birds is a complicated process. No bedding underneath the babies likely is contributing to their splayed legs. They do better in a nestbox that only the pair will enter and exit, bedding, and the babies should be weighed daily to make sure they are gaining weight. I hope the parents feed the babies well, otherwise that is a problem all in itself, some parents refused to feed their young, abandon them or pluck them and then as a breeder you have to take the baby out, keep in warm in a brooder and hand-feed until weaning.

My advice to you is take all babies to an avian vet to get checked out. They will help you figure out what to do. Please, please don't let your birds hatch any more babies. They can be allowed to breed - tehre is no stopping that -- but once eggs are laid, gently pick them up, give them a good shake to scramble the yolk onside and stop that fertilization and put eggs back down so they can nest on them. Once they loose interest in eggs that never hatch, then you take them out and throw.

Also another question..how is their diet? It is crucial the female get more protein, calcium and water during this time to replenish her supply for her eggs.
So, they're 16 and 18 days old...I'm aware of inbreeding and no, the parents are not siblings tho the male is albino...They primarily get seed, with millet, kale, cucumber, and assorted fruits on occasion. They always have a cuddle bone and a mineral block. I work at a local pet store that stocks parakeets. I've done a decent amount of research on them. I know how to generally take care of my birds. AGAIN, they're 16-18 days old, their colors are coming in, YES the parents are feeding them. Why didn't I take the eggs out? because I didn't want to disturb the nest. I was under the impression that if I were to move the eggs then, the mother would've abandoned them.
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: Splayed legs in parakeet hatchlings...

Quote: Originally Posted by EllenD View Post
As far as the chick with the splayed-legs, please take it to a Certified Avian Vet ASAP, immediately, as the sooner you get it properly splinted, and it has to be done exactly the right way to work, the less permanent damage and permanent disability this bird will have. The older he gets, day by day, the worse it's going to be for the rest of his life, because they literally grow and develop at the speed of light. If it's not done correctly it will not be corrected, and NO, IT WILL NOT CORRECT ITSELF, IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE AND WORSE, AND AS I ALREADY SAID, EVERY DAY THAT GOES BY THE BIRD IS GROWING AND IT'S BECOMING MORE OF AN ISSUE...

As far as your set-up, I understand you didn't realize what genders you had, but I couldn't understand what you meant as far as how you have your birds set-up now. YOUR BREEDING PAIR OF BIRDS WITH THE BABIES NEED TO BE IN A CAGE ALL BY THEMSELVES WITH NO OTHER BIRDS IN WITH THEM!!! This is called "community breeding", and regardless of whether any other bird or birds in with the breeding pair and the babies is male or female, regardless of whether they got along fine before the babies hatched, etc., doesn't matter, you need to separate the breeding male and female and the 2 babies into their own cage WITH A WOODEN NEST BOX THE CORRECT SIZE FOR BUDGIES. They sell them at Petco cheaply, get one ASAP and put the 2 chicks in it. NO GRAVEL OR GRIT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NEST BOX, YOU MUST USE SOME KIND OF BEDDING TO PREVENT THE SPLAY LEGS IN ADDITION TO OTHER ISSUES. I USE THE "CAREFRESH" PAPER BEDDING. This is not optional. IF YOU ALLOW ANY OTHER BIRD OR BIRDS TO BE IN THE SAME CAGE AS THE BREEDING PAIR AND THE CHICKS, YOU'LL LIKELY END-UP WITH DEAD CHICKS AND/OR DEAD ADULTS. IT'S JUST WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS SITUATION, ALWAYS...

I'm hoping that you are allowing the parents to feed the babies, as you should not hand feed with no experience, however you absolutely need to be ready to do so if one or both of the parents stops feeding the babies, which happens, or the mother dies, etc. Stuff happens all the time, and the babies will die very quickly if the parents stop feeding them. This also means that up until the chicks have all of their feathers, around 5 weeks old, they must be kept in a brooder for heat. Then after they get all of their feathers they must be moved to a "Weaning Cage", which is a regular cage set-up with different diameter perches, toys, different types of feeding cups and water dishes/bottles, this is so they can learn to climb, play, walk, perch, and eat and drink on their own.

Budgies usually are fully weaned between 7-8 weeks old, but prior to that you must be ready to step-in, meaning you must have hand-feeding formula, a hand-feeding syringe, unflavored Pedialyte, a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the formula before feeding each chick (THIS IS CRUCIAL AND NOT AT ALL OPTIONAL), a Brooder of some kind with an Ambient Thermometer to keep the Brooder at the correct Ambient Temperature for the chicks to properly live and digest their food, and then all the emergency supplements you need if they happen to develop slow crop, sour crop, crop stasis, etc., including Apple Cider Vinegar, Avian Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, etc.

This is not something that can be taken at all lighting, and unless you have all of this stuff on-hand and then you are mentored by an experienced hand-feeder so that you don't aspirate and kill the babies, as they typically die instantly when that happens, you should simply remove future eggs and freeze them overnight, then dispose of them. There are any number of reasons that the parent or parents will stop feeding them, kick them out of the nest box (literally kick them out), or start hurting them or trying to kill them, and that's when you have to step-in and take over. And this is also why I mentioned removing ALL OTHER BIRDS FROM THE CAGE WITH THE PARENTS AND THE CHICKS, BECAUSE IF ONE OF THE OTHER BIRDS TRIES TO GET AT THE CHICKS, AND THEY WILL, THE PARENTS WILL DIE DEFENDING THEIR BABIES. THEN YOU'RE STUCK WITH YOUNG BABIES THAT NEED A MOTHER....
Wow, okay, so I feel kind of attacked with this. If you read my initial post. The breeding pair are in a cage together with the babies and they are alone. The other two are in another cage.

Of coarse I let the parents feed the babies...I was careful NOT to disturb my breeding pair, I only went in their cage to replace food and water (and cuddlebone)...Maya actually over-cares for them I think, she is constantly still trying to sit on them.

I've had birds for 8 cumulative years of my life. I've even had birds breed in the past and they did just fine on their own without all the extra stuff you've listed. I understand that breeding birds isn't like breeding fish but again, they did FINE all by themselves, left alone with daily general care.

I didn't expect these birds to breed and I'm not TRYING to breed however, they have, and now I'm trying to let them care for the chicks naturally, but I need advice with the splayed leg issue, so if you have advice for THAT I'd greatly appreciate it.

My birds might not be SUPER healthy, I don't feed them greens as much as I should, BUT I'm not stupid. This is their first clutch and I'm thinking I'm going to separate sexes when it's appropriate after this ordeal and keep cages side by side...I'm not a breeder, but I'm a bird keeper, I'm trying to help them. UGH.

I work at a pet store, I watch people buy 1 parakeet and a small cage for their 10yr old because they're child is crying and they don't want to buy the appropriate supplies. Its disgusting and I'm not one of those people....I'm trying to care for them. I've called a vet and the soonest I can get them in is Wed. It's Mon....they're already past the optimal age for treatment. I think I'm going to have to try to splint them. at least until Wed.

Are there other issues that it may be other than splayed leg that anyone knows of before I splint them? Is there another disease that it might be?

Can I cause potential harm by splinting? if so, what harm exactly? And how do I avoid doing harm? What do I need to be careful of?

Any advice on how to hold the chicks? As well as correctly apply the splint?

Both babies are able to use their one leg, but the other is straight out to the side w/ a locked knee joint and curled back toes. Might this be something else? I've seen cases of splayed leg where the chicks are doing the splits, mine aren't quite that bad off.
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