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bug_n_flock 12-12-2020 11:47 PM

Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
It has become obvious to me recently that Alex is way, way, way too fat and I don't want to lose him to something preventable and totally my fault. He is a little under the weather right now(tho thank the Gods he seems on the mend). Once he is fully recovered, we need to start a diet and excersize plan. Any suggestions? He has a touch of arthritis in his feet, so I don't love the idea of variations on the flapflap game.. Edit to add, he doesn't fly. He used to not fly much or well, now he is too fat to fly and the last time he tried, he ended up just going to the ground as tho he were clipped.

I also am going to reduce his calories. He gets unlimited access to harrisons high potentcy and I give him senior nutriberries daily. He sometimes gets some of the budgie seed mix. Veggies, etc obviously. He doesn't like most fruit but sometimes goes for apples. I will obviously consult with his vet as well, but do any of you lovely parrot people have experience or advice helping a fat bird lose weight, especially a senior one? Alex will be 19 years old in the Spring.

SailBoat 12-14-2020 11:30 AM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
When no is looking, sneak into the Amazon sub-forum and take a look at the Sticky that starts with: I Love Amazons ... On page one, you will see a listing of the vast number of 'segments' included. Look for one that is titled something like: Restarting a Shut-Down Older Amazon... Look for the page number and go to that page and search down until you find the segment.

Insiders Secret: That Sticky applies to near all Parrots!

Betrisher 12-14-2020 09:06 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
When I inherited my Dad's galah, Dominic, he weighed twice as much as she should have owing to a 100% sunflower seed diet. We gradually changed him over to a pellet diet with a few added veggies (he wasn't keen on veggies, although he took to the pellets with no problems). He didn't get any fruit because fruit contains sugars he didn't need.

The most important thing, though, was to get him moving.

Like your bird, he was unable to fly, mostly owing to atrophied flight muscles, which improved over time. My husband made him a very large playgym which began on top of the fridge and continued on over the double glass doors in our kitchen. If Dom wanted to eat anything, he had to climb a ladder, walk hand-over-hand across a rope bridge, climb down a boing and then up a cargo net in order to get to his food dish. Since his 'post' was on top of the fridge, he then had to navigate all of those obstacles backward in order to get there.

It took about six months for Dom to lose most of his excess weight. Sadly, he had several very large lipomas which shrank somewhat but didn't go away. They hampered his movement a lot, but he was a determined old bird and found a way to get around despite them. In the end, it was the lipomas that killed him. They turned cancerous and the cancer spread into his testicles.

People, it's no kindness to let your animals get fat! Fat can be deadly in so many ways (who knew it could turn to cancer???) and we owe it to our companions to keep them fit and healthy. I miss my Dommie every single day. :(

Cycletim 12-14-2020 09:46 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
I agree totally with the post above. Besides making it a journey to get food, maybe give foraging a try aswell. Birdtricks has great videos about stormy the fat amazon maybe give them a try on youtube.

bug_n_flock 12-15-2020 06:14 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
I don't think Alex is as bad as you guys have pictured. Some of the advice given here is fantastic and exactly helpful to his situation. Other advice is a chilling kick in the pants warning for me. No, he isn't twice the weight he should be, but if I don't take this seriously NOW, he could be. Yeah it's funny and cute to tease him for being fat, but I can do that when he is a healthier weight. We will expand his play area and make it so he has to climb to get to his snacks. We will shelter him from the pestering of the budgies less... if they annoy him enough he will walk away LOL Alex is a pacifist and would never hurt a budgie. To start with we will go with Hima as his pesterer, afterall she can't follow him around super easily so he will still definitely be able to get away rather than become really stressed and agitated. Besides, the chase game would be good for Hima too. She isn't overweight(we watch her weight VERY carefully because of her disability), but it would be an encouragement for her to get more activity. I'm always worried about how sedintary she is.

Alex will do some foraging activities, but lets just say he is not the smartest cockatiel in the house... that honor belongs to Mr. Rin Happybird. But Alex will poke around and look for food to some extent. For spray millet he would cross an entire obsticle course. We do not currently have any spray millet(thanks covid) but we are due to place a chewy order again so I will go ahead and order another 25lb box of it. With rationing, that can last our flock for several months.

Alex thankfully is not totally shut down or anything, but he needs immediate action taken, and that is a fact.

Mr. B, what blend of Harrisons do you use? I looked at the harrisons website and couldn't seem to find senior or low cal. Where do you order yours? We usually order the small bird pellets from MySafeBirdStore(didn't look there for low cal/senior pellets yet tho), and the big bird pellets we order from Chewy.

Any other tips? I don't want to limit his access to pellets as he tends to gorge on them when presented after an absence(even with other foods available). He has a variety of perch sizes and types.. rope ones, natural branches, etc. His favorite tho is a bridge thing that is made with a bunch of sticks held together by bendable wire. It was sold as a small animal/bird combo item, let me see if I can find something like it to link really quick. Bought it ages ago from Dr Foster and Smith I think, before they were bought out by petco.

Oh, here we go. That was easy to find actually.

We have it bent nearly flat and he sits with his feet flat on it when he is on it. We tend to go with oversized perches for him as I believe they are easier on his feet, but he does have some small diameter ones he uses too, and he is willing to climb on cage bars, crutches, couches, etc etc etc as well.

SailBoat 12-17-2020 02:09 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
The name is: Harrison's Adult Lifetime.

Hope this helps.

Scott 12-28-2020 12:23 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel

Originally Posted by SailBoat (Post 900479)
The name is: Harrison's Adult Lifetime.

Hope this helps.

This is exactly what I was going to suggest, thanks My Friend!

My flock initially transitioned to Harrison's via High Potency for about two months. Switching to Adult Lifetime Course was no problem, they love both varieties equally.

Perhaps the Lifetime variety will cut a few calories for Alex. I'm at a loss to suggest much else, not having sufficient experience. Perhaps you can get Alex to simply walk around, advice given to older humans who seek trim down without excessive musculoskeletal strain?

SailBoat 12-28-2020 03:17 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
Movement is clearly one of the best tools to help reduce weight. Although I have said it over and over; anytime a Parrot flaps its wings, that drives their cardiovascular system, which uses energy stores... The pressure on the legs and feet is about 20% less than when they are perched, so even Parrots with leg and foot issues can flap in place

Greatly limit sugar and those food sources that contain it. Fruits can contain fairly high levels of natural sugar, especially freeze dried, and should be limited within a diet.

Increase wet veggies in the diet.

Betrisher 12-29-2020 01:46 AM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
Yes! Flapping in place is indeed another great exercise! Being a tiny cockatoo, your Alex might take to hanging upside-down from a rope. All you do is hold the rope between your hands and encourage him to hop on. If he feels like it, he'll eventually drop down so that he's hanging. Then he'll flap (they all do).

Rosetta taught me all about this when she first arrived. She spends a great deal of time swinging from the bottom of her three-foot hanging rope and flapping to keep the momentum going. :)

bug_n_flock 12-30-2020 01:11 PM

Re: Excersize plans for a very fat and old beloved cockatiel
Alrighty folks! So! An update!

We are low on a few things, so we will be placing orders soon. We are NOT low on Harrison's, BUT all we have is the high potentcy super fine(Alex is a wuss and doesn't tought larger pellets, other than to throw them across the room LOL). We will save the high potentcy stuff for when we resume budgie breeding operations, and we will place a mysafebirdstore order for some of the Harrison's regular superfine and some bird toy parts.

Last night I got him to do a bit of flapflap on my hand. After a short time he was obviously annoyed and flap/hopped to my shoulder so I called it good enough. Don't want to overdo it. Today he seems a bit more active? Tho that could just be in my head. He isn't a young bird, but cockatiels can and do live a lot longer than 18/19 years.

I will do the flapflap thing daily if he will tolerate it, in addition to obsticle courses and controlled budgie harassment. :)

Happy New Year! This year Mr. Bird has a be more active/lose weight resolution, even if he doesn't know it. ;) :yellow1:

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