Splay legged/Spraddle Legged Birds


New member
Jul 28, 2011
Lovebird (Scooter) Rest in Peace :(
Hahns Macaw (Odin)
RIP. Baby Budgie Bird :'(
Hi everyone. I am a owner of a splayed legged lovebird. For those of you how don't know what that is, here is the definition: A young bird with its legs horizontal to its body so that it can not stand up. This condition results from insufficient amount of nesting material, lack of proper calcium or the parent sitting too hard on the chicks. It is correctable, but needs to be done by 8 weeks of age I believe. She was born on too smooth of a surface and nothing was done to correct it, both legs stick straight out to the side. She can get around very good, and she will be a year old in October. I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there that has/ had a splayed legged bird.
The first thing I did after getting her was research splayed leg, I was personally disgusted with the lack of information on this issue, most sites only had information on how to correct the legs, which it was way to late to do. The odd site I found with information said that splayed legged birds will never eat on their own, and never live a normal life, they even stated that it was a "very cruel way to live". I personally disagree 100% with the statements on that site. My little Scooter bird (she said "Scooter Bird" today!!) is the happiest bird you will ever meet. She can get around just fine, she can climb up toys, eat on her own, fly and land on anything with little to no trouble at all. She can even "stand up" on her own if she has something to prop at least one foot up. Her personality is absolutely amazing and I have yet to meet a lovebird like her. (In case you couldn't tell I love my little Scooter bird so much, and I'm so glad to have her in my life). I'm hoping that someone else has a bird like mine and is also upset with the lack of useful information out there. I understand that the bird will not have a "normal" life per say, but that doesn't mean that people who have splay legged birds are evil, cruel people because we keep them.
So if there is anyone out there that has a Splayed legged bird, please send me a message I would love to hear from you and see pictures of him/her!
Thanks for listening!


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She's adorable and she really is so cute! These birds are lucky to have good owners who don't overlook their personalities because of their legs!

Say hello to Merlin

His left (or what we always end up calling his 'back leg') is splayed, he's now over 4 months old and manages just fine. We are however doing physiotherapy with him to turn his leg completely backwards (wont go forwards :p) so he can walk 'properly' and grip toys etc which he struggles to do with just the 'one' good leg.

Would be nice to hear about your little Lovebird and how she manages with her bad legs, I think it might make it a tiny bit easier for me to cope with Merlins 'disability' as sometimes I do get a bit upset that he won't lead a completely 'normal' life. Even though for the most part he's completely happy with it. :)
A handicapped bird will find other ways to get around & live out a normal happy life.
Most breeders of these birds would usually cull them. I must say i have seen some very bad cases over the years & some of them were put to sleep because they would have never had any sort of quality of life.

I have been given or helped some of my friends who have bred chicks with splayed legs. Sometimes we can get the legs reasonably straight if we work with them from about 1 week old & the bones are still soft. Most of the time it's not the actual leg but the joint is dislocated. Very hard to put back into place & usually slips out again.

This problem can also be caused by congenital abnormality, injury, chick to fat, & premature closure of the lateral growth plate of proximal tibiotarsus. If this sort thing keeps happening with the same parents they are stopped from breeding.

As far as more info on the subject what were you really looking for how to look after a handicapped bird or more info on why this happens.
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Here are some videos that my roommate put on youtube of Scooter. The one with the candle holder is one of my favourites, she tried for days to get to the middle and "stand' on the candle holder. When we were filming her she finally made it and she was so proud of herself. :) [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJkeEq-8ulo]‪Scooter vs. Candleholder‬‏ - YouTube[/ame]
The next one is one of Scooter getting her ball. Almost every time I told her to get her ball she did. She's so cute. [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWHX_DcLoqQ]‪Scooter's new toy‬‏ - YouTube[/ame]

Mayden: Merlin is so cute :) I'm so glad that you gave him a wonderful home. I hope you like the videos, is kind of shows how Scooter gets around. There's no need to get upset because he wont live a "normal" life. I was worried about that with Scooter, but she's constantly playing with her toys and ringing her bells. I have never cut her wings, since she can't walk I figured I better let her fly. She's very good at flying and it's on of her favourite things to do. Merlin knows that he can't move around like a normal bird and he will learn how to get around even with his disability, just be happy he's here today. Scooter had a sibling but it didn't make it. Scooter would follow her parents around the cage and beg for food all the time. The other one never tired to move and the parents never went to go feed it. Scooter is a fighter in my opinion, and all I'm concerned with is making her life as happy as possible. I think I'm doing a good job so far. :) Please keep in touch, it would be wonderful to hear how you are doing with Merlin, and I would love to help you anyway I can!
This makes me curious. Would it be possible to get X rays, or would that be a bad idea? That way you might be able to tell if it's a bone issue at this point, or a soft tissue problem. I've never heard of this condition before, but I'm very interested in structure and motor patterns.
What a gorgeous girl! It's unfortunate that she couldn't be fixed early on, but now what's important is making sure her life is the best it can be! I have heard all sorts of things regarding what causes splayed leg. I have heard improper diet or nesting material, but I personally have had one and my birds are on pellet, calcium, seed, fresh fruits, veggies, millet the works! My nests are also set up correctly. I have also heard it's common with first time breeders who sit on one chick more then the others, or an overly aggressive male who is squashing a chick.
She is a beautiful, obviously happy bird. Well done!
i have a lovebird, lola, who started having seizures and couldn't move her legs. i thought she was going to die, her feet were curled under her and she couldn't grip. i gave calcium supplements and had to syringe feed her. then after a few weeks she was sitting on a perch and eating. i think its a miracle cos now you wouldn't know there was anything wrong!
I love the videos of Scooter - sorry it's taken me so long to reply, I get a bit emotional about pets like this. Even more so when they are 'hard done by' but don't seem to notice it and just live a happy life! She looks like a great little madam.

Great to hear about Lola too, she's beautiful and I'm glad you got her back to good health again.

Merlin's leg is supposed to be from when he was sat on as a chick (what we've been told about him) and as much as he seems happy he does still struggle, so we're going to try all this first and maybe eventually we'll consider an operation for him if the physio doesn't work. I'm not doing this because I want a 'perfect' bird, I just want him to be able to play with his toys and hold his food. etc. as it makes me sad watching him hobble/limp around and having to lie down for him to grasp things. Ho hum, I guess we shall see anyway.

I remember a bird in the pet store about a year or two ago, and she was beautiful and she had a really bad splayed leg, it was at a 90 degree angle from her other one, she was the sweetest thing but wasn't bought for ages due to her leg. Such a sweety, wish I could remember her breed. She was a large pinky parrot. :)
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This makes me curious. Would it be possible to get X rays, or would that be a bad idea? That way you might be able to tell if it's a bone issue at this point, or a soft tissue problem. I've never heard of this condition before, but I'm very interested in structure and motor patterns.

Once I have the money saved up (I've been saving for a while) I want to get her X-Rayed for sure. As far as I know it's her actual leg bones that grew out that way. What happened is she was born on a very smooth surface and wasn't able to keep her feet under her, so now they both stick out to the side. It's not that common of a thing to happen, most people make sure they have a proper nest, but apparently that didn't happen with my Scooter bird.

Lola is a beautiful little bird :) I'm so glad to hear that she's doing better. It's hard having an animal that can't move properly. Your a very good owner, lola is lucky to have you! I felt terrible for Scooter the first few weeks I had her. But then I realized that she's a super happy bird even though her legs are messed up.

Thank you mrod, I tried really hard from the beginning to make sure she was the happiest bird you ever met, and I believe I did a good job too. She is even starting to say "Scooter Bird" It's the cutest thing I've ever heard!

Mayden, try not to be so hard on yourself. You have given a special bird a wonderful home. He knows that he's safe and loved and that's all that really matters. I know it's tough watching him try to get around. I cried many times when I first got Scooter because I honestly wasn't sure if she was going to make it. But let me tell you the first time I seen Scooter climbing up and down the side of my other bird cage I cried tears of joy, because I honestly never thought she could do that.

IolaniAviary, you got it right, that's usually what causes Splay leg. It's a shame that it happens. Some people just shouldn't have pets at all. Sounds like your an awesome pet owner! Keep it up :) From what I've heard and read most bird will only have one splay leg, not 2. Some sites tried to say that birds with both legs splayed will never be able to eat on their own, or live a "normal" life. As you can see they are VERY wrong about that. I got the bird to prove it!

Honestly I get a few people that tell me I should have put her down, and that I'm a bad person because I keep her. The only real difference is I keep Scooter in a very large, well ventilated glass fish tank. Since she can't really climb and I'm scared of her falling from high up, I figured that was the best thing to have her in. I want to thank all of you for your responses and positive feedback about Scooter. She is the poster bird for splayed legged birds, so happy and full of life :) I will be adding more videos to youtube soon. So I will add them on here if anyone is interested in seeing more of my Scooter bird.

Thanks again Everyone!!
The fact that the breeder never even fixed her shows that they didn't care. That's terrible, I couldn't imagine watching a chick suffer like that knowing I could fix it. She is so lucky to have you, I can't even explain how wonderful it is that you love her so dearly. Most people would not try to work with a handicap.
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The fact that the breeder never even fixed her shows that they didn't care. That's terrible, I couldn't imagine watching a chick suffer like that knowing I could fix it. She is so lucky to have you, I can't even explain how wonderful it is that you love her so dearly. Most people would not try to work with a handicap.

Nope, they didn't care at all. When they brought her into my store, they said if no one took her they were going to "dispose" of her. I couldn't let that happen. When I got her I still had to hand feed her and everything and it was so worth it :) Yes I absolutely adore her, she has an amazing personality (but shes still got an attitude, she is a lovebird after all) and I can't imagine my life without her. Thank you so much for your kind words, like I said some people think I'm terribly evil for keeping her. They are very wrong and obviously don't know anything.
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I just added a Scooter Album on my profile if anyone is interested in seeing more pictures of her.
I had a dove that was born with one legg out. it couldnt do anything and bled daily now its been putdown due to stress
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I had a dove that was born with one legg out. it couldnt do anything and bled daily now its been putdown due to stress

I'm sorry to hear that :( Poor thing. Why and where would it bleed if you don't mind me asking?
Because im on my phone i cannot go into great detail. But id suggest reading more posts on the forum, mainly about Merlin or Scooter. If you go to my Facebook cat gisicki, on my about me will be a thigh called 'Avain Care' and read some mire sprayed legged stuff.

You can also pm me here and ill respond in better detail when i can. Could you post pictures of your bird and setup so we can ssuggest some things specifically for your baby :)
Hello! I hope I am doing this right (new,and confused user). I have a 7 week old cockateil ,peanut, who was going to be disposed of due to having splayed legs because of poor nesting choices by the owner. I banded her legs and she was doing fine for the last two weeks but since yesterday she just wants to lay, or squat, on the bottom of the cage and is not very interested in her baby formula anymore. She is eating seed on her own but not a lot. I am worried because day before yesterday she was fine, playing and perching and chatting her head off. I loosened her bands this morning thinking to give her some relief because it seems her one hip is jutting out now that she is squatting so much. When I take her bands off she can keep both feet under her but when she tried to walk her right leg still wants to splay though she does manage to get it back up under her on her own until she tries to walk again. This is also the hip that seems to be jutting out more. She still cleans herself and whistles back when I whistle at her and she seems ok other then not eating as much. I just cannot understand why all of a sudden she prefers to squat then stand and walk. She was walking fine even with the bands on.he even squats now when I put her on a perch.Any help or avice is greatly appreciated! P.S. I LOVE this site. I am the proud owner of many birds and have rescued more then I can count,even the wild ones! I look forward to using this site a lot!
Scooter is such an amazing little lovebird! I love to see how hard she tries. Maybe you could help her get places when she has trouble, like the candlestick video, but it looks like your doing a great job making her happy!
I'm so glad that I fell on this post. Thank you for sharing Scooter's story.

I'm adopting a pacific parrotlet who, like Zoey is completely splayed. She's still a baby, but apparently it's already too late to have her little legs braced. I'm looking for "cage set up" tips. Any advice you could give me would be most welcomed.

We've had another splayed leg parrot in the past; a Bronze Wing Pionus Parrot named Baby who lived to be 20, but his legs were only half splayed. He got around just fine and lived life his life to the fullest.

Looking forward to hearing back from you
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