by Heike Ewing Ott
Splay legs is a condition that sometimes affects parrots, including Quakers. If it is caught early, the breeder can usually correct the problem. Otherwise, the bird usually lives with the condition the rest of its life. This article provides tips for caring for a splay-legged parrot.
I have a pet Quaker, named Beaker, who is splay-legged. A bird having splayed legs, or feet, means that the legs and feet stick out to the sides more than they should instead of being “straight.” This condition can be the result of many things, including lack of bedding in the nestbox, calcium deficiency, broken legs, or the hen “sitting” on the chick too heavily.
Beaker’s degree of splayedness is relatively minor. He has no difficulties perching or climbing around. He does have some trouble holding food in his foot and eating it as many other Quakers do, but it is a minor frustration. He can eat out of a dish just fine. He looks terribly funny when he walks (more like waddles) on a flat surface, but it doesn’t seem to bother him any.
If the bird is severely splay-legged and unable to stand up, walk, or perch, it is a whole different story. The bird will need special care and probably a specially modified cage. “Special” parrots can be very rewarding. It’s a great feeling to help a physically challenged parrot and provide it a loving, happy home and the care that it needs, BUT it is a big responsibility and sometimes is a lot of work.
I would look at the bird, try to evaluate its capabilities, and possibly take it to an avian vet who can help you determine just how severe it is and whether any degree of correction may be possible before deciding whether to buy it.