Splayed Legs in Budgerigars Budgie
Splayed legs in budgerigar (budgie) chicks are not natural and indicate that something is wrong with the breeding process. To that end, we will explain the reasons behind this condition and how to prevent and treat them. For budgie enthusiasts, this is important information to have at hand.
There are two types of splayed legs in budgerigars/budgies: the congenital form and the acquired form. The congenital form is acquired before birth when the chick hatches with mal-positioned legs, having been sitting in the egg in the wrong position. The acquired form is the result of factors including an incorrect diet (namely calcium). This does not meet the metabolic requirements of the parents or babies.
To minimise the potential of splayed legs in chicks, it is crucial to feed a complete diet long before the breeding season starts. This will ensure that the nutrition that the hens are able to put into the yolk comes from a nutrient-rich diet. Providing a suitable substrate in the nest box, such as pine wood shavings, coconut husk (fine-grade Critter Comfort), or peat, will also minimise the possibility of chicks from developing splayed legs.
Early Detection of Splayed Legs in Budgerigars/Budgies & How to Remedy Them
If a chick does develop splayed legs, early detection is key. The easiest way to attempt to fix splayed legs is to place a splint on their legs. Soft foam or a pipe cleaner tied between the chick’s legs are common methods. To rectify the issue, you should place the chick on its back and bind its legs together below the ankle. You should leave the splint on for a few days, or up to three weeks. To that end, it will depend on the severity and age of the chick noting that not all attempts to fix splayed legs will have an outcome that is successful.
To conclude, proper husbandry and management can prevent and treat splayed legs in budgerigar/budgie chicks. By feeding a complete diet, providing correct nesting materials, and early detection, breeders can ensure that their budgies are healthy.