Judging The Right Weight For Your Bird

Judging The Right Weight For Your Bird

 October 13th, 2010
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Congo african grey

Obesity in parrots is one of the most common health concerns we owners face, maybe second to certain vitamin deficiencies. It is a serious concern and one that will affect the health and well-being of your parrot in the years to come.
I have found that many parrot owners really don’t have any idea what their bird’s healthy weight should be. There are lists out there that will give you the approximation for your bird’s species, but few of them take into account that each bird is an individual – some are just small and others large for their species.  I have two male standard cockatiels whose weights differ by a whopping 30 grams, more than a third of the weight of the smaller bird. Both are healthy and right on target.

Blue throated macaw

The best listing I have found is this one, because it gives you a high end and low end weight to gauge by, and because it has been compiled by someone with actual bird experience and not just text book knowledge. Still, it can’t be considered gospel.
I weigh my birds frequently and log the numbers into a journal so that I can see any weight fluctuations on a week by week basis. This is one of the best ways to determine their overall health. A rapid weight loss will tell you immediately that there is a health matter that needs to be addressed right away. A slow decline in weight should also send up red flags.
Aside from using a scale, I also take a hands-on approach by handling each of my birds. If a bird is underweight, the keel bone, which runs down the center of the chest, will protrude to varying degrees. It isn’t always evident by sight. I also put my hand around their chest and tuck a finger under each wing where it connects to the body. In this area, and down along the sides of the body, I am checking for anything that feels fat or flabby. A bird’s chest is very muscular and should feel that way.

Rose breasted cockatoo

In order to ensure that your bird is a healthy weight, food should be offered in moderation, especially the treats. A healthy diet isn’t an over-abundant one.  Providing your bird with lots of opportunities for exercise and activity will help keep weight issues under control and improve muscle tone.

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5 Comments on “Judging The Right Weight For Your Bird”

Narelle  10/14/2010 9:19 am

My 6 month old male ecletus feels a bit skinny to me, but I assume that is because he is still a juvenile. When should a bird assume its adult weight?

Emily Jordan  10/15/2010 9:10 am

This African Grey is so beautiful!!

Sarah Perry  10/20/2010 6:36 pm

how often should our kids be fed? I have a bowl of seed/pellet mix out all day that i change out every 4th or 5th day and a bowl that i put wet food in once a day? Is that a good plan?

Patty  10/20/2010 11:54 pm

Hi Sarah,
Here’s a link to a post about how much and how often to feed: http://www.old1.birdtricks.com/blog/how-often-and-how-much-to-feed-your-birds/. Hope it helps!

Patty  10/20/2010 11:56 pm

Hi Cheryl,
If your bird’s poops don’t improve in the next day or so, a trip to the vet will be necessary.