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ZuPreem Learning Center - Spot the Signs Of Obesity In Your Parrot

Are You Watching Your Bird's Figure?

Obesity is a common condition in companion birds and occurs when they consume more calories than they can expend over an extended period of time. Lack of flight activity and a diet rich in fatty seeds are common causes of obesity. Your bird could be obese if its body weight exceeds the normal body weight (within normal variation) for its species by 15 percent or more.

Here's how to tell if your bird is overweight

Take a minute to perform a quick home exam. Start by observing your bird's stance. A wider than normal stance can be a sign of obesity. Next, check for a small roll of fat, a "double chin" visible under the beak. Also, look for small yellow or white fat deposits in the abdomen, along the flanks, inner thighs, upper breast and crop area. Finally, check for any bald patches where feather tracts may have separated due to fat under the skin.

You can also weigh your bird

To do this at home, use an electronic scale that measures in grams, not ounces, to detect small weight fluctuations. Of course, the best way to be sure is to have your pet weighed and examined by your avian veterinarian.

Health risks associated with obesity

Obesity increases your bird's risk of developing many serious diseases, including heart disease, liver disease, fatty tumor formation (lipomas) and respiratory distress during exercise and play. Obesity is also associated with abnormal feathering, egg binding and infertility.

What you can do

If you suspect your bird may be obese, see your veterinarian for a complete and thorough physical examination, as well as for advice on how to change your bird's diet to a healthier one. Along with more exercise, converting your bird from a seed-based diet to a more nutritionally balanced extruded diet could be the answer. Remember that any weight-loss regimen for your bird should be done with your veterinarian's guidance.

How does your bird weigh in?

The following table expresses approximate normal body weights for some mature bird species in terms of both the average weight and a range of acceptable variances (+/-) from the average.

Species Average Weight
(+/- grams)
Scarlet Macaw 1,001 151
Blue & Gold Macaw 1039 102
Military Macaw 925 57
Hyacinth Macaw 1355 95
Umbrella Cockatoo 403 57
Moluccan Cockatoo 577 71
Greater Sulphur Crested-Cockatoo 843 147
Citron Cokatoo 357 34
Grand Eclectus 432 40
African Grey 554 66
Blue-Fronted Amazon 432 51
Mexican Red-Headed Amazon 360 24
Yellow-Naped Amazon 596 85
Double Yellow-Headed Amazon 596 61
Budgerigar 30 *
Lovebird 45 *
Cockatiel 80 *

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