Monitoring Your Pet Bird's Body Condition by Weighing and Feeling the Keel Bone

Monitoring Your Bird’s Body Condition

April 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Even though our pet birds are domesticated, there are still some natural characteristics that remain in them, such as the instinct to hide weight loss. In the wild birds are able to mask illness and weight loss as their lives depend on it. It is a survival feature that allows them not to look like the most vulnerable bird, thus protecting themselves from predators. Even in captivity birds can still do the same, and monitoring their weight will allow bird owners to establish if their bird is hiding illness or is in good body condition.

Body condition refers to the weight of your pet bird. If a bird is too thin, it could show signs of illness. If a bird is overweight, owners will be able to monitor their feeding habits to assist them in losing weight. It is vital for the bird owner to monitor the bird’s weight, as obesity can also lead to a number of health problems. The most effective and convenient way to monitor a bird’s weight is to buy a bird scale or any scale that is able to measure weight in grams. It is usually recommended that birds be weighed once a week when they are adults, and daily in younger birds, enabling owners to monitor their weight closely. When weighing a bird, owners should take into account whether the bird has been given a treat and depending if weighing times vary, the weight could vary too.

Another method of ensuring that a pet bird is in top body condition is to feel its keel bone. The keel bone is stands out from the chest bone and runs down the front of the bird, from the chest wall, at right angles. By gently moving one’s fingers across the keel bone, moving from top to bottom, the body condition can also be assessed. There are muscles attached to the keel bone, so in healthy birds, the edge of the keel bone should be able to be felt, while in obese birds, the keel bone will be harder to feel. In sickly birds, suffering from weight loss, the feel bone will be sharp and extremely prominent. Monitoring the body condition of a bird is vital to the overall health and welfare of domestic birds, and by assessing their weight and keeping notes on their weight variances, owners will be able to ensure that their birds are always healthy and happy.

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