Splayed legs in Budgies

The term "Splayed Legs" refers to a condition in Budgies in which the legs of the bird are distorted away from the normal position.  The legs are seen to be pointed sideways instead of forward.  The bird struggles to walk.  In severe conditions, the bird may not be able to stand at all.

The Exact reasons for splayed legs is not fully known.  A wide variety of causes are suspected such as a mother sitting too heavily on a chick, calcium deficiency, slippery nest floor, etc.

Preventing Splayed legs

Give your budgies plenty of calcium.  Calcium strengthens the bones and prevents them from getting splayed.  Calcium can be given by putting a cuttle bone inside the cage for your budgies to chew on.   You can also give them calcium supplements your vet may prescribe. 

It is important to ensure that the floor of the nest is not slippery.  An ideal nest surface would be concave.  It is a good idea to put wood shavings in the nest floor to prevent slipping.

Another idea would be to put a pebble in the nest floor, between the eggs, so that the mother budgie does not sit too tightly over the chicks. 

Splayed legs can be corrected when detected early.  A popular method of correcting them is by putting splints which hold the legs straight in very young chicks.  Intervention at later stages does not help.  Hence, it is important to identify the problem early.

Prognosis

Splayed legs result in reduced quality of life for the budgie.  Budgies with splayed legs may not be able to fly as they cannot "take off".  Neither can they land.  They usually have to be content climbing the bars of the cage to reach their perch. 

In cases of severe splaying, the breast bones may have to carry the body weight as they legs are spread wide apart.  This can be make it difficult for the budgie to breathe and can cause death.

However, there are survival stories as well.  I had a budgie which was born splayed.   She grew to be a happy bird and a successful mother who raised many chicks.  A born survivor, she would climb the walls of the cage holding on to the bars with her beak.