Keeping Your Bird’s Feet Healthy

Birds may be small and light, but their feet still play a crucial role in their health. Our feathered pals can develop some very painful—and even debilitating—foot problems. These issues can be as simple as blisters, or as complex as tumors, infections, or nerve damage. However, they are all very painful for Polly! Here, a Sugar Land, TX vet discusses caring for your bird’s feet.


Because wild birds stand on many different types of surfaces, their feet endure a lot of wear and tear. Therefore, Polly’s claws grow quite fast. So do the scales on her feet, which would be sloughed off quickly in the wild. You will need to trim your bird’s claws regularly. It’s also important to make sure she is shedding her foot scales properly. Otherwise, she could develop some very painful issues! Ask your vet for specific advice.


A poor diet—particularly one that contains too much protein, milk, or egg—can cause your bird’s feet to become swollen and painful, much like gout does in humans. Polly’s feet may also start emitting discharge, which will make dirt and droppings stick to them. Offer your winged pal a proper diet, one that contains plenty of Vitamin A, and make sure she gets sufficient free time. Keeping your pet’s cage clean is also very important. Dirty cages can cause serious foot infections!

Warning Signs

Inspect your winged buddy’s feet regularly, and watch for warning signs. Some common ones are discharge, swelling, limping, blisters, scale buildup, red spots, weakness, curled toes, heat, and bent or broken nails. If Polly’s feet hurt, she may shift her weight continuously, scream, or be reluctant to walk. Some birds will also show other symptoms, such as a lack of appetite. Ask your vet for more information.


Birds need a variety of perches to have healthy feet. Getting the right size perch is crucial: ones that are too big or too small can damage Polly’s feet. Your feathered friend will need perches of several different materials and strengths. It’s also important to clean the perches regularly. Wash them in hot, soapy water, and then dry them in the oven for an hour at 200°F. If you use regular branches, clean them the same way.

Do you have questions about caring for your bird’s feet? Contact us, your Sugar Land, TX pet hospital, today!

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