Living with a disabled parrot

Would you dare to adopt a disabled parrot?
Unfortunately, many people say no to that question. People’s motivations for hesitation vary from person to person. For some, these are purely aesthetic considerations. A bird with an amputated leg or wing is less beautiful.

It is a pity that perfection is still so prized today. There are also those who wonder if the disabled bird can be happy and have a good quality of life despite its limitations. The answer to this question could be that it depends on the disability and its severity. Many parrots with physical limitations can have a very good life if one takes the trouble to adapt to the cage and the environment accordingly. This often requires a great deal of patience and ingenuity, but the return of affection and recognition of the assisted animal is well worth it. Be aware, however, that the decision to amputate a bird must be made after doing everything to save the sick member.

A number of disabilities occur at a very young age and these parrots are never put up for sale. They are mostly eliminated. Some are better off. A good Samaritan agrees to adopt them. However, the adoption rate of these individuals remains very low as few people are exposed to birds with disabilities. Some shelters give them a second chance, but they still have to be brought there before they are killed. Of course, we must not put an animal in misery by wanting it to live at all costs, but a blind or crooked bird knows very well how to organize itself. A crooked beak or missing fingers really don’t affect the quality of life. Assessment of each case is rigorous and sound judgment is required.

Congenital defects

Umbilicus not closed

The parrots do indeed have a navel. It is through the umbilicus that the embryo is attached to the egg yolk, from which it draws its sustenance during its stay in the egg. Failure to close the umbilicus is rare. Sometimes it manifests itself as a more or less large bump at the place where the umbilicus is normally located. In other situations, the intestines or internal organs come out through a small hole in the skin. Surgical correction is possible, but it must be done quickly. The little ones presented when an infection has already occurred are less likely to recover. Chicks who receive care quickly do not have sequelae.

Heart condition

A parrot can be born with a sick heart. Different defects are possible, but often the problem is associated with an improper closure of the bulkhead between the two ventricles. Often, the condition remains unknown until the first visit to the veterinarian. A breath is then heard at the auscultation.

Small attentions help the sick bird:

avoid stress, violent exercises, food containing salt. The heart bird can have a very good life.


Hydrocephalus, commonly referred to as a head of water, is a more or less serious condition depending on its magnitude. The more fluid there is in the cranium, the more severely the bird is neurologically affected. The disability may be moderate (the parrot remains functional) or maybe totally incompatible with life. Euthanasia is sometimes the best solution.

The eyes

Several defects can affect the eyes: cataracts, tiny eyeballs, absence of eyeballs and even fused eyelids. The quality of the vision of these birds varies depending on the problem. It should be noted that a blind parrot can live very well and be happy if its environment is well adapted and that we avoid modifying it.