How to check your birds shape
Getting hands on is key. Not all birds are used to being handled but it is difficult to judge if your bird is the right weight by sight.
You will need to gently feel your bird, using restraint if necessary.
Use bare hands and not gloves to handle birds as then you
can judge the tightness of grip. If you need to protect
yourself use a cloth or towel.
Small birds can be held in one hand with the neck between
the first and second finger and the bird¿s back against the
palm so that the wings and body are gently restrained in the
Larger parrots may take two people, one to hold the bird and
the other to assess its body condition. A towel or cloth is used
over the open hand to grasp the bird firmly behind its head and
neck. The towel is then wrapped around the wings and body to
prevent flapping. Gently stroking the top of the head and talking
to the bird gently will help to calm it.
Gently run your fingertips down the centre of the front of the
bird in the midline over the breast area. You should be able to
feel a bony ridge (known as the keel or breast bone). This
should be easy to feel but not too prominent.
Next, run your fingers at right angles to the keel across the
breast muscles. If these feel shrunken so that the keel sticks
out prominently your bird is too thin. If the breast muscles are
just rounded but you can still feel the keel your bird is in good
condition. If you cannot feel the keel and the muscles are very
rounded or you can feel or see fat moving underneath the skin
your bird is overweight.
The breast muscle can also vary in size depending on how
much exercise your bird gets so if it flies a lot it will have
larger firmer breast muscles than a bird who does not fly.
However, the same criteria still apply in assessing body
condition prominence of the bony keel and presence of fat
underneath the skin.