The Keel Bone of a Pet Bird's Body Condition

Close-Up Of Parrot Perching

When it comes to pets, "body condition" typically relates to whether the animal is too thin, too fat, or in decent shape. Although it is an inaccurate assessment, monitoring body condition can help keep your pet healthy by allowing for the identification of weight fluctuations that may suggest a problem. A health problem might be indicated by weight loss or being underweight. Weight growth, on the other hand, should be maintained to avoid obesity and its related health concerns. Although it is very easy to determine bodily health visually and by feel in certain pets, the best approach to check the condition of birds is to weigh them frequently.

Weighing Birds

It's advisable to invest in a decent scale (such as a bird scale, postal scale, or any other scale that measures weight in grams) and use it to track your bird's weight on a regular basis. Weight loss is frequently the greatest approach to discover a potential health problem early because birds are skilled at masking indications of disease. Baby parrots should be weighed every day, while larger parrots should be measured at least once or twice a week, according to experts. Keep accurate weight records for your bird so you can see patterns early. A 5% weight loss is extremely dangerous for your bird and can only be noticed by weighing it on a regular basis.

Feeling the Keel Bone

This is inexact and certainly not the greatest technique to track your bird's health over time. It is a useful, rapid approach to examine body condition and avoid underweight (and maybe ill) birds when selecting a new bird. The keel is a long, thin, flat bone that projects from the bird's chest wall (breastbone) at an angle. Muscles join to both sides of the keel bone, and the bone's edge can normally be felt running along the bird's midline from the chest to the belly.

Hold the bird on its back and use a couple of fingers to feel for the keel on the midline of the chest and belly. The keel runs longitudinally down the breast and belly, and the easiest way to feel for its prominence is to move your fingers side to side across it.

The edge of the bone can usually be felt, although it is more or less level with the muscles on the bird's chest, so it is not very noticeable. The keel bone is quite evident in a slender (underweight) bird, and the edge of the bone feels very pointed. It's difficult to feel the keel in a fat bird (often there is just a groove where the keel would normally be felt). Newly weaned chicks are generally slender, but you want a bird in good condition—you should be able to feel the keel readily but it should not be unduly obvious.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.