Ask Lafeber


December 21, 2018


Hello I bought a sun conure with splayed legs and was told that he is 2 and half , towel trained and very friendly .
He is scared of everything , towels , he grips the bars on his cage. He didn’t come out of his cage. What can I do to help him .? He will get out of the cage if you leave the door open . I have had him about 4 or 5 months. He screams with my other birds. No one can get near him , he doesn’t want anyone around his cage. He watches me play with all of the other birds , I just pretend I don’t see him and I would love to hold him. I don’t feel like the breeder was honest about someone socializing with him and being towel trained. But any help would be deeply appreciate .


Hi Toni,

I am sorry you are having this experience and I am sorry for the poor bird. I don’t know if you were misled – I am a bit surprised that the bird was sold and not given to a good home. I do want to warn you that splayed legs are not just an outward issue. Many splayed leg birds also have internal deformities and in general have shorter life spans due to stress on the organs from the way the bird has to lay most of the time. It depends on how severe the splaying is. I don’t want to start an issue here, but perhaps start a dialog with the breeder about this. It has just been my experience that most breeders find a good home for a bird like this.

You have certainly given the bird plenty of time to settle in. Possibly he was good with the breeder, but is highly stressed since he lived there for so long and was then moved. Maybe he was tame to begin with and had not been handled for a long time. Were you able to handle the bird at the breeder’s? Again, I don’t want to say anything against a breeder, not knowing who it is or the entire situation. But there is some concern here if you were not able or allowed to handle him when you bought him. Because of his legs, he may feel more vulnerable than a normal bird.

All I can suggest is for you to keep being patient with him, talk softly to him, spend time around him and he may eventually come around. Handicapped birds can be wonderful pets – I have owned many handicapped birds over the years. Keep handling your other birds in front of him, but go ahead and speak to him and ask him if he wants to be loved, just talk to him. Even if he never gets comfortable being handled, you can give him a loving home by letting him be the bird he needs to be. He is enjoying the other birds or he wouldn’t vocalise with them.

I do hope you can make progress with him. I can give you our behavior links, but really I feel like you are doing all you can do for now. Some birds take a lot of time and some birds simply never seek human interaction. At least he has the other birds for company and he may be content with that.

Caring For Your Bird

Good luck with him – and keep us updated!

Happy Holidays!


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