Friday, May 20, 2011

Bird Leg Deformities

If you missed the comment question at the end of the previous post, here it is with my answer:

“Hi Gail! I am about to get a baby Bourke's - I've had tiels and doves and others (some handicapped) for the last 30+ years, but have never had a Bourke. This baby is special, having a leg apparently splayed to the rear. If I could post a photo, I would... apart from offering flat perches, etc. do you have any advice to offer? Have you ever seen a defect/deformity of this type? The baby does attempt to use the leg/foot."

Answer: I once had a Budgie who lost a leg to a cat. She managed to live out a long life by standing on one leg and did okay. She could fly and land on a perch one-legged. Animals are amazingly adaptable. If your bird seems to fall off perches, then a low perch is wise, or possibly a flat shelf. Bourkes are sweet little birds and yours should make a nice pet in spite of the deformity.

That said, here is another possibility. See the photos sent to me early last year by Debbie in San Diego. This baby Splendid parakeet had a problem that was possibly worse than your Bourke’s. Look at the solution Debbie in San Diego devised. It seemed to work for this baby.

Debbie wrote:
“Scarlet is still doing great. She is now in a big cage and has most of her feathers. She has even made a few attempts at fluttering around. The splint is off. The first two days I wasn’t sure if it had worked. Her legs seemed weak and she sat down often, but after two days she gained strength and now all is good. The various perches in her cage are low and she climbs all over them. I am still feeding her, but she also plays around in the food bowls.”

Perhaps your bird might benefit from something similar, or perhaps it will use the muscles in its leg and over time recover on its own. It sounds as though it may have laid incorrectly in the nest in such a way that it caused the leg to splay outward. Pine shavings help to avoid this. Or, maybe it's something else entirely.

Best of luck with your young Bourke.

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