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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7621
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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My bird jumped and hurt his leg...wont walk, but no visable

Customer Question

My bird jumped and hurt his leg...wont walk, but no visable disfigurment or scrreaming
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.

I'm August Abbott, cert. avian specialist; owner of N.CA Parrot Rescue. Give me just a few minutes to review your question & respond. I'm with you

Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 months ago.

Leg fractures happen sometimes with the most minor of events, like a hard fall from a perch, cage top or crash into a wall or window. Sometimes it’s the result of another animal, human or any number of accidents that can happen.
What’s most important is to have your bird evaluated to decide where the break or fracture is and how bad.
The ‘shin bone’ (tibiotarsal) is the most often fracture seen. Generally speaking, a special tape can be employed to splint the leg for approximately a month to set and heal certain types of these fractures successfully.
When the fracture is of the femur (thigh bone), surgery is necessary.

--- So you see, it's vitally important to have a hands on exam in order to determine what this is and exactly where. I have a gorgeous Scarlet macaw in sanctuary right now with two previously broken legs that never healed right and now she's doomed to a life of deformity, special needs and times of 'sobbing' when she thinks she's alone and no one can hear. Nothing will rip your heart out more than something like this, especially knowing that with early care it never had to become a permanent disability

The bot***** *****ne here is that we will rarely see where the bone is broken or what kind of break it is - we'd need Xray vision.

Also, with birds - even more so than with any other animals on this planet - they are top 'professionals' when it comes to not showing pain. It's how they evolved so successfully over 65 million years. A dog or cat will cry out every time; a bird will almost never do that. So looking for symptoms of pain in even a badly injured bird can just lead to the bird suffering and the injury becoming permanent because the owner doesn't know

Obviously you love your companion and he trusts you with his life so don't let him down and get him seen quickly.


Though specialized avian vets are ideal, any vet who sees a majority of birds or at least 1/3 of their practice consisting of birds is a good choice.
If you have a Pet Smart, you have Banfield Clinic inside, open 7 days a week and they see birds.
If you have a Pet Co, they have a list of vet names that they use for themselves and are happy to give you, ask for 'bird vets'.

---First things first: Get the bird in a safe, enclosed, secure environment where movement is limited for their own safety and comfort. You'll want a brooder box. This is a sort of ‘intensive care unit' at home.
For a makeshift brooder, use a small box lined with soft clothes like tee shirts.
Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot. Tuck this in just under the cloths.
A heating pad under one half of the box is also helpful, set on low. This is one of the few times I’d ever use both heat sources if necessary to maintain incubation temp (90-105 degrees).
If ever using an electric source for heating anything in anyway, please be vigilant and constantly double checking carefully.
Gently drape a light cover over this box to further help hold heat in and keep light low.

Good luck and let me know how you do