Quick intro: My husband and I live in Northern Illinois, US. We have three dogs, 2 are retired racing greyhounds (ages 8 and 9) that came to us after they were done racing and 1 doberman that is 9 months old. We also have two aquariums with various fish, shrimp and a frog.
So yesterday we went to a local pet store to pick up some new dog toys and while we were there this man came in with a box and two baby birds. He brought the birds to the front counter and began demanding that the store buy them. The store employees looked at them and told the man that they could not take either because one of the baby birds had splayed legs and they had no idea if they were healthy or not. They tried to explain to the man that the splayed leg was most likely from not having proper bedding in the nest box and asked him repeatedly to not breed his birds anymore. He, of course, was not listening at all and in broken English just kept insisting that they buy his birds. After a few minutes of trying to explain to the man that they store could not take the birds, the man walked out. Left the birds on the counter, got in his truck and left.
By this time, the store owner had shown up and he took a look at the splayed bird and said they would have to put it down because they couldn't sell it because of it's splayed leg. My husband and I watched this whole thing unfold quietly but hearing the store owner say this infuriated me. This splayed leg is most likely due to HUMAN ERROR. I grew up with farm animals and occasionally chicks would arrive to us with splayed legs that occurred during shipping and I know how to fix it by creating a hobble to stabilize the legs. I did some quick google research while standing in the store and it seemed that this was possible to do with this bird as well. I found conflicting information on how old the bird could be for this to be effective though. Some sites said only within the first few weeks and others said the splay could be fixed until 6 months. The employees had gotten the birds out of the box by this point and determined they were was a parakeets, probably between 8-10 weeks. The other baby, which appeared to be a nest mate still had a small amount of black on his beak, which apparently means they are young?
We spoke to the owner and said that we would take the bird with the splayed legs and see if there was anything we could do for him/her. He agreed to give us a small cage as well since we have nothing bird related.
So, here we are with a bird. We've stablized his legs for know. I don't think his foot will ever point the right way but I think the leg can be corrected...hopefully. And if not, everything I've read has said he'll adapt to his handicap. While standing in the store trying to decide if we were going to take this project on or not I asked my husband, "what are we going to do with a bird?" and his response was "spoil it until the day it dies like everything else that lives with us."
We have a very small cage for him right now. I know we need to get him a MUCH bigger one but I kind of wanted to make sure that he is going to make it first. Is this smaller cage going to be detrimental to him right now, since he's not doing a whole lot of moving at the moment? If it is, we'll get him a bigger one. We removed the grate and lined the bottom with felt so that he can get a better grip. We bought a few toys for him and rope perch, also so he can get a better grip. The other downside of this small cage is that not even all the toys we bought him fit in it He is so, so sweet and will let us handle him and he let us hobble his legs without much of a fight. He's eating and drinking. He does not like coming out of his cage and tries to fly around like a crazy but once he's out, he will sit nicely on our hand. We've tried to leave him alone for the most part yesterday after we got him bound up. We took him out this morning though and worked on his foot on his splayed leg. We made sure he could still open it and grip, which he did. He wrapped both his feet around our fingers.
We've been calling him Charlie. My husband was holding him while I was working on his legs and he started squirming and my husband said, "I know! I'm sorry, Charlie!" And it stuck! Plus it can go either way if our he ends up being a she! The petstore thought boy but said that it was too soon to tell for sure.
We just bought whatever food was at the petstore. Its Kaytee Fiesta Max for parakeets. We are totally open to any suggestions of a better food, and I'm sure there is one! This morning we gave him a small piece of broccoli and he seemed to love it!
Every site I read still varies on the maximum age that this splayed leg can be fixed but I hope that we can improve it at least a little for him! When we first taped them earlier today, the foot on the splayed leg pointed backwards and was upside down but tonight he had it pulled under him and set down the right way so hopefully that means we are making progress! He still sits forward on his chest on the bottom of the cage like in the last picture. Hopefully he just needs a few days to get his strength up and then he'll start moving around more!
I'm going to try to call some area vets tomorrow morning to see if anyone will see Charlie. I don't want to keep taping his legs up if its not going to do him any good, especially if its restricting the use of his good leg at all. Maybe the vet will be able to tell if it will work at his age since so many different sites disagree with each other!
We've done a lot of research in the last 24 hours about what foods he can and can't eat. We've read about how sensitive they are to things in the air and to drafts. We're trying to learn as much as we can as fast as we can so we can provide Charlie with the best life possible!
Any advice of ANY kind is greatly appreciated! We've never had a bird before that wasn't a duck, goose, chicken or turkey! We just want to do what is best for him. Thanks all!
His hobble This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.
Report this image
Just hanging out
Report this image
In his cage with his new rope perch and felt bottom...he spilled his seeds all over and since we were trying to bother him as little as possible yesterday, we just left it