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EmilyE

First Time Owners, Budgie With Splayed Leg

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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." smile1.gif

 

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 frown1.gif 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 wol_error.gif This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.

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Just hanging out

IMG_20130323_163332_zps51cced22.jpgReport 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

IMG_20130323_170049_464_zps1194fcba.jpg

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Hi Emily, I have successfully fixed splayed legs using pipe cleaners, I wrap one end around leg 1, through and around leg 2 in a figure 8. Gently shorten loop every couple of days. I don't know how you will go with a bird as old as Charlie. I You could try whichever he seems most comfortable with. I wrap around ankles in little birds and others say above knee, I found it keeps slipping down above knee.You could try whichever he seems most comfortable with. If you've worked with chickens it's just a smaller version really. I find it takes about 2 weeks with little chicks, his bones may already be set in that position but I'd give it a try. I have heard of vet's removing a leg and birds manage.

I think as long as he can perch and fly he would be okay. He may not be able to mate successfully but hey! who know's? Great you rescued him and good luck with it post pics as you go to see if he improves. :)

 

Hi again,

Just to add, Charlie looks male, possibly greywing or dilute? I'm not good on mutations but he's very nice. Also food, give his best quality seed, veg's, cuttle fish or shellgrit or calcium bell for calcium (even liquid calcium in his water while he's legs are mending). Veg's safe foods etc are listed under the f.a.q. section at top of page. Check this list before trying new things as some are toxic, eg. avocado, chocolate, some ferns etc.

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Hello :) Welcome to the forum and to budgie ownership! :D Good luck with your sweet little guy!

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Hi again Emily, just checking your pics again, the last one showing the seed. That mix looks like more a bigger parrot mix, can you get a specific budgerigar mix over there? They eat more millet, canary seed type mixture that is smaller seed that they de-husk themselves. That mix pictured may be okay if he's eating plenty of it or he may just try to pick out certain seed I'd keep an eye on him to see he is actally eating the mix as he may not be getting enough nutrition out of it.

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We got little Charlie in to see an avian vet today since I really wasn't happy with the wrapping that I was able to do on him. The vet thinks that Charlies' hip is so badly dislocated that there is nothing that will fix it. She said each joint looks either dislocated or deformed from the hip down. She also said that it was probably a combination of not enough nest box material as well as extremely poor nutrition from whoever bred him because his other leg is not nearly as strong as it should be either. Since his "good" leg is so weak, he can't even compensate for his bad leg the way another, healthier bird would be able to. The vet said we could attempt to stabilize every joint in the leg and see if a week made any improvements, but that she was not very optimistic. She said if we could keep him eating and drinking and keep him warm and clean, it wouldn't hurt to try, though.

 

The vet asked what I wanted to do and I said I definitely didn't want him to be in pain but I did want to give him every fighting chance we could. So, we stabilized every single joint in his leg and braced his "good" leg so it could support him better while his bad leg heals. And now we wait. In one week we will know what Charlies' future holds. Either we see some improvement with his leg and we know we are getting somewhere or we will call it quits for him because laying on the bottom of a cage is no quality of life for a bird.

 

Robin, the seed food we bought was supposed to be for parakeets but we a switched him to pellets today anyways, which the vet recommended and we have also started a vitamin supplement with calcium. On the advice of the vet, we filled the bottom of his cage with shredded paper towels so that he can prop himself up a little better, too. Now we wait. Please say a few prayers for Charlie this next week and cross any fingers, toes, paws, wings, or fins that he can recover!

 

IMG_20130326_090254_865_zpse5e87d7d.jpg

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Hi good luck with the little fellow hope he improves.

Just a suggestion, make sure he has both seed and pellets until you know for sure he is eating the pellets or he may starve himself as some birds don't recognize them as food so they have to learn to eat them.

Cheers Jenny

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Good luck Emily. I hope it works out for you and Charlie.

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Hi Emily, any update on little Charlie?

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He looks so beautiful :) How is he doing?

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Hello Emily, can you gives us an update on little Charlie? Have his legs improved?

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I've sent Emily a PM. Hopefully it will go to her email inbox, and spur her to come on the forum for an update. There is also the possibility that the outcome wasn't good, and she might not want to talk about it. Fingers crossed!

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Thanks Finnie, was just interested to see if she was successful with an older chick. Fingers crossed here also.

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Hi, all! I'm sorry I never came back to update you. Unfortunately, Charlie passed away on his own 6 days after we brought him home and three days after seeing the vet. We aren't quite sure what happened. Earlier that day he had been moving around his cage, eating, drinking and chirping. He had even managed to pull himself up onto a perch and sit for a little bit! While eating dinner, we put his cage on the table and he was moving all over and "talking" to us. He laid down in his little nesting spot for what we thought was a nap as we finished dinner and by the time the kitchen was clean 20 minutes later he was gone. :( There was no draft or aerosols or anything that would explain it.

 

We spoke with the vet about it the following day and she said that she wasn't surprised. She said she had suspected that he just had such a rough start and such poor nutrition prior to coming to us that it was just too much to overcome with even the best care.

 

Even though we only had six days with Charlie, I hope we made his life a little better. We really tried our best for him! One thing he did do in his short time was us was get us hooked on birds! The house was too quiet after Charlie was gone so we found a local breeder of English budgies and went to visit. We will be bringing home a pair in the next week or so! They had one that looked just like Charlie, so beautiful, but I couldn't do that. Instead we settled on a green one and a blue one. We've spent the last week buying a new cage and toys and prepping for our new additions.

 

Thank you for all the help and concern! I so wish that Charlie had been able to make it!

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Hi Emily, thank you for getting back to bbc. I'm so sorry all your efforts were in vain , I'm sure you made his life a lot better than it would have been, if you hadn't taken him. :( So glad it hasn't put you off having more birds, looks like the bug has bitten. Good luck with your new friends when they arrive. Don't forget BBC for any advice. :)

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Hi Emily. So sorry that you lost Charlie. It sounds like you have found a good breeder for your next bird. :) Even good breeders from time to time will have chicks born with problems, or that are not viable. But from your story about the man demanding that the store take the two birds, it sounds like he wasn't the type to take proper care of his birds, or to do right by the ones he knows have problems. I'm sure he knew he wouldn't be able to make any money off those two, so he didn't want to keep them and deal with them himself. When you get your two new birds, we would love to see pictures of them! :)

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Hi Emily sorry for your loss, you tried everything you could of done. Just about the fixing of splayed legs i use a FISHING SWIVEL you can start with them from as young as 1 week and as the get older swap it for a bigger size SWIVEL. Hope that helps.

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