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Pigeon with hurt leg

3888 Views 24 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Hunterex8
I recently found out about this site from one of my friends. Its really nice! anyway onto the problem. I have this young pigeon i got around 2 weeks ago from a friend, its about 20 days old i think. Two days ago i saw that she was walking funny and looked closer and saw she was holding up her right leg and useing her wings like crutches. I dont see any obvious break or anything, but im really worried. I hope its only a bruise and it will heal by itself. Should I post some pictures to be more clear? Ill go get out my camera if I need too.

Thank you if someone can shed some light on this.
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What is the history of this youngster, what happened to its parents?

Try gently running your fingers along the leg and do so with the good one and compare. Let us know if there is any difference, might be a symptom of disease. Also, do post a picture.

This is most likely a calcium deficiency though, and you need to make sure the baby is getting a balanced diet, like from a baby bird formula, and make sure to give liquid calcium.
A picture would help...can you let us know where you are?
Ok i dont know too much of its parents, but my friend has raised pigeons for like half his life, so hes good with them, he had this baby that the parents stopped feeding for some reason and he asked me if i wanted it, of course i did. I love pigeons. Ive cared for some older ones, one that was just starting to fly, and one that had been hurt and i helped it heal then released it. Ive named my pigeon Snowy, shes beautiful :) ive been feeding her Kaytee Exact, thats suposed to be good for young birds. I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Heres some pics of her.
Looks to be splayed leg, and that can be corrected, but you need to do this now/asap. Get the leg in the position as the other one is, (neatly folded under the body) then use tape to hold the leg in place with the other one...so its positioned the same as the good leg. Sometimes it is better to confine the baby to a small bowl so the foot doesn't come out from under him.

This happens in nest when babies can't get a grip and their legs slide out from under them and will stay that way because they are still growing. It is due to a lack of nesting material, and/or a nest bowl.
Trees Gray is right.

If the leg were bruised you should be looking at discoloration, and the bird would not be trying use its wing tips as crutches.

Splayed leg is essentially a condition that results from poor development of the leg muscles and tendons after the chick hatches out, the result being that there is no support whatever. A chick with an injured leg would know the leg should support it and it would keep trying to walk on it.

Everything looks fine; the chick will need somethings in the nest to grab with its feet and it appears you have provided that. Give it about 14 das.

Best of Luck!
well ive secured her in her nest...but what if she tries to move? wouldnt the tape hurt her? It doesnt stick to her cause its that athletic tape but still im worried.
SHe will try to move around, that is the point; as she learns to use the muscles and tendons that were undeveloped she will become stronger. Meantime you will have to babysit.

By the way, as pigdey moentioned, keep a sharp eye on the diet and make certain she is getting adequate calcium.
You might be able to get a liquid calcium at a health food or drug store.

I'm not an expert but I've been there and done it. I know how frustrating the tape can be, it works with some youngsters and not necessarily with others-depends on their age, therefore the use of the bowl.

I can't really see where the leg is from the pick, but IF the bowl keeps both legs in the normal seated position underneath the bird then that is fine. I would use the tape also-as back up. It looks like its working, as it seems to assimilate a nest bowl.

I have actually used cereal bowls of different sizes to meet the growing needs. If you can find one that actually has higher sides that keep those legs contained (as well as the bird) without beeing too restricting that works best.

Our county rehabber has used childrens play tea cups to restrict legs on tiny parakeet babies, and it worked! :p
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yea im also useing tape in the bowl, but this morning i took her out of it and she was able to walk with her wings and beak, without getting her legs stuck out behind her, so i put her in the nest now without the bowl. It looks like she got used to the tape :)
yea im also useing tape in the bowl, but this morning* i took her out of it and she was able to walk * with her wings and beak, without getting her legs stuck out behind her, so i put her in the nest now without the bowl. It looks like she got used to the tape :)
* do you mean WITHOUT?...

DO keep her in the correct position for about a week-with support of the bowl or tape, as the bones and tendons/ligaments need to have more time to correct. If removed too soon they will go right back to the splayed position.
no i still have the tape on her, but i took her out of the bowl she still tries to walk on her splayed foot but it doesnt seem to hold her up so she uses her wings
Make sure she stays off of it for at least 10 days, two days is not enough time for the correction to be completed.
yea im makeing shure she isnt trying to walk on it too much, i got the liquid calcium but im not shure how much to give her. Should i mix it with water?
One drop in four ounces of water is plenty. If you have iodized salt in the house put a small shake from the salt shaker in as well. Iodine is necessary for the uptake of calcium.

Do not get generous with the calcium; too much is harmful. All she needs is molecules at this point.
The tape looks great, if you keep the legs taped, and keep her in the bowl so shes forced to stand up and down with the legs in place she should be able to develop the muscles so that she can walk without the beak or wings. Its going to be a process, and as already mentioned, it will require babysitting.

Thanks for caring and taking care of this little one. Here are some photos of my bird when he was in the process of rehab.


aww hes cute :) the tape on yours seems to hold his legs like 1/2 inch apart im not shure but i guess its cause hes older? i have my bird's legs about and inch apart.
BTW today i changed her tape and while it was off she got up and walked like 3 feet over too the freezer lol she still cant walk right though, but shes showing improvement, tape is still on her.
Todays update

Today Snowy was alot better on her leg, shes now standing up like grown-up pigeons and not sitting down on her knees. Shes walking really well with the tape too. She seemed to be able to put almost all her weight on her splayed foot. How much longer do you think she'll have to have the tape on? Shes started to do the 'hovering' thing ive herd baby pigons do sometimes.
My vet kept my Angel three weeks with the legs taped, didn't help her much though as she was older when we discovered her leg wasn't in the right position.
She is able to walk and fly though and she doesn't seem to be bothered by her disability.

It probably is, as she hasn't used that leg, therefore it will look skinny.

Make sure the bird is getting plenty of supportive nutrition-besides the calcium, and gently massage the splay leg and always work it keeping in mind the correct position of it.
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