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Discussion Starter #1
I received a call from an Avian Vet hospital where I do some volunteer work. She asked me to take on the home care of a young pigeon that has just started to eat seed on it's own. She mentioned that it has a splayed leg and the long-term plan is I give it home care for a couple more weeks, make sure it is able to fly well, then it will go to a pigeon sanctuary for disabled pigeons.

When I picked the pigeon up and got it home and examined it (it appears to be about 3 weeks to one month old) the left foot is turned in alright (the vet has not taped the splayed leg). I tried to tape the legs as per video on same for splayed leg but had to take it off--the pigeon went crazy and I was afraid it would hurt itself in it's cage. When I examined the leg it appears to me that this leg is perhaps turned in from an old bad break in two places, just below the knee joint on the hock, and also at the ankle and this injury is well healed. I would like to hear what others who have dealt with splayed leg feel. From what little I know, it appears that the younger the bird is during taping to correct the condition--the more likely it is to get some success. This bird is fully fledged and is just beginning to do the jumping exercises in order to gain flight. Is she too old to do anything to help the splaying of the leg, should I just leave it alone, or try and get the vet to tape it? I am to bring the bird in for weighing in a week but did not want to wait a week if I should tape immediately. Thanks
 

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If the leg is splayed and not broken, then it still has a chance for correcting it.
If this is an avian vet hospital, I don't understand why they have done nothing for the leg. I also don't understand why they would not be able to tell whether or not it had been broken and healed. I will send you a link about a bird who was splayed and not a baby, and they really helped the leg. He is still young. It will be more difficult when he gets older.

Even if put in with other disabled birds, if he remains splayed, he won't have much quality of life. He may be able to fly for a while, but eventually will grow and get heavier, and will then have a hard time getting up or getting off the ground. Eventually, because of not walking around and getting enough exercise, he will gain some weight. When that happens, he will be stuck sitting in one place all the time, which causes yet more problems. He won't have a life.
If possible to try and help him, then you should do it. I think the vet just didn't want to bother. They didn't even x-ray to see if it had been broken or not. Many vets just don't want to be bothered with pigeons. That's sad.
 

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Here is the link, and how they did it. It is of course easier when the bird is a baby, because he is not trying to walk around, so easier to keep quiet. But it can be done.

http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/splayleg.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will take a look at the link you provided, Jay, and then will come back and comment. Thank you for your input
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Okay, Jay, have read the link and as I say, I had taped the leg pretty much as this link suggested and the pigeon went crazy and hated it. I agree with your questions as per the avian vet and why she hasn't tried to tape as she had the pigeon at least 2 weeks and had been tube feeding it. I have been volunteering for her as re: pigeon homecare for over 4 years and I have noticed a change in the attitude towards pigeons at this clinic, they seem to have decided that pigeons take up too much of their time and space and since they are ferels they can bring in some dangers health wise to the other expensive parrots and macaws, and also requires special precautions for the staff (lice, etc). Right now they are stuffed to the gills with rehabbing birds and really do appreciate me helping them out by taking the pigeons off their hands once they stabilize them. They provide the meds to me free and I always leave a donation, but many bringing ferals DO NOT, so their attitude is changing over to a negative one, I fear. I had the same concerns as you, Jay, and in fact I have put a call in to this avian vet for the vet to call me and will ask about the leg. But as I said earlier, and in all fairness to the vet, it does appear that the leg has sustained an old BREAK, IN TWO PLACES, and has healed with an inward bend, so that may be why she has not done the taping. I will repost what I am told, once she calls me back.

Regarding there not being much of a life for this pidge in a sanctuary situation, I am not sure I agree. This bird is full of life, a real feisty girl, and she I am sure will become a very good flyer. That always gives a disabled bird a better chance in a soft release situation. This place they go to has many leg disabled birds and they are thriving. They provide seed, individual boxes, free vet care. They give the birds as good a care as it would have even if I kept it which, unfortunately, I cannot do. But let's see what the vet has to say.....thanks again, Jay!
 

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Some birds have only one leg, and they have gotten around pretty well like that for a while, but even then, it is probably a matter of time for them also, as they don't get around as much, and therefore don't get the exercise they need to stay trim. If they gain weigh and get heavier as they age, they won't be able to support themselves as well on the one leg. With a splay, the leg tends to get in the way more. They can sometimes use it kind of like a crutch for a while, but as I said before, they don't exercise as much as a regular bird would, and often get heavier. Then they can't as well get up to fly. When that happens, they really don't have a life. A younger bird can do well, but as they get to be 5 years old or so, not so much. I'm just saying that when they get so that they can do nothing but just sit around, they have not much quality of life. Things change as they get older. A splayed leg pigeon is not a candidate for release.
If it is a break that healed badly, surgery can often fix it, but that is expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I appreciate what you are saying, Jay. But if the leg is turned inward due to a break that has healed that way it is not likely to change. We have tried this in the past to change at the Avian Vet with little success. Even if the bird has a shorter life it is better than no life and euthanizing it, isn't it? Do you feel I should ask the vet to put it to sleep, then? I would hope at the sanctuary the disability to the leg is taken into consideration and the bird is monitored and if the feed has to be cut back to keep the weight down, they will. They have volunteer avian vets there who assess each bird's circumstances. I have had rehabs that have almost no use of one leg, and are able to push off very well and fly away quickly. But I agree, any disability may shorten it's life span, but I do believe in giving the bird a chance at life, even if it is shorter. Thanks again, Jay. These birds still mate, enjoy raising their young and can live a long time in some cases. That's just my thoughts, with all due respect, Jay.....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Avian vet will be in on Friday and will call me. I will discuss this further with her. I did not mention that two bones actually stick out so that you can feel them in the leg. One at the knee joint, and the other near the foot. So that is why I think this bird had a bad compound break that healed badly. Our experience in the past with healed bad breaks is: the longer the leg has gone without surgery the lesser are the chances of good results from surgery. And the danger of doing more harm than good is often the case, with loss of feeling in the leg or producing a limp and chronic pain. This bird does not limp and has full use of the foot and the toes grasp except for the back toe which is frozen.
 

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A Picture would help to see what you are saying. I can understand what you are saying, I really can. In this sanctuary are the birds loose together, or caged?
We had a bird on here with a broken leg like that, and another member took the bird to her fantastic avian vet who did repair it. Now he walks and stands on the leg. Amazing. Did a great job. Maybe just need the right vet.
 
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