How To Avoid Baby Bird Foot and Leg Problems
Ron Hines DVM PhD
It is not uncommon for kind hearted folks to attempt to raise orphan birds themselves. When they finally present them to rehabbers like me, it is often be things aren’t going well. Domestic cage bird breeders often hand-raise their infants and occasionally face ..
Over the years, many more than I would like have come in with foot and leg problems. I believe that the most common cause is keeping these nestlings on unsuitable surfaces.
Many folks keep the infant in a bowl or cup lined with paper towels, Kleenex or shredded newspaper. Those materials quickly pack down into a rather hard surface. Most natural nests are built of sticks with a soft inner lining that retains its porosity. With time, an
Impervious floor puts a turning pressure on the bird’s toenails. That twisting motion slowly twists the bones and joints of the feet as well. These infants are growing incredibly fast and as they grow, those bones loose their proper alignment resulting in the twisted, gnarled feet you see in the photo above. That is not a wild dove. It is a domestic dove that was brought to me some weeks ago unable to walk or perch. Not only were its feet incapable of perching, the femur bones of its upper thighs were abnormally bent as well.
By cutting those bones, realigning them and putting its legs in braces, I was able to get it to walk. But it will never perch normally again. Improper bone alignment is also a recipe for early age arthritis.