How to Splint a Bird's Broken Leg

By Lynn Anders

You've found your feathered friend limping and not able to climb up to its perch. After a closer look, you can see that its leg is broken. It's after hours, and the avian veterinarian's office is closed. There's no need to panic; you can put a temporary splint on your bird's leg that will hold until you can get it to the avian veterinarian in the morning. You will need another person to help you hold the bird, and some basic first aid supplies.

Restrain the bird by wrapping it in a towel. For a larger parrot with a large beak, the handler should hold the head with a three-point hold. Her thumb should be at the jaw line, first two fingers at the top of the head, and last two fingers on the other jaw line.

Pull out the leg that is injured by grabbing it above the break.

Wrap the gauze around the injured leg bone. The gauze can slightly extend above or below either joint and should be thickly wrapped, about four layers.

Use a cotton swab, a Popsicle stick or a piece of cardboard as the splint. The splint should be the length of the leg and not extend above or below the leg bone. Place the splint along one side of the leg.

Wrap vet wrap (sold as "Hurt Free" wrap in human pharmacies) around the splint the same as you did with the gauze. It should be snug but not overly tight. You do not want the blood circulation to be cut off.

Place the bird in a small crate so it won't move the leg and cause further injury.

Make an appointment with your avian veterinarian. Your bird will need to be seen by your avian vet for a proper splint and further exam to determine if there are any unseen internal injuries.