I have been volunteering at local aviaries for long and have seen many paralyzed birds. It can be heartbreaking to see how parakeets or budgies or just any other bird struggle to move but it gets better over time. I have initially wondered if birds can survive with one leg but found the answer over the years.
So, can a budgie live with one leg? Budgies can survive with one leg and make lesser movements compared to other budgies but they need extreme care since they cannot withstand another injury or tangle.
The body becomes fragile as soon as budgies undergo the first amputation or are born with a lost leg. While it can be a tough task to initially care for budgies with one leg, they can be the most adoring special babies that you cannot miss caring for. In this article, I will explain how I have helped birds to live with a broken leg and simple strategies followed to let them lead peaceful lives.
How to help bird with broken leg?
There are four ways to help birds with a broken leg – splint, prosthetic leg, cage rest, and nutritious food. The ideal method should be chosen based on the cause of the broken leg and suggestions of the avian vet.
Helping broken leg with a splint
If your budgie has recently broken his leg, Long Beach Animal Hospital recommends splinting the injured region to temporarily stabilize and control the pain caused due to fracture.
Remember that this is a solution only if your budgie’s leg is fractured.
Follow the steps below to prepare a splint for the broken leg.
- Calm the budgie since he can turn restless due to the injury.
- Disinfect the area with betadine-water mix. If you are unsure of the right proportion, contact your avian vet.
- Choose the splint (cardboard or straw or stick).
- Adjust the splint by refixing the leg and setting it to the right position.
- Wound the area with a bandage and ensure that it is at the right tightness to allow bird circulation.
As soon as you have rightly wounded the leg, you can allow the bird to rest at a place. Leave her undisturbed for a few minutes.
This is only a first-aid solution and it does not work long. A fractured leg is usually treated with medicines or amputated or fixed with other alternatives.
Fixing a prosthetic leg
If your bird has lost a leg because of an accident, a prosthetic leg would be ideal. Brave Knight, in the YouTube video, recommended prosthetic legs to offer temporary relief for budgies.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Allow the bird to walk on a space and measure the length and size of the other leg.
- Take a few pieces of straw.
- Place the straw between two soft woods.
- Create one more connector just as shown in the video.
- Fit the broken space into the straw.
- Allow her to walk and made adjustments to the size based on her comfort.
If you are unsure of making the prosthetic leg by yourself, there are a lot of online suppliers of prosthetic legs made exclusively for birds.
Do you know of a 3D printer in your region? You can ask the person to print one for your budgie.
In an article by Made for minds, a prosthetic leg is also recommended only for a temporary solution although a 3D printer can get it printed instantly.
As long as the 3D printed leg does not actually burden the bird, it is absolutely perfect to use the same. But, use it only a few times a day.
If the budgie has recently lost a leg, it is ideal to give him some cage rest. This will help in healing and rehabilitation.
Alternatively, if the budgie has lost the leg long ago, remember to provide a smooth surface so he doesn’t have to cling onto something each time he walks.
Budgies living with one leg need additional nutrition in order to cope with the stress and manage regular movements.
If you have a bird with one leg, remember to discuss with your avian vet the perfect diet and provide accordingly. It is also advisable to do a monthly checkup to see if the current setup is ideal for the bird.
How do birds lose a leg?
Birds lose a leg under three common situations – genetic deformity, tangling, and injury. In some cases, they are also attacked by predators.
It is common to see urban pigeons and sparrows losing a leg due to pollution and unhygienic environments they are exposed to. According to BirdSpot, a lot of urban pigeons seem to experience deformities in their legs mainly because of large pigeon droppings over the building made of limestone.
If you are talking about budgies or parakeets at home, they lose a leg because of the following.
- Genetic deformity – This is a common incident when the mother bird lays unfertilized or malnutritioned eggs that result in birds with disability like one lost leg. The longevity of such birds is always a question.
- Tangling – If there are wires or strings around their region, you should take them off or these can cut their legs and result in amputation. At homes, we happen to use strings for tying things at a height but remember that they can strangle bird’s feet.
- Injury – Some birds can have injuries if they have fallen from a height or stranded at a place for long resulting in severe leg trauma. While majority of dogs can recover, some fragile budgies cannot.
Why does budgie stand on one leg?
A budgie standing on one leg can indicate warmth, temporary rest, and relaxation. It is absolutely normal for budgies to stand on one leg and have nothing to worry about.
Budgies have the habit of regulating the external temperature by adjusting their feathers and standing postures. When they stand on one leg, it can often mean excitement or warmth. However, in some cases, when it is too hot or too cold outside, they stand on one leg mainly to ensure better management of temperature throughout the body.
All that you need to do, when you spot your budgie in this position, is to watch and relax!
Will a bird’s broken leg heal on its own?
A bird’s broken leg can heal on its own if it is a minor cut or treated at an early stage with minor fractures or sprains. However, delayed treatment can often result in slow or nil healing.
Whether you treat your bird with first-aid care or not, the internal ability and resistance of the bird matter. Natural healing is not feasible at all times and birds often need the intervention of a vet. In the case of a fracture, a splint with tape is used to temporarily heal the broken leg. In several cases, they learn to balance with one leg and adapt to the environment.
Why do budgies only have one leg?
Budgies having only one leg can be a result of injury, tangling, and genetic deformity. While most budgies have both legs, some may lose a leg and need the vet’s attention.
Raising budgies has opened up my knowledge and experiences about them. Perhaps, some birds lose legs and manage to live with the other.
In the past, I have even helped in setting up a prosthetic leg. But, I have found that amputating and giving them all the love they deserve would result in a long life. This is absolutely out of my personal experience.
Some birds tend to struggle with prosthetic legs and some even get scared to walk. Getting them used to their natural abilities and giving them warmth will let them live longer.
Found a bird with one leg? Simply follow the points in this article!