Canary with twisted back claw

by Rina
(Fuerteventura Canary Islands)

showing only gripping with left foot

showing only gripping with left foot

showing only gripping with left foot
This shows how the back toe goes up and across front toes

Just got my new Canary home and put him in his cage and then noticed that on his right foot, the back claw does not grip the perch as the other does. On closer examination it seems to be either deformed or it was previously broken and now it twists to one side across the top of the front claws.

This does not seem to cause him a problem at the moment and he can perch using the front claws but what I would like to know before I get attached to him, is, is it better to return him and get one that is perfect. I am concerned that this could cause him problems in the future, or are my fears unfounded?

Lost my other canary at 8 years of age 2 years ago and it has taken me this long to save the money for a new one. There is a crisis where I live in the Canary Islands (!!) and I would not be able to afford vets fees so need to know what would be the best thing to do.

As I said he seems happy enough and can get about fine, but my concern is about problems in the future.

Please, please advise me what I should do.

Muchas gracias,

Rina in Fuerteventura

Comments for Canary with twisted back claw

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Jul 22, 2014
slip claw
by: mike

Hi it sounds like your bird has slip claw which is the back claw is turned forward its a fault that some Canaries are born with which should be rectified when the bird is still young by getting tape and strapping back the claw for about 3 weeks checking regularly so the claw Dont get sore what will probably happen with your bird is the underside of the claw will probably get sore so keep a close watch on it mike

Nov 02, 2010
twisted toe
by: Anonymous

Is it the toe that's twisted or the nail? I have a 6 year old that has one of his front toes twisted. He has never had an issue with this. I think it is a relatively common malformity and nothing needs to be done. At the risk of getting yelled at, small birds like canaries can get more harm then help from vets that do not know about them. If there is no distress, no parasites, etc., I wouldn't worry about it. The other person is right though, he will probably be left to die if returned to the pet store.

Oct 02, 2010
Canary with twisted foot
by: The Avian Vet

I do not know what caused it , and there could be many such as nutrition, inappropriate perches, genetics, trauma, incubation problems, and congenital causes. Depending in the cause and the age of the bird, this problem sometimes correct itself, particularly if you feed a good diet (50% pellets, 35% seeds, and 15% fresh vegetables), and if you provide appropriate perches. Do not use wooden or plastic dowels. Use only natural branches or rope. You should also provide a pedicure perch to help prevent the nails from becoming long. I think long term there are no real health concerns, but it is possible that he will develop lesions on that toe. If you monitor that there should be no other issues. I see this frequently in many different kinds of birds.

Dr B

Oct 02, 2010
Canary with twisted back claw
by: Linda

Rina, thanks for writing, and without sounding harsh, if you cannot afford to take your bird to an Avian Vet, then you must not have birds. The fact is that this bird needs to be seen by an Avian Vet because either the claw is too long and has deformed the bird's foot or the foot was broken and needs to be rebroken, casted and allowed to heal. Without being able to see it, it is not possible for us to tell you anything more about it. We also do not diagnose or try and treat birds online because this is the work of a qualified, licensed and trained Avian Vet, and we do not presume to be one.

I know it is tempting to have birds, and people should be able to have them if they want. The harsh, truth of the matter is that if you either don't have an Avian Vet nearby or cannot afford to take a sick or injured bird to an Avian Vet, then you must be happy with a dog or cat and also must be able to take them to a regular dog and cat vet. People who cannot provide their pets with proper and necessary medical services are breaking the law here in the States. One of the rules of having any kind of pets is to be able to provide medical services as needed for any sick or injured pets, and the other rules here are to provide the food and shelter they need to be healthy and out of the weather and protected from dangerous circumstances. As a caring human being, you are bound by the same laws as they are simply the minimum needed for a pet to stay healthy and have a good life.

This little bird will be allowed to die if taken back to the pet store. In future, do not buy any pets from a pet store as most are already sick or injured and ALL require the services of an Avian Vet the first week in your home to make sure they are not suffering from infections, parasites or other physical ailments or injuries.

Sorry I cannot be of more help, and keep in mind that you have to provide medical services for any pets you may have just like you do for your human children. If this is something you cannot do, then do not have pets because they deserve to be cared for properly and this includes a doctor when needed.


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