cockatiel has thread wrapped tightly around ankle

by Sarah

We are caring for my child's classroom bird for winter break and I noticed a thread wrapped tightly around his ankle. If I could hold his foot still I could cut it off, but is there a safe way to restrain him?

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Feb 19, 2012
cockatiel has thread wrapped tightly around ankle
by: Linda

He needs to be gently held, and a handtowel would be good as you need to keep him still and wings unable to flap. Make sure whoever is holding bird keeps thumb and pointer finger on each side of his cheeks/jaws to keep the head/mouth still so he cannot bite. Do not squeeze the bird and do not roughly hold the leg. You should be able to hold bird in towel in left hand and use the right hand to gently pull the leg out a bit so thread can be cut. Someone else will have to do the cutting thread loose, and it has to be an adult with steady hands and good eyesight. Do not allow any children to either hold the bird or do the string cutting.

I'm afraid what you may find is that the string will not easily come off. If it is still a bit loose, it should be fairly easy to get off unless the foot has swollen. This means you'll need to take him to an AVIAN VET ONLY in your area so they can remove the string. If there are any toys in cage where this string came from, remove it and do not put it back in. Toys have to be replaced when worn, and never put small rope or string in cage with a bird. We use 1/4" cotton rope for our Amazon's toys with knots before and after each toy piece. There is only a small amount of frayed rope at the end of each toy string which they like to "preen". Always use 100% cotton rope for bird's toys because the nylon has no flexibility and tightens up as bird tries to get it off should any get around toes or feet. Best to monitor toys for wear and replace.

So, if foot has not swollen and string is still somewhat loose, it is possible to get it off without hurting the bird. When he is held in left hand, be very careful not to squeeze much or you can break bones, suffocate him or kill him. The person cutting string has to also be extremely careful not to cut the bird's leg. I'd suggest taking him to an Avian Vet as they can do this without hurting the bird, and if you think you and another adult can handle it, it needs to be removed right away. String cuts off the circulation, and the bird can lose his foot or entire leg to something like this, so do not delay.

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