Janday Conure's toe turning black

by Cyan Rosswell

My 9 month old Janday Conure got her toe tangled in some string, and it was a while before anyone noticed. Her toenail was somehow chipped off, and now the toe is going black up to around the second joint. We managed to get the string off, and while she is staying off it as much as she can, she's continued to eat and bathe as usual.

I'm fairly certain she'll lose the toe (she's already started nibbling at it), but I'm worried it'll get infected before (or after) she does. Is there anything I should do or some kind of antibiotics I can give her to make the whole ordeal safer or more comfortable for her?

Comments for Janday Conure's toe turning black

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 19, 2016
My conure needed his toe amputated
by: Rose

My Crimson Bellied Conure got his foot tangled in a string toy last July. It seemed fine (a bit red) after I got the string off for a couple of weeks. Then, it got extremely swollen and very tender, seemingly overnight. We went to an avian vet and were prescribed antibiotics, pain meds and a cream.(He had lost two toes up to the first joint by this time, the vet just "plucked" them off). We were dilligent about his med management and things looked better after 2 weeks. Then, about a month later, the toe swelled up (again, overnight). We went back to the vet and he amputated that toe, stating that it had gone gangrenous. This last visit was just last week. His foot is much better, but still painful for him. He is able to climb around his cage and perch, but he always holds that foot up and bites at it (lightly) when he dos put weight on it, indicating it hurts. I'm not sure what the healing time is on this so will be calling my vet on Monday to ask what he thinks.

My point is this: if your bird gets his foot tangled, be extremely vigilant. Get the string off as soon as possible and keep a VERY close eye on it! I believe that, if I'd noticed the problem sooner and gotten him to the vet, he may not have lost his foot and would not still be in pain. It makes me so sad to see such a sweet little bird going through this.

Jul 19, 2010
by: Samantha

Sorry to hear about that. How is he doing now?

Apr 13, 2010
All Gone
by: Cyan Rosswell

Her toe finally fell off. It wasn't a pretty sight after the first week or two, and there were a few weeks getting towards the end when we were sort of looking at her and thinking, it's not gone yet, shouldn't it have fallen off by now? But it finally fell off, and she's happily hobbling around on her little three-toed foot.

Mar 30, 2010
toe cont'd
by: Anonymous

in WW1 they would TIE off, give a soldier a shot of booze (if LUCKY) and take a saw to the limb.
Tie it off.
if you want to sever it at the joint, be sure it is in the JOINT and not the middle of bone. Use acissor style cat/bird nail clippers cleaned WELL in betadine, alcohol or Grapefruit Seed extract (clippers it cuts in a squeezing/approximating way that helps close the wound,dont use scissors, too thick, not sharp enough and too easy to miss)

Clean the site & cut at the joint too quick to feel it(ever cut yourself severely,u dont know it happens till you see blood) SAME

clean the amp site with betadine and wrap securely in absorbant gauze with a bit of betadine on it. wrap that with vet-tape (self sticking) or medical tape.
Keep the bird in a small warm, dark safe place with food and water close by (I have used a coffee can with holes in the lid to keep sick birds still, calm and secure.

check the site for infection after 2 days because you DO NOT want to remove the BLOOT CLOT that forms (and will stick to gauze) to help tissue heal over smooth joint.

Mar 30, 2010
Toe continues..amputae it yourself
by: Anonymous

1)locate the infection, locate where tissue is healthy.It should not be yellow, black or cold-it is intact but dying!

2)locate the joint above the infected area where tissue is healthy with a good blood supply so that can clean the amp site(birds do fine with a bit of stump, I have seen it many times

3)With bird securely wrapped in towel, take strong floss and tie it AS TIGHT AS U CAN (ends wrapped around fingers for tension) ON THE JOINT so string squeezes down into the joint space between the bones of the toe or leg. You WANT to COMPLETELY cut off blood to the dying limb so the infection does not spread up the leg and so the dying tissue blackens dries up like a raisin & fall off(or is chewed off). cut off infection from healthy blood,& the dying limb will not affect bird

4)tie tight as u can and tie off with several knots, work quick,minimize trauma (ripping off bandaid quick)

5)ur bird may chew the knot and so put an elizabethan collar on the birds neck (piece of round split foam pipe insulation cut to size works) so bird cant take string off
bird will chew off dying limb, which is OK if they dont eat it up but remove it, it will need to go eventually-its cut off from body so she will not feel it.
DONT WRAP THE LIMB to stop the bird chewing, (use a collar, they can still eat with it)so u can watch and make sure dead bit dries out

6) watch for infection at the amp site, esp if it is close to the sick area. It will likely become swollen and a bit warm,like any trauma as the body is cleaning/ healing with inflammation/ increased blood flow.
If the HEALTHY leg gets soo swollen the skin isshiny-tight, buy antibiotics/anti infammatories from a vet.
Worry only about the surviving leg.

DO NOT try this if the bird is weak and ONLY after you aught it in time, tried to warm up the tissue to restore blood flow and save the limb.

this is the last resort of someone who does not want to lose their bird & cannot afford a vet.

Mar 29, 2010
by: Anonymous

Birds have been found in the wild, alive and healthy with a missing eye, missing foot.. broken wings mean easy prey so they do not usually survive.

birds will chew off the dying limb/toe but they may not have a strong enough beak to sever the bone

they may not chew while the string is around because they cannot feel it
Use antibiotics while the issue sorts itself out (if it looks like it will), though this can damage liver after they survive.

what I will say but these are proven effective

if u cannot afford a vet, amputate by using a string tied tight above afflicted area, at a joint so it is a clean amp and no bone stick out to poke the healed skin later).tissue heals over the smooth joint capsule and become a stump.

This is similar to whats done with warts and , extra fingers (polydactyly in humans)way back when life was less advanced. remember, these days you have antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to deal with residual infection.

Jan 09, 2010
Vet Response
by: Cyan Rosswell

The vet we went to was a specialized avian vet (pretty much the only one in our city). He didn't mention that he'd seen cases where gangrene developed, but I didn't specifically ask him either. Also, he did prescribe us medication. However, he did say that it probably wasn't necessary.

The toe that had gone black has begun to shrivel up and seems well on its way to being lost.

An honest response would have been appreciated, rather than encouraging me to drive across town and spend over a hundred dollars unneccessarily just so that you could advertise the virtues of being careful. It's this kind of thing that makes people think, "Birds take care of themselves in the wild, so why should they need a vet here?", and just not bother.

I apologise for being critical when you probably thought you were being helpful, but this is how it feels from my perspective.

Jan 08, 2010
Disagree with vet's response
by: The Avian Vet

I do not agree with these statements. I have seen cases that were ignored that did develop gangrene-like symptoms. At the very least pain management should be implemented. It should not go untreated, even if amputation is the only treatment option.

Dr B

Jan 08, 2010
Conure toe turning black
by: The Vet

Yes, but you will need to see an avian veterinarian for a prescription. You need to go as soon as possible to prevent serious infections. If you wait, she could lose more than her toe; she could lose a foot or worse. Do not use over the counter antibiotics. They are not effective and can make things worse.

Dr B

Jan 08, 2010
by: Cyan Rosswell

The vet said that it wasn't actually threatening. Apparently, parrots don't get gangrene like humans do. Instead, they form a protective layer of skin between the live area and the affected area, and then the limb dries up and falls off fairly easily over the course of a few weeks. The process isn't particularly comfortable for the parrot, but it's not harmful either. Also, the swelling and the rise in her temperature weren't unusual.

I'll comment again in a few weeks when the toe has been (hopefully) safely lost.

Jan 07, 2010
by: Cyan Rosswell

We scheduled an appointment with the vet, like you suggested. We haven't been yet, but thank you for the advice.

I asked a friend of mine who breeds conures and budgies, and she said I should just wait and let it fall off by itself, but I noticed the foot was warmer than the rest of her body, and she was being more touchy around it than she should have (considering she can't feel the toe at all), so I thought I might get a second opinion. It's already been nearly a week, so I didn't think it was that urgent.

The string got wrapped around her foot because we went on holidays and asked a friend of ours to drop by and feed her. Our friend left a ribbon on top of her cage, and she of course chewed the ribbon to pieces and got string all over the cage and wrapped around her feet. I didn't think the threads were strong enough to cut the blood flow, and she seemed content picking them off by herself, so we didn't take more than a token attempt to get it off at first.

All in all, this seems to be the unfortunate result of carelessness on my (and a few other peoples') part, so thank you for answering so promptly.

Jan 07, 2010
Janday Conure's toe turning black
by: Linda

YOUR BIRD IS IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE MEDICAL SERVICES WITH AN AVIAN VET IN YOUR DRIVING AREA. Bird may not just lose the toe, it very well may lose the entire foot if not the leg. What has happened here sounds like gangrene, and that keeps moving up a limb until the entire leg has to be cut off and beyond. it is a slow rot, and this bird is in serious condition.


When birds are out playing, they ALWAYS have to be supervised. No kind of string should be near them. Use only a minimum of 1/4" cotton rope for toys and play. Nylon will cause this kind of blood flow restriction which is why it is dangerous for bird toys. Toys stores will sell you anything you're willing to buy. It's up to you to learn what is safe and what is dangerous.

Your bird is in serious need of an Avian Vet, so do not delay.


Click here to add your own comments