Knee fracture

by Leo Rahal
(Albuquerque New Mexico)

Dear Avian Vet: Our green-cheeked conure sustained a fractured knee when she attempted to fly after chewing her wing feathers of which we were not aware. We watch and interact with her daily but did not realize the extent of the change within a 2 hour period.

We had a vet put a splint on for approximately 2 weeks. It was removed and were told to return in two weeks. Does it take 4 weeks for the fracture to heal and what can we do to help here to stop eating her feathers? We were told that she did this to make a nest which when we found an egg after holding her.

Thank you for your help.

Comments for Knee fracture

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Jan 22, 2011
Bird with leg fracture
by: The Avian Vet

Fractures can take 6-8 weeks and sometimes more to heal. If the knee is actually fractured, then the bandage that is on there is very wrong. If there is a different kind of injury, then the bandage may be adequate.

I am unable to completely assess that without x-rays. Is you bird on pain medication? The plucking may or may not be related to nesting, often not, but sometimes. You need a specialist. You should find a board certified avian veterinarian for help to diagnose the plucking and be sure the ?fracture? is treated properly.

Is you bird on a pellet diet, like Harrison's? If not you need to covert her immediately. If she is laying eggs during her fracture healing, the fracture could take 12 or more weeks to heal or may never heal due to the calcium deficiency. Additionally, low calcium will cause life-threatening egg binding.

Dr B

Jan 20, 2011
Knee fracture
by: Linda

The Avian Vet will get back with you in a while, and I just wanted to say a couple of things. For one thing, it takes a human bone six weeks or more to heal from a break, so 4 weeks may not be enough instead of too much.

The other issue here is about feather chewing and pulling and here is some information about that:

Bird Chewing Feathers

As I said, the Avian Vet will answer this when they have time to do so and in the meantime, you need to take your bird back to Avian Vet and have her fitted with a collar to keep feather damage from turning into self mutilation which happens once feathers are gone as they sometimes start biting their own bodies. I've nursed a bird back to health who did this, and it required wearing a collar for a long time. See if they have a soft rolled collar instead of the big funnel shaped ones as the soft rolled ones work better and allow the bird easy access to food and water. It takes them a while to get used to the extra weight, and my little Gold Capped conure fell over a few times until she learned how to balance the extra weight and thickness.

Birds do not pull out their feathers to make nests as far as I know, so there is something else going on here. Your Avian Vet should be able to do various testing to see if there is a physical cause for this behavior. Diet plays an important roll in skin and feather quality as well. She should be eating 80-85% of her diet in organic pellets, no people food, salt, sugar, fat and no nuts that are high in fat like walnuts, pecans, meat, cheese and other dairy products, etc. An imbalanced, low quality diet will cause all kinds of health issues to come up including feather pulling, illnesses and hyperactivity. Birds need to eat bird food and an all seed diet is not nutritious food for them. In the wild, they get a well rounded diet made up of various vegetable substances, fruit, bark, some seed, insects and worms, etc. They do not eat just one thing because that results in an imbalance which kills them early. Organic pellets like Harrisons are a complete diet formulated especially for parrots and a few dark orange, green and yellow veggies can be added in small amounts a few times a week. Harrison's Bird Bread mix is also good as a treat for them as is Fruitables and Golden Feast's Goldn'obles . We mix the Harrisons with the Goldn'obles and add one fruitable each per day as a treat.


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