Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Zebra Finch Fantastic: Peg, the One-Legged Bird

I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to post this post; it's a good story in the end, but scared me very much when it happened.

Ultimately, I thought it would have made me feel much better if, in my desperate google searches for "zebra finch leg break", I found some reassurance that it's not necessarily the end of her little bird life.
So, to the story:

One morning, I awoke to discover one of the three month old zebra finch females had her leg caught in part of the cage. These birds aren't the cleverest or strongest of creatures, and when stuck, they'll thrash in order to get away.

On closer inspection, it was clear (and I'm not going to get too graphic here) that her right leg was broken.
I felt so sick and terrible and afraid.
Of course, I carefully freed her immediately. She flew off, and, while clearly struggling to remain balanced on one foot, she seemed absolutely fine.

And of course, I was still very worried.
Her leg was broken in such a way that it was obvious that splinting it was not going to help. I knew she'd have to lose her leg.

Fear not, folks. Remember: happy ending.

I took her to the vet. He explained how lucky I (well, how lucky she) was: the way she had broken her leg had ensured that she didn't bleed terribly. He amputated the leg, and gave me some antibiotics for the newly named Peg.
(naming her Peg - does that make me evil?)

She got her two drops of antibiotics twice a day for a week. Her stump still looked suspiciously red and a bit inflamed (to this untrained eye), so I still worried.

Now it's been several months, and she's thriving.

She very quickly learned to compensate for her new balance. She's back in the cage with her mom and sisters. She eats as heartily as ever - most of the time she beats the other birds to the feeders. And her poor little stump leg has healed perfectly.

Birds can be mean to each other, and I keep a watch out for any bullying. They tend to pick on the weakest member of the flock, but it seemed Peg happily eats, chirps and snuggles into sleepytime perch alongside her family.

So, take heart: if you have a zebra finch who's broken her leg, and it's clear she'll have to get it amputated, this will not end her life. She still has the ability to be a happy, funny, curious, chirping little feather face for a long time to come.



Bridget said...

Thank you for this post! This is the best thing I've read all day long.

LittleCanoe said...

Awww! So glad she's okay! What a sad little accident!

Kai said...

Aww! *hugs* Peg looks great and her story is definitely one that needed sharing. I would never know what to do if I ahd birds who had broken legs.

The dogs I can deal with. :)

Julie said...

Awww, poor Peg!! I'm so glad that she is thriving and having a happy little life, despite her set back. Your such an awesome finch mommy! lucky birds!

kingshearte said...

I'm so happy this turned out OK and your birdie is doing well.

Unknown said...

Im glad i read this. I have 3 zf's and one that was already damaged when i got her from my aunt, recently hurt her leg. I dont know how exactly i did let them out to sit on the window and look outside through the screen. But anyway i dont have money for a vet unfortunatley so i wont be able to bring her, we did however clean the leg and dress it with neosporin, we then hung the cage outside so the birds could enjoy the summet sun bb( short for broken beak) seems to be ok but i know birds dont show they are sick untill the end......... hopefully she will eventually be fine.

Gaia ResTrepo said...

What a great story of hope and survival. Peg is a warrior princess! ... Thanks for sharing... Our Habibi Pied Zebra Finch just broke her leg at the end of her foot yesterday and right now we are at the vet. She ( the vet) Put a "splint" tape around her foot to immobilize Habibi's leg and will give us some pain meds and anti-biotic... We have been observing her for the last 30 min after she got the tape. She just started to eat... We will see. Your story gives me hope. Habibi will get better ♡ ... Hope your little guys are doing great!