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Old 04-01-2019, 04:00 PM
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Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Gonna rip the metaphorical band aid off right now:


Well, Legs the splay legged budgie has not responded to treatment. We have tried taping her legs and keeping weight off since she was very small, and her legs simply are not coming back under her despite our best efforts. As much as we would like to continue trying to improve her leg placement, there has been *no* improvement in over a month, and she hates being taped. She is chewing at her legs(not the tape) when they are taped and otherwise just generally making it clear that she is extremely unhappy being in the brace. We are done with taping. Maybe will not be a popular choice among those on this site, but I don't care. She is my responsibility and I will do what I believe is best for her. I will not continue to torment her like this since there is no longer any improvement being made. And another likely unpopular decision we have made(at least for now): no surgery. She is a parakeet. I'm not risking losing her over an orthopedic surgery. Even humans, when they go under anestethetic they might not wake up. A budgie is so so so much smaller than a person, I just wont risk losing her like that. We are going to see how she does with special care and try to avoid surgery if it is at all possible. She is a very special bird, and I would be destroyed if she died on the operating table. Now that all of that is out of the way, lets get to know the sassy potato herself!



She was born in my kitchen at the beggining of the year in a clutch of 4. We didn't notice anything remarkable about her for the first 3 weeks of her life, but then we noticed her legs were out to the sides.



Splay leg.


I was alone at the time I noticed. My fiancee was out of town with our only vehicle for about a week, and the only materials I had on hand to form a brace from were band aids. I tried anyway, but the adhesive was too strong and when I went to change the brace I had to be extremely careful so it did not rip the delicate skin off of her. Obviously, the band aids would not be an acceptable solution... or would they?



Not wanting to not try and help her, I gently wrapped her legs in tissue and then applied another band aid brace. It seemed like it would be safer, afterall the harsh adhesive was no longer making contact with her delicate skin. However, when I checked on her after about an hour, she had kicked the brace completely off. Obviously that also would not work. I decided to wait until Mr. Bug got back from his trip, that we would get medical tape and begin her treatment then. We live in a very rural area, and we only just moved here. It wasn't like I could call a taki, uber, take a bus or have medical tape delivered. I genuinely did not have another option.



When we did then tape her, her legs did absolutely improve at first. They went from an angle greater than 180°(her legs were over her back) to one now slightly less than 180°. However, for the past month(as said above) the legs have not come closer together. Someone here told me there is still hope of improvement until the bird is over 6 months old, but that has not been the case with our Legs and I am done torturing her.



Walking is quite difficult for her, climbing too. Getting around on cloth is easier for her as it is soft and she can grab it with her beak also to then swing her noncooperative legs and take a step. She gets around pretty fine like that while on cloth. She does not have a large cage, in fact her house is one of those small arched wire and plastic travel carriers that every big box pet store carries. We do not think she would do well in a large normal style cage, she certainly did very poorly in the cage she was born in. There is a stratigically placed hanging toy in the small cage that she uses to help her get around, and she rests either hanging from it with 1 foot on the ground, or she suspends herself in the air like a budgie hammock: 1 foot on the toy, 1 foot on the cage bars. Most of the time, however, she is hanging out on me. Her favorite place to nap is on my chest, and it seems to be a lot easier for her to climb around on me and my clothes than it is for her to get around in her cage.



We do not trust her not to drown in a traditional water dish, so she doesn't have one. We offer her water in a shallow dish a few times a day while supervised. She has a (clean, brand new) sock in her cage for naps while in the cage and honestly, other than her mobility issues she is completely normal for a budgie: sweet as the day is long, sassy as anything, and cuter than all get out. She is a very happy bird, always up for beak boxing, head scratchies, wing flapping, and squawking contests.



Her cage situation is not ideal and we are 100% aware. We are working on plans for a fully custom enclosure for her that will hopefully suit her. Essentially an aquarium, only made from acrylic. It will have a budgie zip line sort of system to help her get around, as well as "mobility toys" stratigically placed for her to grab on to. We are going to build her a custom upholstered bed in a shape that will be comfortable for her to rest on, put in an actual hammock for her to rest on, and get or make her a gravity fed drinker with a tiny access point so to eliminate the drowning risk(or we may keep up with only giving her access to water while being watched). The nearest pet store that even has bird supplies is 50 miles from here 1 way is why we have not bought one of the drinkers that we all know are mass produced. We do not have an address is why we have not ordered one through Amazon, although we do have a PO box so as I'm writing this I just realized we could probably find an online bird supply store that delivers thru USPS(any suggestions?).


We have determined that her splay leg is environmental and not genetic. The pair that produced her has 6 new babies, and all of them have their legs underneath them as they should. I think her mom was just too bent on kicking all of the bedding out of the nest. Her current clutch she didn't seem to mind the bedding as much and has not kicked it out thankfully, so we think that that was the issue.



Currently I am recovering from a broken foot, so it is easy to keep Legs with me all day, but once I am recovered and back to my normal activities, I think I will make some sort of sling/backpack cage for her so she can still spend most of her time with me. Having been essentially couch bound for the past month, I know how it feels to have compromised mobility and to miss out because of it: it sucks. It sucks *hard*. I don't want her to miss out because of her legs, she is mentally a 100% normal budgie. I want to give her an actual life, not just keep her alive. My little sassy potato. (To be clear: sassy potato is not a nickname making fun of the disabled. It is because one day we were looking up "yukon gold" because it is the name of a TV show we were watching, and I thought also a type of potato(it is). Someone called her a yukon gold potato, she started wing flapping and being sassy so I called her a sassy potato, and it just kind of stuck as her nickname).



Posted from my phone so please forgive any typos or weirdness. We do not have internet on our farm yet so everything online is thru data on the phones.
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Last edited by bug_n_flock; 04-20-2019 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:08 PM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Oh she is adorable! And very lucky to have you take care of her
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:19 PM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

What a little sweetie, she looks like she’s got plenty of sass to me!
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:25 AM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Precious, budgies are so tenacious! I’m happy to meet you all! Thanks for the pictures.


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Old 04-02-2019, 09:21 AM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

She is adorable! I also have a lovebird that has some physical deformities from the nest, although he is able to get around his cage well with the addition of platforms instead of traditional perches. One thing you could do for her is put water rich fruits and veggies in her cage in lieu of water until you get a water dish suitable for her. Still offer her water when she is out with you, but at least then when she is in her cage she has something moist to nibble on if she's thirsty. It's what is done when birds are transported on airplanes since water would spill and be useless.

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Old 04-02-2019, 01:50 PM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

That's a great idea! Now I just have to get her to eat fruits and veggies rather than just squawk at them. She thinks arugula is the devil
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:57 AM
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Many, of several types, but especially budgies. Those little suckers walk all over me, and we have close to 50 of them! (We breed and do rescue)
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Well, the Dr says I'm off my broken foot for another 3 weeks before I can even start partial weight bearing(half my weight on injured foot while walking). That's the bad news. The good news, is that is seems to be healing properly and he is no longer talking about the possibility of surgery(whew. First broken bone, never had surgery before unless you count having a baby tooth pulled as a kid(I don't)). It has entered the stage known as "soft callus", which basically means the bone bits are all fused together by a squishy collagen substance similar to people flavored gummy bears(only not in the shape of little bears. Hopefully.). Next phase is "hard callus" where my body starts to deposit minerals in the people gummy scaffolding and getting the area nice and solid with pre-bone. That is the part that will show healing on x rays, for now it still looks like a gnarly mess on x rays.



Poor Legs has not gotten as much attention as she is used to for the past 3 days. First I had my dr appointment on Thursday(and we went ring shopping after (OMG guys, guys. GUYS!! We have been engaged for about six months, but I'm wearing an engagement ring now OMG I love it so much!), then we went out to file our taxes friday(but didn't have the right papers so we have to go back). Yesterday I hobbled to the door and sat there for hours making funny faces at the goats, who have a bit of a rude staring habit , and made strange noises at the turkeys who were happy to sound off their chorus of gobbles in return. I was actually helping Mr. Bug to do a few things, but I had fun messing with the animals nonetheless.



So my plan for today is to mostly catch up on Legs time, and to rest my foot, which I have put through a LOT the past few days. It feels great to have been so active and to have done so much, but boy.... I'm still healing in a major way. Gotta rest up today.



My mom is visiting in 2 weeks(my birthday falls on Easter this year), and she is bringing my precious Alex Bird! So the two little yellow birds I answer to will be meeting each other for the first time! I'm so excited!


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Old 04-07-2019, 12:57 PM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Just looking at the x-ray hurts my foot And a HUGE CONGRATS on the beautiful ring!! So happy for the two of you! Any date set??
Best advice is to follow the doc's orders. I have broken a few bones in my life and saying "oh I feel great!" and doing stuff your not suppose to do can and WILL set you back!


Jim
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Old 04-08-2019, 12:19 PM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Nap time. <3 <3 <3


No date set, but we are planning to go to the courthouse and get legally married soon for tax and insurance reasons.



After my foot is healed we will have a couple of ceremonies. One up north so my grandmother can attend(nearly 90 and has dimentia, traveling is out of the question for her or my aunt who takes care of her, and my one cousin has 4 kids and the other cousin just had a baby last year so none of them can easily travel), and one in Maryland or here at the farm for everyone else to come to.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:11 AM
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Re: Adventures of a sassy farm potato: Legs the physically handicapped Budgie

Ok, so my mom will be arriving with Alex on the 18th. In one week. I am beyond excited, I have not seen him since the end of November, and he is finally moving here!! So... any advice on introducing a jealous special needs budgie and a jealous senior cockatiel to each other? I'm hoping it will go like any other avian introduction, but you never know. Also, should I quarantine Alex or anything like that?
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