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Old 11-14-2013, 08:51 AM
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Broken wing aftercare

Hi all, I have a few questions..
My Quaker parrot (Piper) broke her wing in August. She spooked and flew off the cage and my new Rat Terrier, acting on instinct, grabbed her. I was right there and swatted her off of Piper before she killed her but not before her wing was broken. It was broken at the carpus joint (2nd joint from the tip).. the wing is healed but unfortunately it didn't heal well. The joint fused.
She can lift her wing but cannot spread it. She will never fly again :'( She used to talk up a storm but hasn't made a peep since the break except to give me her "I want something" chirp. I hold her and crack the sheaths off her pin feathers which she loves. She perches on my shoulder and licks my face. All over. She always enjoyed a bath twice a week but hasn't quite mastered bathing with her rigid wing.
Will she ever talk again? I miss my chirpy chattery happy bird. Her feathers are dull, dusty, and raggedy.. how do I help her bathe? She loves sitting on the shower curtain rod, hates being in the shower. I'm very careful in protecting her from falls since she now flies like a rock :-( She still doesn't know she can't fly.
I'm lousy at grooming her. No one knows how to remove sheaths and tidy feathers like a bird does. I've thought about getting her a bird friend to help her groom and maybe perk her up. But I have no idea if that would help or hurt matters.
I've taught the new dog to leave her alone and she now shows very little interest in Piper. I can't bear to rehome Piper.. she's now a special needs bird. And she's my buddy.
What do I do for her?? How can I help her?

Last edited by QuakerMom; 11-14-2013 at 08:53 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:35 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

Suggestions, anyone?
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:00 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

Hello Quakermom, I'm sorry about what happened. My aunt had a similar issue where a friends dog got out of control and attacked my aunts cockatiel. While (amazingly) she wasn't injured she was never the same bird after that. It was as if she was scarred for life - she didn't sing anymore and was very fearful and timid. My aunt still has her and she hasn't changed much - it would be like us having a brush with death but without the abilities to find the good in what might have come from it.

I would seek out the help of a 'birdie psychologist'. There are bird experts out there who might be able to help her get back to her old self. In the meantime, I'd just keep your routine normal and try and teach her how to do other things like tricks to rebuild her confidence.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:41 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

I would locate and then consult a great avian vet in your area. An animal behaviorist, such as Barbara Heidenreich Might also be able to give advice. You can google her. Good luck.
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:30 AM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

Thank you for your replies.

That is sad about the cockatiel. :-(

Piper must have been reading over my shoulder because right before I left for work (night shift) she chirped and then said "Pretty Bird"!!! Woohoo!!
She's such a great little bird. I think we're headed in the right direction!
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:29 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

This may help your quaker regain movement of her wing and she may or may not be able to fly again.


Quote:
When you stretch out a birds wing, you are really doing a slight rotation of the shoulder. It doesn't go straight out. Start with the good wing. It is most likely pretty stiff, too, from what it sounds. Hold the bird on the hand facing you and take the wing at the elbow ( not the wrist) and gently stretch the wing till you feel the slightest resistance. And hold it there for a couple of seconds. Ease the wing back into position. Do this 3 to 5 times to start. It is ALWAYS better to not go far enough or long enough than to over do it. Even with the good wing, you may not get even 1/2 extension. then do the hurt wing. If the bird favors this wing and flinches, just get her used to your touching it. and over days or weeks she should feel better about letting you get a gentle, supporting hold of the elbow and easing the wing up and out till you feel the slightest resistance. I mean slightest, too. the first time or two ( or ten) just do this slowly, up and down. Eventually, work to holding the wing a second longer or a tiny bit more extended.

Each time you do this, only do it 1 to 5 times and take up to 5 minutes. So the lifts are not close together, give the bird rest time between them. Think of it more like yoga than like leg lifts. Always do it where the bird is warm enough to not get tensed up from the cold and do the good wing first. Afterwards, make sure the bird is not chilled and can move about at will.

At this point. You are working more to stretch the ligaments and tendons and not to beef up the muscles. As the bird gains more mobility, she will be able to build more muscles.
While you are lifting the wings ( even though it is a tiny amount) give it a name "lift' so that as time goes by and the lift gets better and better, you can eventually ask the bird to lift her wings on her own and praise her for more and more extension. I named flapping too. We called it "fly fly" and when she got to the point that she could flap, we would say "flyflyflyfly" till she was done. Eventually, she actually did take off in flight across the room. It was pretty bad, though, because she had really never fledged.

So when this bird gets so she can flap, you will have to teach her to fly.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:31 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

Thank you. I'll try it and see if it helps! She does stretch her good wing but hasn't stretched the bad wing since the injury. I've messed with her bad wing so much that now when I go to just take a peek under it to make sure she isn't chewing at the skin (she hasn't been) she will growl and threaten to bite. Oh how she hates it! She's such a good patient though, because she will only threaten and then beak me instead of laying my flesh open or hurting me.

I will try this
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:37 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

Hi there,
I'm in a similar situation with my Smitten. Smitten will never fly again and it's heartbreaking to watch him try from time to time. I have to be careful when he climbs up to any height because sometimes he'll try and launch and just fall like a rock. He also tries to launch himself from the ground. It's so sad to watch him look at a target, put all his energy into take off and then... Thump.

We're in moulting season at the moment in Australia and Smitten is having some difficulty reaching the sheaths of some of his new (broken) wing feathers. I'm not sure what to do, when would be the right time to remove them for him, etc. I may contact his vet and get some advice, maybe take him there to be groomed.

Have you come up with a solution as far as grooming in concerned?

Lada
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:54 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

I don't mess with the bad wing much, even though it's healed now. She really detests me fiddling with it after all the doctoring I had to do on it. She can reach all but the very tips of the feathers. But I do help her with the sheaths on her head and neck.

If the feather is a blood feather I leave it alone until it grows at least halfway out. Before this point, clumsy human hands aren't gentle enough to groom the sheaths off without making birdie cranky. At least mine aren't
If the sheath grows excessively long so that it looks like a straw sticking out of your bird, the feathers will look "squished" after you remove the sheath. They may or may not eventually look normal.

Most birds are very grateful to the careful and gentle human that will help them groom the feathers that they can't reach. They're terribly itchy during the sheath phase!
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:08 PM
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Re: Broken wing aftercare

I spend lots of time "getting crunchies" for Hahnzel. Then afterwards I blow off the areas I was working on.
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