how to bandage a bird’s foot

Location: Somewhere between Georgia and Kentucky; Image: The galah “Bandit” nail (with a hollow inside)

We brought him to a veterinary clinic for birds in Lexington, Kentucky, and had him examined. Since we were there, we did a full exam. In person, the vet seemed unconcerned and informed me of what to anticipate. If Bandit would tolerate it, she told us to keep it clean and bandage it for a few more days. If not, simply give him Baytril, an antibiotic that was prescribed for his toe swelling, and assume that the top layer of skin will eventually peel off, hopefully before the underlying layer of skin heals completely. We had been so gentle because we were so afraid it would fall off again at any moment, but when I watched the vet clean his toe, I thought she was going to pull it right off! However, at that point, she said, “It should be fine and continue just fine.” I’m so relieved that we were able to save it for the sake of the bandits. He was able to maintain his toe, and the only thing he received was relief from the swelling—not too bad at all!

Location: Corbin, KY; Photo by Jamieleigh; Shown: A bird’s toenail inside, just the quick “Bandit”

Using antiseptic swabs, we thoroughly cleaned the toe, eliminating any discernible dirt or materials. Next, using a cotton swab (the tiny kind used for the inside of your ears), we applied neosporin to the toe and covered it with gauze and adhesive tape. We cut the materials into pieces that were just the right size with the scissors. Fortunately, Bandit seemed to be in no pain and was extremely composed. I believe that things and his nerves snapped so quickly that he wasn’t experiencing any trauma right away and that he knew we were attempting to assist. At one point, he had paused to examine his toe, allowing him to observe its state.

Location: Corbin, KY; photo by Jamieleigh A little swollen but dry: The quick next to a typical toe on galah “Bandit”


Can you put a bandage on a bird?

Bandage material Most bleeding skin wounds will clot on their own or be “protected” by the bird from further injury. Good materials that won’t adhere to the plumage are vet wrap (which clings to itself like cling wrap), roll gauze, cellophane tape, and some masking tapes.

What do you do if a bird has a broken foot?

If the break is up high near the body, it cannot be splinted, so try to keep the bird as immobile as possible until healed (2-3 weeks). All birds with fractured legs need to be in a flat container, no perches and kept quiet. They will start putting pressure on the leg as it begins healing, 1-3 weeks.

How do you treat a bird’s broken toe?

Treatment for fractured toes will depend mainly on which toe is affected. Some may require surgery or bandaging while some may only need strict cage rest and anti-inflammatory medication.

What to do with a limping bird?

In particular, if you notice limping, the inability to move the wings properly, any unusual discharge, any changes in droppings, or a general lack of physical activity, you should seek veterinary advice or care promptly.