CS01 baby with broken leg

African grey baby with broken leg

Dear List members,

I brought a clutch of four Grey babies into the house yesterday, due to the extreme heat here. They were ready anyway, the oldest being 3 weeks.

It is obvious from my physical exam that the youngest of the babies has both legs broken. This is the third time in three years that (not consecutive clutches) this has happened with this pair, and I am extremely frustrated.

I had them to the vet just prior to the start of the year’s breeding season. Calcium levels in both male and female were fine. They receive an abundance of calcium rich fresh foods, in addition to a dish of Harrison’s (which they eat well). Knowing that such a thing can occur from the parents rushing down into the nestbox when disturbed, I had not been checking the babies at all, in order to eliminate this also as a possibility.

At any rate, this chick will be on the way to the vet this afternoon for splinting. I would like to know what I might give the chick to hasten healing. I have not had much luck in achieving a really good outcome in those past cases (legs stayed pretty bent), but hopefully I caught this soon enough, and that with the help of holistic aides I can achieve a better outcome this time.

I have been spritzing the babies lightly with Rescue Remedy since bringing them in. I am especially interested in what will help the bones heal.

I will appreciate any help offer. Thank you very much.

Pamela Clark

Hi Pam, For broken bones: Calcium, magnesium, boron and silica are important. bromelain from pineapple helps to reduce swelling kelp contains contains calcium and other minerals in balance horsetail (not from a horse) is rich in silica

Juliette de Barclai Levy recommends giving an infusion of broom, “the tender shoots and the leaves of that shrub having remarkable power in promoting the uniting of the ends of fractured bones. Wild animals with broken limbs will seek out the broom bushes at such times. Give comfrey, the common name of which is ‘knit-bone’. Give this herb internally, chopped finely and mixed with the food, also as an infusion (tea) morning and night. Also use the infusion on cotton cloths, cold, thoroughly soaking the cloths and padding them around the broken limb.

If a plaster is used, this is not possible. (Levy is against using plaster to set legs because it interferes with blood and air circulation. She prefers splinting and light bandaging instead.) Comfrey encourages the speedy formation of new bone. A substance, allantoin, is largely responsible for comfrey’s bone-knitting property.”

Caution: A word about comfrey. Although comfrey can help heal wounds and broken bones, I do not recommend that comfrey be taken internally because of toxicity to the liver caused by the pyrrolizidine alkaloids which it contains. It is GREAT for speeding up wound healing after surgery if applied externally as a poultice. The variety of comfrey grown in america has fewer PA’s than those grown in Europe/Russia, so if not taken in large amounts or ongoing…but only for specific healing purposes, it should be OK to give internally. I just wanted you to know that there is a caution about it. Most herbal healers use comfrey. Dr CJ Puotinen says in his book that there are PA free comfrey tinctures available, so that might be the way to go.

Homeopathy Dr McCluggage recommends the homeopathic symphytum for bone healing. “It rapidly speeds up te process and ensures that most fractures will heal. It should never be given until the bone has been set; otherwse it will start the healing process so rapidly that the bone will heal out of alignment. Give symphytum for a week then give Calcaria phosphoric to finish the healing.

Sometimes when parent birds are moving babies around, they occasionally break a leg. I had this happen to an African grey baby last year or the year before. When I brought him in to have his leg splinted, though, The vet killed him. Make sure they don’t over-anesthetize or over-heat the babies.

hope this helps, gloria

Pamela, Dr. Christopher makes a formula, formerly carried by Nature’s Way, called BF&C (bone, flesh and cartilage). Here is their site.  http://www.drchristopher.com/cgi-bin/drc_shop/viewprod.cgi?2919+1552 When I used to do wild bird rehab, I used bone meal, and had very good results. Good luck. Please keep us updated.

Regards, Linda

I have been lurking for some time and sincerely appreciate all the information on this list. I didn’t feel as though I had enough knowledge to contribute anything. But, I do know what to do to help your bird. Homeopathic Symphytum. Start using it once the bones have been set. I wouldn’t use it longer than one week. That should be adequate.

I had a drake who had one leg broken in 5 places (dog got him) and when I took him to the vet, there was a ‘tiel there with a ‘simple’ break. They both got splints, I gave the drake the Symphytum and when the time came to have the splints removed, the drake was fine (in fact the vet was amazed at how strong the bones were) and the tiel needed to be re-splinted; it still hadn’t healed. The main difference was the remedy I gave.


Update 12/00 Good Morning to All,

Some list members may remember a post I directed to the group several months ago, concerning two African Grey babies I had who had sustained broken legs while still in the nestbox. At the time, I was asking for assistance in regards to what holistic remedies might foster healing. At the time, both were splinted and received Symphytum for about a week.

One baby healed quite well, with only a barely noticeable bump where the fracture had been . The second healed also, in that the bone fused, but the alignment was quite poor. There was actually a 90 degree angle made where the two parts of the bone fused. I still don’t understand what happened to cause such a malunion, but believe it to have been my fault, in that I wasn’t able to observe the healing process carefully enough due to a surgery of my own that occurred at the same time.

After considerable research, I made the decision to have surgery erformed by an well-known avian surgery specialist, Avery Bennett, DVM. I took Babu up to the Bay Area and Dr. Bennett performed the corrective osteotomy on 12/7. That is a clinical way of saying that he cut the leg in two, removed the badly “bent” portion, shortening the leg just slightly, reattached the foot to the leg with a pin, and fashioned a sort of sling around the foot and leg, so that weight bearing would be reduced. Amazingly, Babu was eating and perching again on his good leg an hour after coming out of the anesthetic and I was able to bring him home yesterday. The pin will be removed in three weeks.

Based upon what I’ve learned from this group over the last several months, I’ve done the following:

The day before the surgery, I gave him Arnica (6X) and Rescue Remedy. In the vet’s office, I again gave him the Rescue Remedy. Yesterday, once we arrived back home I again gave him the Arnica to reduce any swelling. By that time, he was acting somewhat agitated and was reluctant to take anything more by mouth, so I made him some Chamomile tea and dissolved a 30X tablet of Aconitum in it to help control pain. This seemed to made him considerably more comfortable. I observed him going back to drink the tea, rather than the plain water that was also available, several times during the afternoon.

This morning, he seemed quite happy and was eating well. I again gave him the Arnica. I also began giving him Star of Bethlehem to assist with his recovery from the trauma, while discontinuing the Rescue Remedy.

This afternoon, I plan to discontinue the Arnica and begin giving him the Symphytum to aid healing. I’ll also continue with the Star of Bethlehem. Now that he seems much more comfortable, I’m also going to discontinue the Aconitum unless he shows signs of needing it again.

The vet also prescribed antibiotics based upon “gurgling” that he heard after surgery. Privately, I don’t believe this is necessary, but plan to go ahead and administer the course, based upon my respect for this vet. I’m giving probiotics at the same time and will continue these after the antibiotics are finished.

I also plan to give him a week or two of Milk Thistle to help cleanse his liver of any damage caused by the antibiotics, once they are finished.

I’ve written this post for two reasons. First, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has contributed knowledge to this list in the past months. It was clear to me that, as a result of what I have learned, I was able to make this experience much easier on Babu.

Second, I’m asking for advice. Was there anything I should have done differently? Is there anything else I should do now? Is the milk thistle the right way of dealing with the aftermath of the antibiotics?


Pamela Clark