Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: To splint or not to splint?  (Read 814 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
To splint or not to splint?
« on: December 21, 2021, 08:17:54 pm »
We have a small cockerel who potentially has a broken leg.


The vet has examined him and suspects a break but can feel nothing definite. He has been given pain relief to take for a few days and the vet has advised that he is kept in a small crate to allow the leg time to heal.


The vet also suggested that we could splint the leg if we wished.


We aren't sure if this is a good idea or not. Anyone dealt with anything similar or has anyone got any advice on the best way to make a splint for a small cockerel? The vet suggested using a lolly pop stick or something similar and a bandage.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2021, 09:03:53 pm »
Whereabouts on the leg is the break? You could splint the lower leg with a small stick and bandage as per vet advice, but not sure how you could splint the upper leg (above the hock) without hindering his movement, He will need to get about to eat and drink at the very least. Not all injured birds will accept hand feeding. Tbh unless he improves dramatically over the next few days it would be kinder to cull him.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2021, 11:11:45 pm »
So his leg is possibly broken but not displaced I'm assuming.  Also assuming, you might choose to splint the leg to prevent it from displacing in the future. If you choose to splint it, tip the bird upside down so he's relaxed and doesn't fight.  You need to wrap the leg in something soft first, perhaps a small amount of sheeps fleece with particular attention to any lumpy bits of leg to limit pressure on the skin. Then apply a splint on each side of the leg, making each lolly pop stick two for strength, cut to length, then bandage around them. A wooden tongue depressor folded in half lengthways if you have access to one might be a bit stronger, or a willow twig split lengthways. Self clinging bandages will stay in place infinitely better than normal crepe ones and can be bought from a chemist or from your vet - they come in jolly colours.
I'm not sure whether or not I would splint it, as it would depend on the individual situation. Why did you choose to go to the vet?  Was the cockerel limping?  Had he been in a fight?
I think that if you do confine him to a low cage (we had to do it for a cat for ages) then he might be fine without a splint but only you can judge.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2021, 11:18:14 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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Perris

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2021, 07:10:56 am »
old poultry manuals suggest making a cast out of a strip of paper and eggwhite; it will set hard enough to support the leg while it heals, apparently. Like papier mache I guess.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2021, 09:05:54 am »
i don't like the idea of a rigid splint, because if there is any subsequent swelling it may result in restriction of blood flow to the foot. So lollipop stick and elastic bandage, or not at all.


I read somewhere that the reason turning a chicken upside-down quietens them is because they are suffocating. The weight of their internals compresses their air sacks, so they can't breathe. Consequently we have never done that.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2021, 09:11:07 am »
Thank you for the replies.


Fleecewife, yes, he was limping. Not using the leg at all really. Still looks really well in himself and was flying onto his perch, eating etc.
We have no idea how he has injured it. They are all confined and he is in with a much larger cockerel. He has always lived peacefully with him and there is no evidence at all if a fight and not seen any signs of trouble between them. The size difference seems to make them good buddies. In fact when they free range the big cockerel appears to look after the weenie boy!


Vet trip because we wanted to give him a chance and didn't want him to be in undue pain while the leg hopefully heals. And if the vet thought there was a bad break/no chance of healing we wanted to dispatch him promptly ..... wouldn't want him to suffer for no reason.


We will observe him today and see if we think it's worth trying the splint. Thanks for the tips.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2021, 09:13:59 am »
Cross posted with Chrismahon. Thank for that. That could be true. My daughter flew birds of prey with a falconer for a while and was told that if they got caught and went upside down they died fairly quickly. I'll look into it for future reference.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2021, 01:34:49 pm »
Wonder why your vet didn't just splint it while you were there?  He's the expert.  Soft chicken bones will mend quickly I imagine, although perhaps not straight so although he may still limp for a while the bone may be healed.  So don't be in a rush to kill him
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2021, 01:37:29 pm »


I read somewhere that the reason turning a chicken upside-down quietens them is because they are suffocating. The weight of their internals compresses their air sacks, so they can't breathe. Consequently we have never done that.


That's really interesting @chrismahon .  I hadn't heard that information but I shall take it to heart in case it's true  :hughen:


So don't hold him upside down @in the hills, just hold him where he's most comfortable and relaxed  :thumbsup:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2021, 02:21:47 pm »
I don't think the vet was certain of how much benefit a splint would be and said that she didn't have any supports that were small enough.


She wasn't certain that it was a break . The other possible cause was that he had had a dislocation that had righted itself but left some nerve damage.


She said that although she could x-ray they wouldn't want to do anymore than the things she suggested, such as confinement and pain relief, so it was pointless to put him through the x-ray procedure.


They had recently attempted to pin a chickens leg but the pin had come out after 5 days and it wasn't successful.


The little chap seems happy enough today and the leg appears to be in roughly the correct position so we've decided not to splint.


Thank you, Doganjo, we will give him enough time provided he remains well. The vet thought up to 6 weeks for the healing process.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: To splint or not to splint?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2021, 09:36:18 pm »
I had a peacock that had a broken leg. You could see it was broken and he got so he could fly and land and stand on just one leg. I didn't want to catch him while he was coping ok and as he wasn't tame and would have struggled amazingly if I'd caught him - resulting in more damage - I left it to heal naturally. After a while it did heal. The leg is straight and the only way I can tell now is that you see a thickening where the bones knitted.
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