How to heal a broken leg on a canary

  • Date: December 5, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.


It can be very upsetting when your bird injures itself, and a broken leg is a difficult thing to handle. Today, we are going to explore exactly how to heal a broken leg on a canary, so that you know how to give your bird the best possible care. 

Of course, nothing that you do at home is an improvement on proper vet care, and your bird should be taken to a vet as soon as possible. The tips given in this article are only intended to act as temporary measures to stabilize the bird’s leg and make it more comfortable until it can be seen by a professional.

How Bad Is A Broken Leg?

A broken leg is a really big issue for a bird, because they need their legs in order to stand, pick up food, build nests, and do almost anything else. Although their wings grant them flight, the legs of a bird are almost equivalent to a human’s arms and hands.

Therefore, a broken leg needs immediate attention and good care to minimize the impact that it has on the bird as much as possible.

What Do I Do With An Injured Canary?

Ideally, you want two people when dealing with a bird that has a broken leg. This helps to ensure that someone can hold the bird still and make it easier for the other to strap the leg up. If you do not have anyone else available, restrain the bird by gently wrapping it in a towel.

If the bird is bleeding, you should use some gauze to stem the bleeding. Gently apply pressure to the wound until the bleeding slows.

A shocked bird should be placed in a warm, quiet tank away from other animals. However, once the bird is calmer, it is time to try and splint the leg.

How Do I Heal A Canary’s Broken Leg?

You will need to restrict the movement of a broken leg to prevent further damage from occurring and keep the bones straight.

Because canaries are small birds, you may be able to use just gauze to immobilize the break. In some cases, you may need to use a small splint instead. A splint can be made using:

  • A piece of stiff cardboard
  • A cotton swab
  • A wooden stirrer
  • A long matchstick

Any of these things should work to keep the leg straight and reduce the risk of the bones moving. A splint should run the full length of the leg, but no further, or it will prevent the bird from moving comfortably, and could worsen the injury.

So, how do you apply these things? Let’s look at gauze first, and then splints. Make sure that before you handle a canary, you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. 

You also need to clean any open wounds on the bird’s legs with a little warm water and a tiny bit of disinfectant. It is best to clean both legs completely, rather than just injuries.

Note that if any bone is sticking through the leg, you must take your bird to a vet as soon as possible. Do not try to re-set the bone unless you have prior experience and you can minimize the shock and pain for the bird.

Putting Gauze On

Step One) Wrap the bird gently in a towel to discourage it from struggling, and then sit in a warm, quiet room with no other animals. If someone can hold the bird, that’s even better.

Step Two) Make sure that the leg is straight. It will heal in the position that you wrap it in, so it is really important to ensure it isn’t twisted or crooked.

Step Three) Sterilize some scissors and cut a piece of gauze to the right size. It can extend a bit beyond the break to add support. 

Step Four) Take the piece of gauze and then wrap it around the broken leg, but be careful not to make it tight. You want to keep wrapping it around until you have several layers, but it must be loose.

You do not want to make the gauze tight, because it will cut off circulation to the bird’s leg, which will be painful and will stop it from healing.

Putting A Splint On

If you think that the bird requires a splint and this will help to stabilize the leg, you can make one from almost any small, stiff material. Just make sure that it is clean and sterile, especially if your bird has an open wound.

Cut the splint to the length of the bird’s leg and then gently straighten the leg. Place the splint alongside the leg, and then use a soft wrap to hold it in place against the bird’s leg. Again, you do not want the material to be tight, or it could damage the bird’s leg.

Do I Have To Take The Canary To A Vet?

Yes, you do need to take your canary to a vet if it has a broken leg. It is important for it to get proper veterinary care, partly to ensure that the leg is in the proper position. If you let a break heal crooked, the bird will always have a damaged leg, and may not be able to do things properly in the future.

The sooner you can take your canary to a vet, the better. They will be able to properly check the leg over, ensure that the bones are straight, and immobilize it better if necessary. They may also provide pain relief if the bird is suffering, although this may not be necessary once the leg is immobilized.

You should not just leave your bird to heal at home. Get it checked out properly.


Birds do commonly break their legs, especially when they fall off their perches. A broken leg is not the end of the world for your canary, but it can be painful until you are able to get it to the vet. Bind the leg to minimize movement in the interim period between injury and vet visit.

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