Avian Emergency Tools For Leg Band Removal

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In case of an emergency, such as a leg fracture, the removal of the leg band could be necessary. Here are a list of tools that should be part of any avian first aid arsenal.

Types of Leg Bands for Parrots

Steel Open Bands: are usually placed following quarantine, importation and sexing, for the identification of larger psittacines.

In case of an emergency, such as a leg fracture, the removal of the leg band could be necessary. Here are a list of tools that should be part of any avian first aid arsenal.

Aluminum Closed Bands: are placed on captive bred babies.

Top band: Steel open band. Bottom band: Aluminum closed band

Where to buy

American Leg Bands

Tools for Removal of Leg Bands

Cutters are used to remove parrot leg bands in case of emergency and cutting wire or toy to free the bird if accidentally caught. Steel ring cutters are used to remove bands from smaller species .i.e. budgies, canaries, finches, lovebirds and parrotlets.

remove baby bands
Left: this open band must be tightened safely. A gap thicker than your fingernail could be hazardous. Right: open band pliers

Open band pliers are needed to close “open” bands securely. Your breeder or avian veterinarian clinic should be able to assist you with this procedure. These are expensive tools to purchase and technical skills are required to perform this operation.

Removing the Open Leg Band

Technical assistance from an experienced bird handler should be used to perform this procedure. In case of emergency, always have 3 handlers – 1-restraining the bird, 2nd- restraining the leg, and the 3rd -attentively removing the band (see below image left ).

Two vise grips must be securely fastened to each tip of the band. One on either side. Once both vise grips are fastened and securely gripped, leg and bird are properly restrained, apply pressure twisting in opposite direction from one another (see below image center).

This should spread the band apart in opposite direction and release it from the ankle. (see below image right).

remove open baby bands2

Removing Difficult Bands

remove open baby bands3
Pictured: Old band used for quarantine purposes and wire cutters used to remove them in emergency situation.

These old quarantine bands are the most difficult to remove. These are closed with a screw but are not closed baby bands! In an emergency situation, where inflammation could be foreseen, the removal of this band will necessitate the use of wire cutters. This procedure requires extreme caution and technical skills.

identification chip

Top: Injection instrument & micro chip, Bottom: Decoder reading chip following a procedure, where chip was implanted into breast muscle.

Identification is Essential!

Should you be forced to remove the identification of your bird, consider having a microchip implant placed by your avian veterinarian. Identification is crucial for future reference either medical history, genetic tracking for breeding or proof of ownership. Unfortunately, for the time being there are different brands available and various decoders are needed to tract all manufactured microchips. Conserve the removed bands in small plastic bag stapled to your bird’s birth certificate, health records and identification file.

Additional Tools to Consider

Hemostats to remove bleeding pin feather in case of emergency.

Bleeding pin feather with hemostats
flight feather
Scissors to remove bandages, trim cotton rope toys and groom flight feathers.

In need of help?

Explore our list of commonly asked questions from fellow parrot owners just like yourself