A New Leg to Stand On

This beautiful female mallard duck came to the VINS Wildlife Services department on August 1. She was transferred here from another rehabilitator and had been found on the side of the road after being struck by a vehicle. This little lady was so swollen around her left leg that at the time she came in, we were unable to find the fracture that was causing her so much pain.

You can see a video here of VINS staff removing her bandage.

A few days of rest and anti-inflammatory medication reduced the swelling enough that we could finally tell the leg was broken along her tarsometatarsus bone — the first long leg bone above the foot. There was also a great deal of soft tissue damage and, even after the care, swelling along the leg was making it hard for this duck to use her leg at all.

VINS wildlife staff placed a splint on the injur
ed leg to try and hold it in place so the fracture could heal properly. Despite the brace, through, the mallard continued to hold that leg splayed out behind her, not neatly tucked under her body. After nearly two weeks of bracing the leg, and two different splints, it was finally time for the bandage to come off for good!

Since it is very important to keep bandaging dry while it is on a bird, this had been a duck out of water for several weeks, with only a small bowl in which to dip her beak. Once that splint was off, though, it was time for some watery fun. We allowed the mallard to test out her newly healed leg in our exam room where she promptly shuffled over to her small water bowl and flopped in it. We gave her a mist bath as well, which she loved! She tried to catch the water in her mouth and was preening and rousing (fluffing her feathers up and shaking it all out). She was such a happy duck!


  1. Tree on August 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Quacktastic job! I look forward to seeing a video of the release.

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