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carrion crow shoes


So we are new to this forum, I came to seek help about designing shoes for a carrion crow if possible. I found about two weeks ago a juvenile crow which was already quite grown (but she still has a bit of feather shafts). She had both feet malformed, all the fingers were linked together by skin. Something really unusual, I would be happy to post photos, but not sure how? She also has the alula weirdly shaped, ending in a sort of little hard horn. I am from a bird rehab centre located in Spain, and we have 8 avian vets who had never seen such thing. I found her in the mountain, far away from any village, so she definitely was raised by her parents, and just stumbled from the tree in front of me. She is otherwise quite healthy and currently in an aviary at my home with a baby magpie which will go to the magpie rehab aviary very soon. 

We have operated on her feet and separated the fingers, the idea being that she may be able to perch (she can grip well with one thumb). She is of course unreleasable, but it would be nice for her quality of life if she could open her feet and perch on branches. I have used shoes in the past successfully to reposition parrots fingers, but I am struggling with this one. One of her wrists (I.e. just above the foot) is twisted inwards and he walks on the side of her foot. the other side all fingers are also pointing forward, so I would like to gently/progressively open the foot to position the thumb backward. Any idea/photo of a she design and material I could use is welcome. She respects the bandages well, but she loves to bathe so it should be an open design, washable and breathable ideally.

On another note we don't have other crows in the installations, just magpies (about 10 to 40 depending on the season), would they be ok companions for her? Also there is a high turn over in this aviary because we are not a sanctuary, we try and keep as few permanent residents as possible. We would probably need to add some platforms for her in there too.

Many thanks 



First of all I have to sincerely apologise that we haven't replied earlier. To our defence, we have been very much occupied with moving house and sanctuary from one end to the other end of the country. Please accept my apologies! I understand that the reply is probably of no consequence anymore, but I thought I reply anyway.

Thank you very much for taking so good care of this poorly crow fledgling. We had good success with similar, but possibly less worse cases,  by applying either a tape bandage or a dedicated shoe, or occasionally both in short succession of each other. We usually refer to the shoe design outlined in the manual below. It works well and can be made waterproof (please see link below). Please note that perching will not be easily possible, when shoes are applied, and perches may need adaptation.

We occasionaly use vet wrap (for larger birds), but for most cases we rely on Snogg, the latter being the best in our experience. Sometimes we use both, in particular in larger birds, by applying the vet wrap on top of the Snogg.

With regards to company. Magpies and crows do not get on well in the wild, and in captivity.  Only fledglings may get on well, if they haven't lived already longer in the wild before. Having said that, two of our now adult magpies, who are not getting on with each other, live now separate from each other with other jackdaws and  with residential crows, but this is in our view down to the individual personality and does usually not work well.

I hope you still find the belated response useful. I am sorry for not having replied earlier. All the best for your rescue and birds.


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