Leg-Ring Removal for Birds (Disease Investigation & Control - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Control / Treatment & Care / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Leg Band Removal
  • Bird must be held firmly.
  • Ring must be help firmly e.g. using artery forceps before being cut.
  • Ring-cutting scissors may be used to cut plastic or light metal leg bands. Cutting the ring in two places allows the ring to fall away in its two halves.
  • Ring-cutting cutters may be used for heavier "closed"leg rings.
  • A fine drill (e.g. a dental drill or hobby drill) may be used to cut through a heavy "closed" ring.
  • "Open" leg rings may be opened using two pairs of locking pliers to pull the ring apart.

(B12.31.w6, B13.1.w18, B14)

Appropriate Use (?)
  • Where soft tissue trauma to the leg causes swelling making a leg-ring too tight (B12.31.w6).
  • Leg ring removal may allow good healing of soft tissue trauma in this area (B12.31.w6).
  • Once swelling of the leg has begun, restriction by the ring may add to the trauma (B12.31.w6).
  • May require general anaesthesia (B14).
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Risk of fracturing tibiotarsus while using ring-cutters .
  • Ring may slip and rotate if not held firmly.
  • Ease of removal will vary depending on the type of ring.
  • Drill bit may cause severe soft tissue damage if allowed to slip.

(B13.1.w18, B14)

Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers Ring cutters are available which are designed specifically for removing bird leg rings (B14, D8).
Expertise level / Ease of Use Safe removal of heavy rings may require considerable skill.
Cost/ Availability Appropriate heavy-duty ring cutters may be obtained from ring suppliers, e.g. from Aviornis UK (D8).
Legal and Ethical Considerations Removal of closed rings may have legal implications where these are being used as a recognized legal means of identifying an individual.

In some countries there may be legislation restricting the diagnosis and treatment of disease in animals to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery."(see: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).).

Author Debra Bourne
References B12.31.w6, B13.1.w18, B14, D8

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