'Bullet' Pukeko

Pukeko operation During duck shooting season it is legal to shoot pukeko. However, a lot of birds get shot at but not killed and are left to suffer, often dying due to injury and infection.

This pukeko came to Wildbase hospital with a broken leg via Whanganui Bird Rescue. X-rays showed that the break was due to a bullet, which was still in the leg. Surgical repair followed the next day where the bullet was removed and metal pins were used to stabilise the break for healing.

Pukeko are not great hospital patients. They don’t like to be handled and tend to panic when you go near them. So we had to be very careful and quiet around her so she didn't accidentally break her toes or legs. She ate the food we gave her, and she received pain relief and antibiotics.

The pins were cleaned and monitored over the five weeks it took for the leg bone to heal enough for the pins to be removed. While in hospital she had three x-rays, three weeks of daily antibiotics, five weeks of anti-inflammatory and two weeks of injectable pain relief. She then went back to Whanganui Bird Rescue to regain her fitness before being released back into the wild.

Other native bird case studies

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