Mangile’s Pigeon Pages

Squab grows foot in navel.

by Robert J. Mangile

In April 1972 a local homing pigeon fancier called to ask me to witness an unusual condition on a week old squab.  When applying the seamless band on the squab he notices that a foot was missing.  With camera in hand, I drove over to investigate what generated the excitement.

The squab displayed what first appeared to be a partial leg, grown to its body; but closer observation revealed that the left foot, from below the heel, was grown inside the navel and the black foot could be seen beneath the skin of the abdomen.

This was a "once in a lifetime" experience!  How did such a condition come about?  The most likely explanation is that prior to and during the hatching process the egg yolk and the allantois is drawn into the abdomen and the foot got tangled in the allantois and was also taken into the body cavity through the navel.

I offered to remove the foot by means of simple surgery; i.e., cutting through the thin skin of the abdomen and removing the foot; but the owner opted to let his college friend practice his expertise instead.  The foot was removed but bird died from the anesthetic.

I seem to recall only one other report similar to this, in pigeons.

Squab with leg grown in navel.Squab with extracted leg from navel.
Figure 1.  Shown in the out-of-focus photo --is the live squab with its right foot growing inside its navel.  The darkened area beneath the skin of the abdomen is the closed blackened foot of the squab.

Figure 2.  After the removal of the foot, the area where the abdominal skin was attached can be seen above the closed, blackish, right foot against the lower left hand.

Article Index
Home Page