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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 01:32 PM
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broken blood feather

A month or so ago, Beeper broke a blood feather in his tail. He was poorly fledged, and is always breaking feathers on his tail, but this was the first blood feather we had to pull.

I can restrain him without a towel (trained him to let me) and my husband used a hemostat to pull the feather. To his credit, Beeper did really well.

You read about pulling broken blood feathers all the time, but I know a lot of people have never had to do it. I took a picture of the feather when we were done for the folks on Thought you guys might like to see it as well.

It might interest you that the tip of the hemostat was held against the skin. All of the shaft beyond the hemostat was on the inside. We had no idea they were really that long underneath the skin.

Just thought some people might be interested.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 02:28 PM
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That's pretty cool. Pony had a blood feather once but we let the vet take care of it.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 05:40 PM
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awww poor baby. I'd be at the vet for that. I'm a chicken
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 05:51 PM
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I've had to pull blood feathers before. It sort of feels weird pulling them out, though. That's a rather neat looking picture Alika!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 06:10 PM
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can someone explain the blood feather thing to me? (Don't panic I do not own birds lol)
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2004, 06:21 PM
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Oh, sorry...

When a new feather is growing in, it has a blood supply in the shaft to feed it while it grows. Feathers with this blood supply are called blood feathers. After the feather is fully grown, the blood recedes, and the feather is no longer a blood feather.

Birds break blood feathers all the time. Most commonly, it happens in the wings and in the tail, because those are the places most likely to get banged up against something. When a blood feather breaks, it bleeds. The bleeding sometimes stops on it's own, but if the feather is not pulled it can get bumped again and start bleeding again.

For pet birds, it is usually recommended that the feather gets pulled so that it cannot bleed again.

Interestingly enough, if you have a bird that you want to fly, you generally don't want to pull the feather. Rehabbers and falconers will sometimes try to splint the feather to it's neighbor so it can't get bumped. If the feather can be left alone long enough for it to finish growing, the blood supply will recede and you won't have a problem anymore.

But for pet birds who don't need to fly to hunt to stay alive, who could easily bleed to death if a blood feather was bumped and injured in the middle of the night, it's much safer just to pull it. This stimulates a new feather to grow behind it.
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-06-2004, 09:19 PM
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About 2 months ago we had to go get a broken blood feather pulled for Gillian. We noticed it because she would not let us touch her wing with out moving real quick. Now yesterday something scared her and she flew into something and broke what looked like a blood feather in her wing and it wasn't dripping blood at all . I asked someone on another board after showing pictures of it and they said that she will probably pull it out herself. I thought I would have to take her back to the vet and have them pull it again, but she isn't showing any signs of pain.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-06-2004, 11:09 PM
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Hi, I use to own 3 cockatiels and grew up with tons of them. My parents never took our birds to the vet, I guess because they couldn't afford it or because thier is not a whole lot a vet can do with cockatiels at least.

I had a baby bird that got tons of blood feathers get broken and I use to just wash the area with the broken feather, take a towl and put pressure on it to help stop the bleding, after the area dried I would cut where the break was and then leave it alone. The rest of it usually would fall out on its own and he was fine. I never knew that you could splint the feathers and all that other inforamtion. I had other cockatiels that were older that everynow and then during malting season would break a blood feather and I did the same thing with them. I don't believe in trimming a birds feathers, plus, its so pretty to watch them fly around the room with thier full wing span.

Right now I have ferrets, but I hope to get a couple more cockatiels later on when they are gone.

Last edited by ILoveFuzzies; 12-06-2004 at 11:12 PM.
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