How to Fix a Broken Blood Feather

What to Do if Your Bird Breaks a Blood Feather

feather with blood
Juan R. Fabeiro / Getty Images

All birds have blood feathers, so it's important for pet bird owners to be familiar with them and to know what to do in the event that one gets broken.

A broken blood feather can be quite an emergency for a pet bird. The reason for this is that broken blood feathers that remain in a bird's skin essentially act as an open faucet allowing blood to pour out of the bird's body. Because birds cannot tolerate much blood loss, broken blood feathers that are left untreated can be fatal in some cases.

If you notice blood on your bird or in his cage, the first thing to do is determine if it is indeed the result of a broken blood feather. Most broken blood feathers are fairly easy to identify, as you will be able to see the blood coming directly out of the feather shaft. If you are unable to determine whether or not a broken blood feather is the source of your bird's bleeding, take your bird to an avian vet as quickly as possible for an examination and treatment.

If you are able to identify a broken blood feather, the feather shaft must be removed from the bird's skin to stop the bleeding. To remove the broken blood feather, the first thing to do is to towel the bird. This will not only allow you to restrain your pet safely as you work to remove the feather, it will reduce the amount of stress to your bird as a result of the procedure.

Once your bird is restrained, locate the broken blood feather.

Using strong tweezers, hemostats, or needlenose pliers, grasp the blood feather firmly at the base of the shaft, close to the bird's skin. Working as quickly as possible, pull on the base of the feather until the shaft is freed from the feather follicle.

Once you have plucked the blood feather, place a pinch of cornstarch on the affected area to help aid clotting, and use a piece of sterile gauze to apply pressure to the feather follicle until the bleeding has stopped.

It's a good idea to schedule a visit with your avian vet as soon as possible after removing a broken blood feather, just to make sure that there are no complications and your bird is recovering successfully. When it comes to the health of our feathered friends, the best policy to adopt is "better safe than sorry."