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What Is Your Opinion On Blood Feathers?

Dostc426

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Chelsea Dostert
Hello everyone!
I have endured several years of my sun conure being incredibly clumsy, and as a result, fractured/broken blood feathers amuck! At first we were extremely worried about them and would pull them out immediately more out of fear than for logic's sake. However as the years have gone by, we've realized they don't seem to be as big of an emergency as the internet has made them out to be?

Everywhere I look the internet is riddled with the mentality about how you "must remove the feather immediately or they will die!" However whenever he has gotten one removed from the vet or I have spoken to them, it is not treated as an emergency in any capacity unless he was losing a lot of blood (which I thought he did once, but was then told I wasn't even close to a concerning amount.)

We have become pro's at noticing signs for concern (not eating/drinking, weight loss, amount of blood loss, listless behavior) though we have not encountered this when he fractures a feather. Just yesterday, he got really startled and fractured two! Both stopped bleeding within ten minutes and he has been energetic, constantly eating, even regurgitating hormonally! While the area is slightly tender for him, and he sometimes removes the clot, though if I just leave it be and simply monitor it my parrot goes on as if nothing is bothering him!

What are peoples thoughts on the matter? Understandably this doesn't apply to baby birds, my conure is 9 years old! The only article I have found that relates to the mentality we have adopted is this one: What to Do About A Broken Blood Feather | BirdSupplies.com
 

iamwhoiam

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Don't agree with the need to remove them immediately as long as the bleeding can be stopped. If it continues then the feather should be pulled. My 'tiel used to break blood feathers frequently. Using Kwik Stop or corn starch with pressure I was usually able to stop the bleeding but sometimes I would try a few times and he kept bleeding for longer than I thought was safe so I had to pull one or more feathers. One time I even rushed him to the vet because I couldn't get the bleeding to stop and couldn't find the feather that was bleeding.
Sometimes broken blood feathers will clot on their own. I've found broken ones on the bottom of Kuiper's cage and when I've checked him I've found that the area where the feather came from had clotted.
 

sunnysmom

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I recently attended a parrot first aid class and the vet said most blood feathers do not need to be pulled. She also said that pulling the feather is extremely painful for the bird. So using something to try to stop the bleeding- like corn starch is recommended. Applying pressure to stop the bleeding if that's a possibility. She also said if it's too jagged and causing problems you can trim them back a bit but to only pull if you really have to.
 

Dostc426

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I completely agree with both of you! Its crazy how limited this information is on the web. You google it and everyone makes you think you are going to kill your bird if you don't pull it out!
 

taxidermynerd

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In my experience, when Chirp has broken a blood feather I take him to the vet, I have done this at 3am before (thank you 24/7 ER). It's not because I'm afraid he'll die, but it's because I do not feel comfortable pulling the feather myself (I would probably do more harm than good).

A blood feather is connected to the blood supply, so the bleed good when broken. And Chirp bleeds real hard when he busts a feather. Sure, I could towel him and put flour on him, but I feel that doing that every 15 minutes is going to cause him more stress than just getting it pulled.

So generally, if he busts a blood feather, I'll flour it and get him into his smaller cage (the travel cage, larger than his carrier), and call the vet to let them know I'm coming in. They'll take him in back and pull it, and look him over and it'll be done. My AV has a bird herself so she knows how it is as a parront. My vet is close so it only takes about 20 minutes to get there and get him seen. I tend to worry about blood feathers more because he's very small so bleeding is a bigger risk to him.
 

melissasparrots

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For the most part, I leave them. If you don't get the bird's blood pressure up by trying to restrain it to look at the injury, the blood clots on its own. If they keep re-injuring it, I might consider pulling it. However, I have not pulled a blood feather in...18 years? The last time was when Ariel was a baby. She came to me with a blood feather on her good wing and I had the vet pull it at our well bird check. That feather as never grown back in the many years I've had her. Also, her left wing was pinioned by one of her parents in the nest box. When she was young, the most distal feathers on that wing kept getting twisted and bleeding. I stopped worrying about it. She had one that bled quite a lot while I was gone, but she didn't seem any worse for the wear and it was clotted when I got home. I've had an amazon that apparently had a night fright while I was on a mini vacation and he splattered the walls and ceiling in blood. The bird was fine even though my kitchen and living room looked like a crime scene.
 

EnglishBudgMom

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Hello! New bird owner here. We just recently had some broken feathers that weren't part of Bubbles' molt and I found blood in the shafts (I posted over in Budgies Forum), I found one after he fluttered off my shoulder and one older one at the bottom of cage. I was all worried because I expected much blood and gore, but there was none! Bubbles just recently saw his Vet (Avian Vet that was a former Oregon Zoo vet, sees only exotics) and got a clean bill of health so we knew it wasn't a feather disease issue, he had a nail trim and isn't as "grippy" anymore. Anyway.... when I took Bubbles for initial well bird check she told me what to do if he broke a blood feather; she said don't rush in to have it pulled, it'll grow back. She said "cover him and make him sleep, calm him down, a budgie can safely lose half their blood volume (or something like that)". She said they won't bleed out like you think they would. She certainly didn't sound anything like the articles you read online! So my experience/research has been the same as yours. So..... yeah.... *shrug* :huh::)
 

Dostc426

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I appreciate everyone's feedback!!! I feel much better relating to everyone and am thankful to know that I'm not crazy for not pulling them anymore! The last time I did was in January because it was the first time he broke a tail feather and where I thought he lost a lot of blood turned out he didn't at all, and I felt bad for getting it pulled! :( I just hope this thread will help others when they panic over their first blood feather and look it up on the internet! :p
 

jmfleish

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I've heard that a bird can lose almost 50% of its blood before it's in danger. I believe this because I live with Reggie Lou D2 who pulls his feathers out and has left huge bloody messes all over the place at times. At one time, I thought he might even be iron deficient because he had pulled so many blood feathers out and had lost so much blood but nope...he was good to go. I do not bother blood feathers that are broken unless I cannot get them to stop bleeding. You can do more harm than good if you don't pull them out correctly and I don't find it worth the trouble when nine times out of ten, you can get them to stop bleeding without much effort.
 
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