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First Aid: Broken Blood Feather

Broken Feathers

On occasion, a blood feather will break and start to bleed. In a healthy bird, a broken blood feather is usually not a life-threatening emergency if appropriate steps are taken. Even if the bleeding stops quickly, however, you may wish to have your bird examined by a veterinarian, and have the broken blood feather removed. Even if the blood has clotted, broken blood feathers are often removed so they cannot be reinjured and consequently bleed. If a broken blood feather is removed, a new one will start to grow.

If a blood feather is repeatedly injured, continues to bleed, or the bird has a medical condition, such as liver disease which can affect the clotting ability of the blood, a significant amount of blood may be lost. This is an emergency situation, and action must be taken quickly.


If it is not an emergency situation, you are welcome to bring your bird in to Parrots N Stuff to have us remove the blood feather. There is a small charge to do so of $5.00 to $12.00 depending on the size of bird. If you are in doubt as to whether or not it is an emergency, please contact an Avian Veterinarian first.


If there is bleeding from a blood feather:

  1. Restrain the bird.

  2. Apply pressure to the broken shaft with gauze or a cotton ball. Cornstarch or Kwik Stop can be applied with a cotton ball to help the blood to clot.

  3. If the feather continues to bleed, it will need to be removed. If you have not done this before, it would be wise to call and talk to your veterinarian who can walk you through it. Removing the feather is best done using a tweezers/hemostats, or needle-nosed pliers. The feather should be gripped close to the skin and pulled steadily and firmly in the direction the feather is growing. Pulling out a feather will cause pain, so be sure you firmly, but carefully, hold the bird. If it is a wing feather, support and immobilize the wing to keep it steady during the procedure. Do not jerk on or twist the feather.

  4. If bleeding occurs from the follicle after the feather has been removed, continue to apply pressure to the area for several minutes.

  5. When the bleeding has stopped, return the bird to his cage, keep him quite, and monitor him for bleeding for an hour.

  6. If the feather broke off below the skin line, the feather cannot be totally removed, or pressure has not stopped the bleeding, the bird should be immediately examined by a veterinarian.

  7. Also consult your veterinarian immediately if your bird appears weak or there is excessive blood loss.

How can you be prepared?

Bird owners should be prepared and knowledgeable about how to manage a broken blood feather. A hemostat or needle nose pliers and cotton balls should be included in the bird's first aid kit. Being prepared for this emergency will make it easier for you and your bird, should a broken blood feather occur.



Information gathered from peteducation.com