In a recent article, we explored the workings of a bird’s blood feathers and why a broken and bleeding blood feather can be dangerous. Today, we’ll explore how to remove a broken blood feather and why this is important.
Blood feathers are immature feathers with a rich blood supply that extends up into the feather shaft. These feathers can bleed profusely, as they do not clot well and while the bleeding may stop temporarily, it’s common for the bleeding to resume if the feather is disturbed. Therefore, plucking the feather is the safest solution. This will stop the bleeding.
Follow these steps to remove a bleeding blood feather:
- Get a pair of needle-nose pliers (for a larger bird) or a pair of tweezers (for a small bird).
- Locate the base of the bleeding feather and firmly grasp the base with the pliers or tweezers.
- Pull the feather firmly and steadily in the direction of growth. Do not yank it out suddenly.
- Apply a small amount of styptic powder to the area where the feather had been located.
- Apply pressure to the bird’s skin with a piece of sterile gauze. Keep applying pressure until the bleeding stops.
The vein inside the feather does not clot well and the feather shaft is stiff, so untreated, the bleeding can be profuse.
But once you pluck the bleeding feather, the vein will be broken-off inside the flesh, where clotting is more effective and the surrounding tissues will apply pressure to the vein, causing it to stop bleeding. Once removed, the bleeding typically resolves within a minute or two.
Another note concerning blood feathers: When clipping a bird’s flight feathers, it’s extremely important to ensure that you do not cut a blood feather. This is one danger of improper wing clipping and it’s why you should learn how to trim your bird’s flight feathers from a professional or leave the task to your avian vet.