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Broken Blood Feather? How to Treat Your Cockatiel’s Injury

broken blood feather

Cockatiels are lovely and intelligent birds that are often kept as pets due to their playful and affectionate nature. However, they are prone to injuries, and one of the most common injuries that cockatiels can experience is a broken blood feather. A broken blood feather occurs when a new feather or tail feather is growing, and the blood supply to the feather is damaged or broken, causing bleeding and discomfort to the bird. If left untreated, a broken blood feather can lead to infection and other complications, which can be dangerous for your cockatiel’s health.

Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to treat your cockatiel’s broken blood feather and help them heal quickly. In this article, we will provide you with some helpful tips and tricks to help you care for your cockatiel and ensure that they recover from their injury safely and comfortably. Whether you are a new bird owner or a seasoned avian enthusiast, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into how to care for your feathered friend and keep them healthy and happy.

What Is a Blood Feather?

Unlike other feathers, blood feathers have a direct supply of blood flow to the shaft as they are actively growing.

Broken Blood Feather? How to Treat Your Cockatiel’s Injury

Broken Blood Feather Emergency

A broken blood feather can be a stopped faucet gushing streams of your bird’s lifeblood. Untreated, it could result in death from too much blood loss which birds cannot tolerate otherwise.


If your bird exhibits blood in his cage or on himself, the first thing you should do is determine whether it’s due to a broken blood feather. The majority of broken blood feathers are simple to spot since they display bleeding from the feather shaft straight out. If you can’t tell if a fractured blood feather is causing your bird’s bleeding, get him to an avian veterinarian as soon as feasible for evaluation and therapy.

broken blood feather


Treating Your Bird’s Broken Blood Feather

If you discover a fractured blood feather, the feather shaft must be removed from the bird’s skin to stop the bleeding. To remove the cockatiel blood feather, first wrap your pet in a towel. This will not only allow you to safely hold your pet as you work to remove the feather, but it will also reduce the amount of stress on him as a result of this procedure.

You will need a plucking instrument (tweezers, hemostat, or needle-nose pliers), cornstarch, and sterile gauze.

To find the broken blood feather, look for a little pool of blood. Once you’ve located it, use the tweezers to firmly grip the base of the shaft near your bird’s skin. As quickly as possible, pull on the base until freed from follicle—one quick movement is best to minimize bleeding permanently.

Pluck the blood feather, then place a small amount of cornstarch on the area to encourage clotting. Apply pressure to the feather follicle with gauze until the bleeding has stopped. A new feather should start growing within a few days.

See Your Veterinarian

If you are looking for a location to remove a broken blood feather, your veterinarian is an excellent option. Aside from that, it’s prudent to schedule an appointment with your avian vet as soon as possible after removing a damaged blood feather to ensure there are no issues and your bird is doing well. If you haven’t already discovered the problem, ask your doctor what you should do if your bird has a fractured blood feather and how to help your bird’s broken blood feather heal. Keep sturdy tweezers or clean pliers and bandages in stock in case of emergency.


Miracle Care Feather Glo Bird Bath Spray, 32-Ounce
  • Helps to provide relief from feather picking and scratching and minimizes molting.
  • Cleans, beautifies and invigorates feathers and skin.
  • For use on all caged birds.
Dr Cockatiel is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.


Can a Bird Die From a Broken Blood Feather?

Cockatiel blood feathers are a common occurrence, so it’s important to know how to stop the bleeding and provide at-home treatment. This could potentially save your bird’s life.

In order to fly, bird’s have to be lightweight, so they have smaller volumes of blood in their body. When a blood feather breaks, it’s a bit like an open faucet, depleting the blood supply. The wound will bleed until it clots.

A fractured blood feather may result in your birdbleeding out. It’s critical to minimize the bleeding as soon as possible.

Having a broken blood feather is not only painful for your bird, but it can also be quite frightening. If this injury is not treated right away, it could result in rapid blood loss. Understandably, your bird may flap wildly out of fear and pain; however, doing so will only elevate its heart rate and make the bleeding worse.

Plan ahead so that, if and when your bird breaks a blood feather, you’ll be ready to act. Keep your hospital cage clean and prepared for just such an occurrence, as well as replacing your Styptic powder on a yearly basis.

Should I Pull a Broken Blood Feather?

No! (In most cases.) It’s 2021 now. Modern avian vets are no longer advising us to grab a bleeding blood feather as the first line of defense. There are a few issues with this approach that contemporary veterinarians don’t like.

To begin, extracting a pin feathers is extremely distressing to the bird since the feather shaft is firmly embedded in living skin tissue. You risk ripping out a large amount of skin tissue when you pull out the feather, as well as damaging ligaments and bones.

Secondly, your bird will go through a lot of pain and trauma from this experience. If you cause your bird intense pain or a broken feather shaft, it will damage the bond between you and potentially result in a very skittish pet. It’s sort of like birdie PTSD.

If you deem it necessary to pull the feather, I recommend that you have an avian vet do it. They can support your pet if it goes into shock from the pain and treat the area to prevent infection or manage the pain caused by this secondary injury.

How Long Does It Take a Broken Blood Feather to Heal?

The length of time it takes for a broken blood feather to heal can vary depending on the severity of the break and the health of the bird. Blood feathers are newly emerging feathers that have a blood supply running through them, and if broken, can cause bleeding and pain to the bird.

Typically, a broken blood feather will take a few days to a week to heal. During this time, it is essential to keep the bird calm and quiet, as any agitation or activity can exacerbate the injury and prolong the healing process.

It is also important to monitor the bird for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge around the broken feather. If any of these symptoms are present, or if the bird appears to be in significant discomfort, it is best to consult with a veterinarian, who may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication to aid in the healing process.

In general, with proper care and attention, most broken blood feathers will heal within a week, allowing the bird to resume normal activities and movement.