One of my parakeets lost a feather recently.
This was the first time this has happened in a while, so I was a bit concerned.
He seems to be fine, though, and it must have just needed a replacement.
In any case, I couldn’t really remember how to tell a blood feather from a mature one, so I wanted to find out and remind myself.
I looked into it.
So, how do you identify a blood feather?
The main way you can tell a blood feather is by the color of the shaft. They are called blood feathers because there is a lot more blood going into the feathers to support its growth, so the shaft of the feather will be much darker on a blood feather than on a mature one.
Blood feathers are relatively easy to identify once you know what to look for.
It will just be much darker, with a lot of extra blood flowing into it.
If you can see a feather that is darker than all the rest, your parrot has a blood feather.
Let’s look further into this.
What is a blood feather?
A blood feather is simply a young, newly grown feather which comes in to replace a feather that is lost.
Birds lose feathers for many reasons, and it usually doesn’t indicate a wider problem.
Blood feathers are just new feathers.
They are called this, as I said, because extra blood flows into the feather while it grows to support the growth.
Then, when the feather has fully matured, the shaft will turn white like the rest of its feathers.
Though it may sound a bit scary, a blood feather is nothing to worry about.
Let’s look at how to tell them apart, then.
How can you tell a blood feather from a mature feather?
As I said, it’s a simple case of just looking at the color of the shaft.
Blood feathers will be much darker, a very dark red, typically.
Most birds, parrots especially, tend to have white feather shafts once they’re fully mature, so it should be quite simple to tell them apart.
Try not to touch the area too much if you think there’s a blood feather there but you aren’t sure.
Breaking blood feathers can be a big problem for parrots, so you don’t want to risk doing that.
Many people ask if you should pull blood feathers, so let’s look into that.
What happens if you pull a blood feather?
The short answer is that your parrot could die.
Blood feathers, as I’ve said, are filled with blood, unlike mature feathers.
If you pull that feather, your parrot is going to start bleeding profusely, and this can be fatal.
Parrots are small, and they can’t take a lot of blood loss.
You should never, ever pull a blood feather.
There is no reason to, and any time your parrot loses a feather, which will happen from time to time, it will grow a blood feather in first.
This is completely normal, so you don’t need to do anything if you see a blood feather except be very careful.
The only time you would need to pull it is if the blood feather breaks.
They are delicate, and it can happen that they break, so here’s what to do if that does happen.
What to do if your parrot has a broken blood feather
Blood feathers can break, and this can be a big problem if not addressed.
The feather will, obviously, not continue to grow properly unless it is removed.
So, if the blood feather does break, you will need to remove it.
The best advice, if you can get an urgent appointment, is to just take your parrot to the vet and let them handle it.
It’s a very delicate task.
Even if you can’t get to a vet, you should still take the parrot to see the vet as soon as you can once you’ve removed the feather.
If you aren’t able to get to a vet, wrap the parrot in a towel to better control it.
Take some tweezers, and firmly grip the base of the blood feather shaft close to the skin.
Firmly, but gently, pull it until it comes out.
Use corn starch to aid in clotting and slow down the bleeding.
Use some sterilized gauze to apply light pressure to the area until the bleeding stops.
Blood feathers can be a bit delicate, then, so if you see one it’s probably a good idea not to handle your parrot for a little while until it is fully mature.
Blood feathers are normal, and nothing to worry about in themselves, but birds can’t tolerate a lot of bleeding, so a broken blood feather can be a huge problem.
Be careful when your parrot has a blood feather and you won’t have any issues.