Just came home to my 10 month old cocatiel missing some feathers. There was a few drops of blood on the bottom of he cage. I checked his feathers and the blood feathers completely came off. There is dry blood but I applied flour (as suggested online). But he keeps picking at it and ocassionally screeches when he is picking at it. Will he infect it? What else can I do so he will be ok?
Type of Animal: cockatiel
Pet's Gender: male
Pet's Age: about 10 months
Name of Bird: Chico
Hi, I am sorry to hear of Chico's issue.If the blood feather is completely removed and is no longer actively bleeding then I would not expect it to become infected. Since several feathers were missing it sounds like there may have been a bit of trauma from banging around the cage. Any bruising or other visible trauma aside from the broken feather?Sometimes the feather breaks off with some of the shaft still embedded in the skin and these can continue to bleed or cause pain. If there is any feather left it would need to be completely removed to allow proper healing. I would recommend taking Chico to your avian vet if you can see any shaft still present in the skin or if you are uncertain and he keeps picking at the area.Any chance that there was trauma from a cat should also be seen by your avian vet as a bite or scratch can become infected quickly.Good luck with Chico. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Thank you for your response. The only feathers that are visibly missing are the first primary feathers at the tip of his wings (on each side). Today I have noticed no further evidence of bleeding. As far as trauma, I think he got startled, along with his mate. They both were on high alert. His behavior seems to be very normal though, still eating and drinking reguarly and not being lethargic. The only problem is that he keeps picking at his feathers and screeches a bit when he does so. Will that stop? Or is that an indication that it can be embedded in his skin?
Usually you can see a piece of it if it is still there. If it looks completely removed then I would give him a little time to settle down to see if he will stop picking at it. Right now it is a little sore still so he will be thinking about the area. Also possible that an adjoining feather could have been injured and is causing discomfort. If he does not settle down in the next 12-24 hours I would take him in to your avian vet.
How can I notice if it is still in there? Is it located near the base of his feathers? What coloration will it have?
If you run your finger over it you can usually feel the shaft if it is there. Also, there tends to be a visible swelling/opening at the skin level where the feather broke off. The shaft itself is clear but they rarely break below the skin level- you would see a rounded, blood-tinged end.
1995 UC Davis grad
emergency medicine, surgery, and general practice with avian and exotic interest