Advice about broken tail feathers?

by Carla

My goffin is suddenly down to 3 tail feathers. She is with me all day and a well adjusted spoiled rotten bird. Has plenty of toys, placed so she can move about. I also change them out so she doesn't get bored. She spends most of her time on tree stand. Every once in a while one might break off. I have never seen her plucking or pulling at them. Then this morning, there are only 3, there were 8 yesterday. Her tail looks awful.

They are not falling out, they are broken off. She is going through a molt right now but she has never done this in previous molts. Does anyone know what might be causing this? Is it the molt, some type of vitamin defeciency, some type of parasite? I feed her pellets,fresh veggies and fruits, and occassionally "human food" when we eat together but only small amounts and only now and then. If its something I am doing or not doing, I want to know so
I can stop this.

I cover her at night around 10pm and she is up with me at 6am. She doesn't make racket like she is unhappy, while covered. This can only be happening at night. She is 16 mo old and has been night covered since I got her, right after she weaned. Any suggestions? I know lost/released tail feathers will come back, but do tail feathers some back from a break? Thanks for any help with this matter.

Comments for Advice about broken tail feathers?

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 17, 2009
Advice about broken tail feathers?
by: Linda

You are doing everything right, and here's what could be happening. Has anything changed about where she sleeps at night? Most broken tail feathers happen during a fall where bird lands wrong on feather, and snaps it in two. The feathers that have fallen out will come back in, and the broken ones will stay that way until they are lost during molt. If she's molting now, they'll fall out and new ones will come in.

We usually see broken tail feathers with the long-tailed birds like the Macaws. With a shorter tailed bird like the Too, she is either falling or getting them caught in some part of her cage. Check out her cage carefully and see if there is anything that could grab her tail feathers where she would break them getting out of the bind. If there is nothing, then she is falling during the night. Night terrors or thrashing occur when something out of the ordinary happens during the night. Either a light, noise or strange animal or person prowling around.

When they fall off perch in the night, they are scared and just flail around breaking feathers. Bleeding out happens when blood feathers (new ones) are coming in or just came in and are broken. These will bleed from the site of the break. Keep a pair of needle-nosed pliers handy. You will need someone to help you hold bird down, second, attach pliers to feather somewhere above the break and closer to body, and very firmly and quickly pull straight down in the direction feather is growing, just straight out from the body the way it is growing out. It may bleed another drop or two, and should coagulate quickly. Until broken blood feather is pulled out, the bird will bleed out because the bleeding won't stop on its own or with styptic powder or pads. If you have no one to help you, take a towel or sheet and gently wrap bird up in it. They are already scared to death, so do all this quickly. Leave a breathing hole for nostrils, and have rest of body wrapped so you are able to hold the feather in one hand and the pliers in the other. If someone lives with you, get them to hold the wrapped bird until you can get the feather pulled smoothly and quickly out.

If she is doing this at night, move her cage in close to where you sleep. Hopefully you will hear it happen. Uncover cage. Turn on low-light lamp, so she gets her bearings and is able to climb back on perch and not enough so she can't get back to sleep.

A trip to Avian Vet is a good idea to rule out seizures and/or parasites.

Let us know what you find out at home or at the vet's, as this can help one of us on down the road. Thanks for writing,

Click here to add your own comments