budgie parakeet self injury?

by Vivian

I woke up this morning to find blood all over the cage of my two male parakeets. They acted perfectly normal, they are eating and drinking and chirping, etc. One of them though seems to have blood on the tip of his beak (which needs a trim soon, he is getting older) and disheveled feathers near his tail, with a little blood there too.

There are small splatters of blood on the perch, the bedding, and a few tiny drops on the floor and wall outside their cage. This might be something of an emergency but I don't know what else to do and I don't think we can afford the vet right now...please help me.

I don't remember hearing a commotion in the middle of the night, and everything is perfectly intact. Last night I made sure they were sitting on their top perch before I turned the lights off, like I do every night, just so they don't try to move to their sleeping spots in the dark. I would try to investigate myself but they are very easily frightened and will not let me touch them. I would a very high risk of further injury if I were to try to catch him.

I just need to know the possibilities of what could have happened. Please, please help. Please.
ps. I would take pictures but our camera recently broke :(

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Oct 18, 2009
Blood in bird cage area
by: The Vet

This is commonly caused by a broken blood feather, usually a wing feather, but it could be a tail feather. There are other causes for this and it should be investigated when you are in a position to do so. Then take them to see an avian veterinarian.

If the bleeding has stopped, then there is not need to do anything at this point. If you see fresh blood or can tell where the blood is coming from, then you will need to catch up the bleeding bird and apply direct pressure to the source of the blood.

Dr B

Oct 17, 2009
self injury
by: Linda

It would be a great idea to get your bird's used to a lightweight cover during the night. Also keep one of those nightlites in room that are activated when all light is out. We keep one in our bird's room. Now, if the electricity goes off, so does the nightlite, and this is where our birds will fall and thrash breaking feathers.

Bird's beaks need to be trimmed at least every six months or no longer than a year by an Avian Vet. Never try and trim your bird's beak yourself as bird can bleed to death from the beak. The blood on beak may have been caused by the sharp tip being hit and coming off when he fell. Sometimes, there is NOT a happy ending to this story, and in your case, your bird's injuries clotted on their own. Little birds losing blood is a traumatic thing, and sharp claws and beaks cause a lot of injuries in the cage. Toenails also need to be clipped periodically, and your Avian vet can do it and show you how for the next time. You can clip nails if you have some styptic powder or pads on hand right next to you when trimming nails so a bleed can be stopped immediately. You need to buy some of this to have in case of a broken blood feather that bird has not pulled out for himself. Birds will bleed to death from a broken blood feather if they or someone else does not pull it out. If this happens during the day, use a clean pair of needle nose pliers, take hold of the feather that is bleeding and pull it straight out from the hole it is growing out from. There will be a few more drops of blood, and then wound will clot and close.

Keep your birds covered at night and use a low light nitelight somewhere in their room. Do not use a bright one, use one that is activated when light is out. You can also put this light in another room where a little ambient light will be a faint glow so they can get reoriented when they fall off perch. Lightweight covers would be small sheets or pieces of light colored poly or cotton fabric where edges have been finished so there are no threads for birds to decide to pull in the morning when they wake up.

Let birds rest, get or make a cover for cage, and have some ambient light where it will light their way in the dark to get back to perches. We keep battery operated lights around so if electricity goes out in winter, we can put one near bird's room so they can get back up from the cage bottom. We have Amazons, so the thrashing is common to any and all birds when startled in the night in total darkness.


Oct 17, 2009
Blood in the bird cage
by: Tracie

It sounds like one of the birds broke a blood feather and probably pulled it out so they are not bleeding now.

I am one to want to take the bird to the vet for peace of mind, but if the birds are acting fine and are not bleeding now, I think you can skip the appointment.

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