wing feather

by conrad
(neptune beach, fl)

I have a scarlet Maccaw that has a wing feather that won't come out. She has trimmed it back so it doesn't bother her, is this anything to worry about?

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May 31, 2013
wing feather
by: Linda

If she falls on it and breaks it off near the skin, she can bleed to death if it is a blood feather. Broken blood feathers have to be removed. If this is a dead feather, it will come out on its' own in time. How you can tell blood feather from one that would be safe to fall out is the blood feather shaft looks pinkish/purplish throughout the shaft meaning it has active blood supply going through it. This type of feather cannot be trimmed and if broken has to be pulled out quickly or bird will bleed out.

Since she has been messing with it, and if you've seen no blood, this feather will fall out in time.

Instructions for pulling out a broken blood feather are as follows:

If you are close to avian vet, get there quickly so they can pull the feather out. If it will take a while to get to the vet, have a clean pair of needle nose pliers kept just for this kind of emergency. Have someone hold the bird securely. Grasp the bleeding feather close to body but not so close as to pinch the bird. Pull feather straight out from the way it grows out from the body. The important thing here is having someone competent hold the bird because Macaws do not like this procedure at all. Wrap bird in a larger towel so feet and other wing are kept next to bird's body. Leave the head free and have the holder grasp bird's head from behind using the thumb and forefinger. Make sure hold is from behind and that fingers reach around on either side of the jaws which keeps the head still and keeps the jaws from working. This procedure is best done by an avian vet and their trained staff, but sometimes it has to be done at home. Every minute wasted means more blood loss, so try and keep the blood loss to a minimum. Blood should stop flowing once the blood feather is removed. If not, put a bit of cooking starch or quik stop on the wound and hold it for 10 seconds to stop blood flow. I've done this a number of times, and there may be another drop or two of blood and then it stops.

If a parrot loses too much blood from something like this, it will have to have emergency services in form of transfusions/iv fluids. Sometimes, birds die from shock anyway.


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