Common Bird Injuries

 

 

Depending on your experience and comfort with handling your bird, these events can often be managed by the owner at home. If the desired results are not achieved right away, please call your avian veterinarian for guidance.

 

Broken Blood Feather

Bleeding from broken blood feathers can often be controlled by applying cornstarch or flour and gentle direct pressure to the damaged area of the feather. If bleeding persists despite this, the feather may need to be removed. Grasp the feather close to the base with forceps and pull with a steady, even pressure in the direction of the feather growth. Apply direct pressure to the open follicle for a few minutes after feather removal.
  • Calmly restrain the bird.
  • Locate the broken feather and determine where the damage is.
  • Tail and wing feathers can be more difficult to manage than pin and contour feathers. Support the tail or wing steadily as you work on the bird to prevent flapping. Wing feathers grow out of the bone, so it is particularly important to keep the wing stable.
  • Clotting agents like Clotisol and surgical glue are also excellent for control of minor bleeding. They are handy items to include in your avian first aid kit.
  • Do not apply caustic agents like Quik Stop, silver nitrate or Ferric Sulfate to the skin, feathers or follicle. Use of these products on the tissues can cause chemical burns and contribute to the formation of feather cysts
  • Place your bird in a quiet area to rest after such an event and observe him carefully afterward for any additional problems.

If you are unsure about handling this yourself or cannot get the bleeding stopped in a reasonable amount of time, then place sterile gauze over the effected area, apply direct pressure and bring your bird immediately to your avian vet. Some underlying health conditions can effect the normal clotting of the blood. When in doubt, call your vet.

 

Bleeding from Broken Nail or Beak

Bleeding from a toenail that is cut too short or has been damaged in an accident can be stopped by packing the broken end with cornstarch, flour or by rubbing it across a bar of soap. Quick Stop or a similar product can also be used, but take care not to get it on the bird's skin.

The tip of the bird's beak can be damaged by a fall or other accident. Packing the broken tip of the beak with cornstarch or flour and applying direct pressure can stop any bleeding. Clotting agents like Clotisol are also very effective. Do not use caustic products like Quick Stop or Ferric Sulfate in this area due to the danger of burning sensitive mouth tissues.

Impact from a blow to the beak can often cause tiny cracks that are difficult to visualize without magnification. These may cause continued bleeding or discomfort that will prevent the bird from eating.

  • Calmly restrain the bird, clean off the blood and access the injury.
  • Apply the appropriate product to the bleeding nail or beak along with gentle direct pressure.
  • When the bleeding is stopped, place the bird in a quiet area to rest and him observe carefully for any additional problems.

If you are unsure about handling this yourself or cannot get the bleeding stopped in a reasonable amount of time, then place sterile gauze over the effected area, apply direct pressure and take your bird immediately to your avian vet. Some underlying health conditions can effect the normal clotting of the blood. When in doubt, call your vet.

 

Overheating

Overheating can be brought on by extreme temperatures from excessive supplemental heat (such as a heating pad set too high), no shade or shelter from the sun, and enclosure in a vehicle or container without air circulation. The symptoms are open mouthed breathing (panting) and the wings held well away from the body. This is the bird attempting to cool himself down.
  • Bathe the bird's feet and legs in cool water.
  • Mist his feathers down with cool water until he is wet to the skin.
  • Place the bird in a quiet, cooler area, watch for further problems and call your avian veterinarian to see if they recommend further treatment.
  • Some conditions, such as obesity, can cause a bird to pant and have difficulty cooling themselves off. See your avian vet for an evaluation to ensure your bird is maintaining the proper weight for its age, size and species.

Oil on the Feathers

  • Contamination of oil on the feathers of birds is a serious problem for them. Oily feathers are no longer able to insulate the bird from heat and cold, plus the bird will ingest oil in an effort to clean it off, causing possible toxic reactions. Oily substances like household oil and greasy medications need to be cleaned off the feathers immediately.
  • Prepare a warm, supportive environment (85-90F) for the bird.
  • To clean off light oil, use a light solution of Dawn dishwashing detergent and water. Use tepid water. To clean off heavy oil, you must first dilute it with light oil, then wash with the detergent solution.
  • Rinse well in tepid water.
  • Wrap the bird immediately in an absorbent towel and blot dry. You can further dry the bird using a blow dryer set on low.
  • Place the bird into the warm, supportive environment and call your avian veterinarian for further guidance.

Top

STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11