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Okay, so maybe panicking is a heavy handed term. I'm just kind of freaked out. Basically, 7 months ago I contacted a very reputable breeder about getting a parakeet as a pet because my apartment is strict about cats and dogs but I really missed having a pet. I thought a small bird would be perfect. I explained to the breeder what I wanted, and she told me it sounded like I was more in the market for a cockatiel. After A LOT of research, I decided I definitely DID want a cockatiel. The breeder just happened to be near time for having a new clutch hatch, and I was pumped. My baby Amelia hatched in February, and was pulled for hand feeding at around 4 weeks. I went to go see her and fell in love instantly.It was torture waiting those additional weeks for her to go off formula and come home. Fast forward to now, she is rounding her 6 month old mark and has started losing feathers. Not her pin feathers (which she has always lost) but like full long feathers. This has been happening for about a month or so now, which wouldn't be such a big deal to me, except today I found one on the bottom of the cage that looks like it has blood inside the end bit.

I basically gave the whole run down of getting her to explain that I really am super attached to this little bird and want to be the best owner I can be-- and thus if this is a stupid reason to be so worried... I am sorry for freaking. I just want to know if this is a sign of something bad. All of my research shows that if she's feather plucking that can be so difficult to stop, and if this is a lost blood feather, she could die... And if she's over preening-- which I properly worry she might be because she does spend A LOT of time cleaning herself, that is also a problem.

For additional possibly needed info, she's on a mixed diet of seed and pellets (but does favor the seed)-- which I am trying to discourage because I know she's at risk of being overweight especially since her wings are still clipped from when I first purchased her. I keep her on a 12/12 schedule of sunlight as best I can. She has a cuttlebone in her cage at all times, fresh water daily (sometimes twice a day because she's messy). She gets fresh broccoli or lettuce pretty much daily, but I have a hard time getting her to eat other veggies and she doesn't like fruits, if anyone has any suggestions about that. Oh and she gets one spray of millet every day or other day, and I only limit that because I know it's very fatty and she will just devour it without regard for any other food around.

Basically, the feathers are starting to really worry me, especially this bloody one. I want so badly to ensure I'm doing the best I can at this whole bird ownership thing but I am very new to it and I'm just so flipping worried. Sorry for the whole info dump here. I'm just hoping someone can help!

PS I'm attaching a picture both of my beautiful pearl baby and of the feather find that has me so worried.
 

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Hello there and welcome to the forum!

Firstly, please don't panic! You are doing a great job at being a cockatiel mum.

The blood in this feather means it hadn't finished growing before it came out. She must have knocked it out of place, but good news is the feather came out in one clean piece so Amelia is in no danger of bleeding out. If you do see any blood coming from her wing, you can put some cornstarch on it to clot it up, but she should be fine. It's only dangerous if the feather breaks off and part of it is left under the skin, keeping the vein open. If that happens, get her to a vet asap.

In regards to the other feather loss: Amelia is going through her first molt and during this time they lose and regrow quite a large amount of their feathers, both big and small, which can take weeks. It's a long, slow process and it's totally normal for them to clean themselves and preen their feathers a lot. This is a good sign. They get irritated and itchy when they are molting, and you can help by gently spraying her with some warm water to ease the itches. Showers also encourage them to preen which they do a lot of anyway.

You would definitely notice if she was plucking out her feathers. They let out a scream when they are doing this. If she has blood feathers and accidentally knocks one, she might let out a small 'yelp', because new growing feathers are quite painful if touched. Once the feather has finished growing in however, the shaft doesn't have blood in it anymore.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any more questions. Amelia is such a gorgeous girl! :blush:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OMG Thank you so much!

I literally could find no info on the fact there was blood in the shaft without everything pointing to the severity of her losing a blood feather. Thank you for thinking she's gorgeous as well! I certainly felt like I got lucky when it came time to pick from the clutch and the person ahead of me in terms of first deposits made didn't pick her. I love her cinnamon coloring, and literally when I first saw the clutch was like "okay so clearly, that one is being picked first. Def won't get that one". haha

I was also wondering if it's okay that the only fresh stuff she eats is the broccoli and lettuce. I did get her to pick at celery but I don't think she really liked it. Other than that, it seems like if it isn't green-- she won't even peck at it. I'm just concerned if this is enough of a balanced diet for her, or even if maybe there might be a way of introducing more produce without her rejecting it.

Thank you so SO much for all your help! I joined this forum when I first decided to get her because I kept reading articles here about this and that, but this was my first post because I was shy to jump in-- until the blood in her feather shaft happened and then I was just so worried. haha
 

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I have normal greys, whiteface, pearl pieds, creamface cinnamons, and pearls.
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I will second the motion that you have a very beautiful bird! By all means don't be shy if you have further questions or need info for your tiel. I know JUST how you felt with that blood feather! I had a very similar incident with our first female about a year ago. She was going thru a heavy molt and I noticed a large feather sticking out of her at an odd angle. She was screaming pretty loud so I knew it was hurting. As I held her in my hand and turned her over on her back to get a better look, the feather fell out in the floor! It had blood on it and I pretty much freaked out like you did but all turned out well in the end. These are really tuff little birds but I know how others feel wanting to do there best for them.
 

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It's okay that she hasn't accepted many fresh foods yet, it's a challenge with certain 'tiels sometimes to even get them to try food that isn't seed! It's great that she likes broccoli, that's a good veggie, mine prefer it chopped up into bite-sized pieces. Have you tried offering her shredded carrot? Herbs are a favourite in my flock too, such as rosemary, basil and oregano, and they go crazy over fresh grass seed picked from the garden.

What brand of pellets are you feeding her? You might already do this but I've had more success with having seed and pellets in separate bowls instead of mixing the two together, because then they usually pick out all the seeds and leave the pellets. My flock prefer Roudybush pellets but also enjoy Vetafarm, Harrison's and Lafeber's products. Lafeber make Nutriberries which are always a cockatiel favourite!
 

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Hi! I couldn’t help but notice that you sound an awful lot like me when I first got my cockatiel, Princess. I think you’re doing a great job as a bird owner/parent.

The longer feathers coming out is just because your cockatiel is molting. As for the feather, just make sure she’s not bleeding or anything and she should be fine. I wouldn’t worry about it if it looks like the feather came out cleanly and completely, and she isn’t bleeding.

I thank you’re doing a wonderful job. Keep up the good work.
 

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Hi! I couldn’t help but notice that you sound an awful lot like me when I first got my cockatiel, Princess.
Me three! When my oldest girl Honey first lost a bunch of blood feathers at once (she couldn't fly properly when I first got her and would have collisions with walls) I absolutely freaked. Checked her over, did some research online and managed to calm myself down after realising her life wasn't in danger.

She did however manage to break a blood feather in the way I'd hoped would never happen. Couldn't stop the bleeding and rushed her to the vet. They stopped the bleeding with some Potassium Permanganate (always have some on hand now. It works pretty quickly but you can't leave it on permanently because it will burn their skin eventually).

Vets will usually pull out a broken blood feather but it was such a tiny piece left under her skin that they couldn't. It fell out on it's own after a couple of days.
 

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I just want to clear up a misconception about millet. It's not a seed, it's a grain and it's very healthy and nutritious for birds. It's also low-fat. That said, if your little one only eats it exclusively and doesn't eat anything else then it's good that you limit it.

Molting time is not fun. They get these feathers called pinfeathers (pinnies), new feathers growing in and until they are grown in there's always a lot of yelping when they get preened. :)

Cathy and Shiloh
 

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It's dangerous when blood feathers get broken. The quill of a blood feather is a hollow tube full of blood, and blood doesn't clot well in this tube of the quill. So if the tube gets broken the blood comes pouring out and the bird can bleed to death.

But it's not a big deal when a blood feather gets knocked out completely. The tube is no longer connected to the body at all so it's no longer a pipeline for bleeding. There may be some bleeding if the flesh of the wing has been injured where the quill was previously attched. But blood clots pretty well in minor flesh wounds so it's usually not a major problem.
 
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