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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought Zappy about seven months ago when he was 8 weeks old from a breeder. A few months later he started breaking blood feathers on his wings almost weekly. I have had to take him to the vet five times to pull these feathers. At first, I thought it was because he was simply anxious at night because he had several night frights resulting in breakages. Zappy now sleeps with 3 night lights and soothing music. He hasn't had a night fright since.

Unfortunately, he now appears to be molting and growing in new blood feathers at the same time. He lost two of the six total wing feathers that had grown in, leaving the blood feathers basically unprotected. A few hours ago, he flew about five feet across the room and landed awkwardly. He lost another one of the longer wing feathers that had grown in. When he climbed up on my leg, I saw blood. Yep, he nicked another feather. I did what I always do and layered it in corn starch to stop the bleeding.

Has anybody had a similar experience? Any ideas on how to actually get these feathers to come in and stay in? I'm just sick of seeing my baby bleed, and I'm afraid that if the vet keeps pulling feathers, it'll do some damage to the follicle. Any advice would be appreciated!
 

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Phoenix and I have been dealing with a similar situation for 6 months+ now. If he's got any long flights between the blood feathers, try trimming them down a little. I know clipping seems counter productive, but the shorter the feathers are, the less likely they'll get caught on things and pulled out. Phoenix's flights had FINALLY gotten to a decent grown out stage when he had a night fright and knocked them all out again - It's getting to the point where I'm considering keeping him in an aquarium or tub for a few weeks, just to give his feathers some time to recover. It's gotta be taxing on their little bodies to be constantly growing them like that.

You can read my thread on our struggle here: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=111642
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Poor little Phoenix. I know your struggle well. I've had to advise anyone handling Zappy besides me to sit on the floor immediately because there is just so much potential for damage when he tries to fly from their shoulders to me. I'm definitely going to look into trimming his feathers a little. It's a little scary because he just has so many blood feathers, but what you said makes sense. I've also been giving him Sunshine Factor. My vet says it's supposed to strengthen feathers, and it's not very expensive.

Yes, he's still breaking them, although it's not because of night frights. He hasn't had one of those for a month. I think it's mostly because the breeder clipped Zappy's wings super early, so he's still trying to figure how to land correctly. He managed to grow in two tail feathers, but otherwise his tail looks pretty mangled from landing on it when he tries to fly.
 

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I thought I'd share what has happened today in this thread.

I've had this same blood feather struggle with Honey for as long as I've had her. She's always been extremely accident prone, or perhaps her feathers are just more easily broken. She used to have her wings clipped so her flight feathers that she would constantly break would have a chance to grow in evenly. It took a long time, and for these recent few months she's finally been able to keep up with the others during out-of-cage flying time due to no breakages. She really is a graceful flyer.

That all changed last night though. I was staying at my boyfriend's, and for some reason could not fall asleep until the morning. I only got about two hours sleep, and came home to find out that because of the harsh winds blowing at the moment, the 'tiels had several night frights during the night. Honey lost all her flights on her right wing, including two blood feathers, grazed her nose, and has various bloody patches on both her wings. She is not acting herself today and I haven't seen her eat or drink since I've been home. She preens and preens, ignoring the big piece of millet I put in beside her. She looks so sad and exhausted that I'm preparing for the possibility that she might have hurt herself internally and that if she doesn't improve by tomorrow, she'll have to go straight to the vet.

Coco is unharmed, Henry lost one flight feather, and Sophie has a bloody patch on her left wing but is acting her usual chirpy self. My mum and dad stayed up during the night to calm everyone down and make sure there was no major bleeding. Mum said that they were both afraid to wake the 'tiels up this morning in case one of them had suffered a more serious injury.

No wonder I couldn't sleep. This is such a heartbreaking thing to have happened, especially since Honey was doing so well. I hope that someday night frights and juvenile wing clipping will be a thing of the past, and our birds can just be birds, able to use their wings like they were made to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm so sorry that happened to Honey! Zappy had a night fright about two months ago due to a powerful gust of wind startling him. I don't know if this is possible for you, but I've been playing soothing music for him at night. Despite the fact that my neighbors stomp around at night and there are loud noises outside, he has not had a night fright since. My vet says that if birds sleep in complete silence, they become hypersensitive to noises, such as wind.

Saying that, I would definitely take Honey to the vet. Even when Zappy breaks blood feathers, it does not usually affect his behavior unless the feather absolutely needs to come out (it's still bleeding or it's twisted or something).

Is she doing any better?

(P.S. Zappy has about 10 feathers growing in on his wings right now. It's terrifying!)
 

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That's so true about becoming hypersensitive in complete silence. Problem is, they live in my bedroom and I can't sleep unless I have complete silence. My night light is broken so they haven't had a night light on, I'm going to get a new one ASAP because that really helped.

I didn't end up taking Honey to the vet. She started eating that evening, and she's improved a lot, almost acting herself today. I (tentatively) let her out yesterday and she dropped like a rock to the floor. I picked her up and put her back in the cage, and have let her out again today and, smart girl, knows she can't fly so she hasn't attempted to. She's lost all her confidence and even stepped up for me (which she very rarely does). She will be spending almost all of her time in the cage until her wing grows back though. I counted all the feathers she knocked out and there's 10 of them. :(

I hope Zappy's feathers grow in okay. I'm gonna be watching Honey like a hawk (and staying home every night) when her new feathers start to grow.
 

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How is Zappy doing now?

Phoenix's blood feathers are growing in decently from the night fright, it's been a little over 2 weeks and I can see them poking out from underneath his wing. Another few weeks and he might be flighted again. His poor tail is a raggedy mess again though :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm glad Honey is doing better! I would be really careful, though. Zappy knows better than to fly, but sometimes he gets startled and forgets that it's dangerous for him to act like a normal bird. Honey is probably unbalanced since she lost so many feathers on the one wing. I would make sure to keep her close to the ground or cradled against your chest when you're carrying her around. Zappy has an obsession with socks and shoes, so it's easy for me to keep him at level where it's unlikely that he will get hurt.

Even the sound of rain or waves would help so your birds won't be hypersensitive to noises at night. Could you sleep with that?

Jaguar--Zappy is doing really well! His tail feathers are taking a long time to grow back in, but he has plenty of wing feathers coming in (it's so freaking terrifying). I've been trying to distract him from flying by teaching him some new tricks. He extends his little foot and shakes my finger on command and taps his foot like he's tap-dancing when I say "tap." No more broken blood feathers to report! :) I'm glad Phoenix is doing so well. Fingers crossed that his feathers grow back in without problems!
 

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I hope everyone's feathers are growing back ok! Vitamins and minerals, especially calcium help feathers grow back faster. Calcium and protein are great for creating strong healthy feathers and make them less likely to break. The other minerals and vitamins like vitamin D3 determine how much calcium is absorbed by the body. :)

For night frights if you don't know what could be causing them you could always try to record their sleep during the night. There are lots of phone and tablet apps that will record a sleep cycle and highlight the part of the night where there was a loud noise like a dog barking or car alarm going off and it can play that noise back to you. If their night fright matches up to around that time you can assume that was the noise that caused it. I think you just have to look for sleep apps on the app store that record sleep talk or sounds and then make sure that an alarm isn't set or a sleep pattern alarm isn't set so it doesn't ring and wake them up, scaring them into a night fright. I think ones like Sleepbot and Sleep as Andriod both record sleep talk and can play noises back to you. There are so many apps those were just the ones at the top of the list that had those features. You could put it near their cage maybe a few feet away since the phone has to be plugged in I think and it could give off light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey, everyone! New problem. So, Zappy's feathers are still coming in! No bleeds or accidents since my last post on this thread. However, he has started flapping his wings in his cage once I settle him in for the night. I listened outside the door last night, and it's purely a way to get my attention. I know it can be normal behavior, but I'm afraid he'll mess up one of his blood feathers by hitting it against the cage during one of these episodes.

Any suggestions? I don't want to reward the behavior, but I also don't want him to get hurt. :(
 

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Oh no! Honey has been doing the same flapping thing. Since she can't fly now, she will cling onto a perch and flap her wings to simulate flight. It's really cute, but I worry about her knocking those blood feathers too. I would find out where Zappy is doing it and clear a space by moving toys/perches out of the way so he has plenty of room to flap. That's the only suggestion I can think of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the suggestion. :) That's what I've tried to do. Unfortunately, I had to switch him to a cage that is wider but not as vertically high. One of the ways he was breaking blood feathers a few months ago was by falling from the top of the large cage I had initially bought him. And, of course, now he likes to spread his wings at the corner of the cage where his spread wing feathers definitely touch the bars. I'll see what I can rearrange, though.

I hope Honey doesn't have any problems with blood feathers. It's so scary! Zap flew for the first time today, and he crashed into the window. He has no control because he was never able to learn to fly. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Zappy freaked out for some reason last night. He lost 11 feathers. He bled so much that I had to rush him to the emergency vet. I am devastated. He's in so much pain, and now he has to start over from scratch.

How the heck does everyone keep their baby's feathers in!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've been thinking about getting Zap an aquarium to sleep in at night (at least until these blood feather accidents are over). Has anyone had any experience with that? How did you set up the aquarium?
 

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So sorry to hear that :( I know how it feels, all too well. It seems like once the feathers are grown in, they stay in - Phoenix hasn't lost a feather from his "good" wing in months. The other wing is a different story. You might want to ask Juliet about the aquarium thing - I know she set up one for Rascal after he was injured.
 

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Oh no :( I'm so sorry that happened :( poor Zappy.

There are a couple of TC members who have had to do the aquarium thing with their birds, so hopefully they will see this thread and comment. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I got in touch with Juliet, and she gave me some fantastic advice. I'm going to buy Zappy an aquarium to sleep in this weekend. Fingers crossed that his feathers grow back in okay.
 
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