Our expert says:
Young birds often play roughly and will break their tail feathers, especially if the cage is a bit on the small size. As long as the other feathers are of good quality, there is probably no underlying feather problem - this is usually a stage they go through. If the feathers have 'stress bars' on them, this can indicate underlying disease, malnutrition or other stressors. Stress bars are weaker areas of the feathers and are prone to breaking. If these are present you should have him checked out. The fact that there was bleeding, indicates that your bird was probably moulting or growing new feathers at the time that it fell. These 'blood feathers' are growing feathers with a shaft that is
blood filled - when broken or damaged these feathers can bleed profusely. The best thing is to have them pulled if the bleeding does not stop within a minute or two. Longer intact feathers usually protect these feathers, but if they are broken off obviously they cannot do this. If this is a recurrent problem, the tail feathers can be 'imped', ie new feathers glued onto the broken ones, to protect growing blood feathers.
Dr Willemien van Wyk
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