Bleeding From Toenails:
If a small portion of a toenail has been cut or broken off, the bleeding can usually be stopped easily with KwikStop blood stopping powder, or by applying flour or cornstarch.  One person may need to gently restrain the bird in a towel while another presses the powder against the bleeding area.  This may require a couple of applications.  Keep the bird restrained for a minute and prevent it from knocking the powder off so the blood has time to clot.  If most or all of a toenail or part of the toe is missing, the bleeding will be heavier, and may require bandaging.  First try using your fingers as a tourniquet to hold pressure around the base of the toe, or around the ankle if necessary, while applying powder to the wound.  Hold the pressure for 3 to 5 minutes.  If bleeding continues, contact your veterinarian for further help.  It is best not to attempt to bandage the foot yourself except as a temporary measure until help can be found.

Bleeding From The Beak:
Treatment for a bleeding beak is similar to that for toenails as described above.  If only a small portion of the tip is damaged, it may be easily controlled with blood stopping powder, flour or cornstarch.  If the bleeding comes from higher on the beak, you can apply powder, but professional help should be sought to evaluate the need for antibiotics or surgical repair.  Beak injuries can be very painful and may cause the bird to have difficulty eating, so call your veterinarian for advice on whether the bird needs to be examined.

Bleeding From Feathers:
The most common emergency call our practice receives concerns bleeding from broken wing feathers, however, the following procedure can also be used on broken tail feathers.  Blood may be splattered on the walls near the cage, or smeared on the side of the body.  All feathers on the body will have a blood supply inside the shaft that nourishes the feather while it grows, and dries up after the feather matures.  Birds with clipped wings are most vulnerable to breaking these new blood feathers since they will be longer than the surrounding trimmed feathers and may break when the bird flaps its wings and hits something.  With the bird restrained in a towel, gently pull the wing out and move small feathers on the under side of the wing to expose the shafts of the large flight feathers.  A blood feather will have either a pink or very dark shaft, while mature feather shafts will be clear and hollow.  Apply blood stopping powder, flour or cornstarch to the bleeding area, which may be a tiny stub barely visible protruding from the skin, or the blood may come from the end of the shaft where the feather is emerging.  If the bleeding is stopped, keep the bird calm and quiet in its cage.  Treatment by a veterinarian may not be needed if there is no further bleeding, and the bird seems to act normal.  If he picks at the site, or bleeding recurs, a veterinarian may need to assist in pulling the broken shaft.

Bleeding From Other Locations:
If your bird is bleeding from the mouth, nostrils, vent, or an open wound on the body, you need to seek veterinary help.  Keep the bird warm and quiet, and do not attempt to put any powders in any of these locations.  Direct pressure can be used for open wounds, being careful not to put pressure on the chest to prevent breathing.  Some problems that may not require emergency care are: very minor bleeding from tiny wounds caused by hitting a clean surface; minor bite wounds from another bird; red color in the droppings that resembles blood but is due to food coloring found in many pelleted diets; tiny amounts of blood on an egg that was just laid, with no further bleeding occurring.
Updated On: 10/15/2007
How to help a bleeding bird at home
and when to call your veterinarian.
Burge Bird Services
Julie Burge, DVM
13833 S. 71 Hwy
Grandview, MO  64030
(816) 356-4700
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