Seeing blood on your feathered friend's colorful plumage can send you into a panic, but try to stay calm and determine where it's coming from.


Like people, birds can tolerate some blood loss. But these little creatures can't lose much. For example, a few drops of blood loss from a budgie can lead to serious medical problems. Familiarize yourself with the following common causes of bleeding so you'll know what to do in a crisis; in most cases, immediate veterinarian attention is necessary.

Broken Blood Feathers

This is one of the most common causes of bleeding in pet birds. When blood feathers, newly emerging feathers, break, you must stop the bleeding immediately and remove the damaged feather. If you do not know how to do this, take your bird to an avian veterinarian immediately. Do not try to remove the feather yourself if you have not been properly trained as it could result in more injury and possibly death due to blood loss.

Torn Toenails

Toenails that are cut to the quick or damaged some other way, will bleed until you stop the flow with styptic powder. If you don't have any on hand, press a pinch of cornstarch on the toe for a couple of minutes to stop the bleeding. If the toenail is cracked, dangling or the bleeding will not stop, take your bird to the veterinarian immediately.

Cracked Beaks

Birds who chew on cage bars or hit their beak against a hard surface may bleed from the beak, especially if it's brittle from poor nutrition. A broken or cracked beak always requires immediate veterinary care.

Scrapes, Cuts, and Broken Bones

You can treat minor scrapes and cuts by applying direct pressure to the wound. Once the bleeding stops, gently clean the area with mild soap and water. Monitor the injury for signs of infection. Depending on how your bird got the scrape or cut, such as from another animal in your home, you may want to consult with your avian veterinarian to ensure the your bird was treated properly. If you cannot control the bleeding or if you suspect a broken bone, apply pressure to the area bleeding, try to contain your bird to prevent further injury and take your bird immediately to an animal hospital that specializes in avian care.

Many traumatic accidents can cause internal bleeding. See your veterinarian after any mishap, such as a crash landing or a close encounter with a wall, ceiling fan or another pet. If you notice bleeding, bruising or swelling, your pet needs immediate medical attention.

When to Call the Vet

Consult your pet's doctor if the bleeding appears excessive (this may be only a few drops in small birds), if you can't locate its source, if the bleeding won't stop with direct pressure or if your bird has suffered major trauma.

The veterinarian may have to thoroughly examine your bird from beak to tail to identify the cause of bleeding if it not due to obvious reasons. A blood test can indicate the degree and severity of blood loss.

During treatment, as determined by your veterinarian, it is important to keep your bird warm and quiet to prevent additional stress to his taxed body.

Remember, most birds can tolerate minor bouts of blood loss. But, don't take any chances. Consult your veterinarian if you question the severity of the bleeding or if you cannot stop the bleeding.