Treating Bird Injuries

treating bird injuries

In a previous article, First-Aid for Birds: Part 1, we looked at basic first-aid for birds. Similarly, here in part two we’re taking a closer look at treating bird injuries. As with cats, dogs, and other common house pets, pet birds may pick up a range of injuries, and it’s best to know how to act if the situation calls for it. 

Broken blood feathers

Blood feathers or pin feathers are new, actively growing feathers. They still have an active blood supply flowing, hence the name. Broken blood feathers can cause problems and can be fatal if not treated correctly. 

If you identify blood coming from a feather shaft, apply styptic powder to the area to stop the bleeding, and apply gentle pressure with clean gauze. Contact your vet immediately and follow their advice. They will most likely advise you to visit  a clinic so that the broken shaft can be removed. You can also ask your veterinarian how to perform this at home in the event of future occurrences.

Bleeding toenail  

If an incorrectly cut toenail occurs, pinch the side of the toe to help stem the bleeding, and apply a styptic powder or gel to the cut end.  The bleeding should stop within moments. Consult a veterinarian if the bleeding does not stop. 

Minor abrasions 

  • Firstly, if your pet bird has sustained an injury not caused by an animal, flush the wound gently with VetMed Wound and Skin Care solution. 
  • Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based cleansers on your bird, as these agents cause stinging and damage to sensitive tissues. 
  • Use tweezers to gently remove any dirt, debris, or feathers in the surrounding area. 
  • Do not let your bird pick at the wound, as this will exacerbate the injury.
  • Seek veterinary treatment if the wound is deep, infected, or has been caused by an animal. 
  • Do not use thick or oily salves on birds without consulting a veterinarian. These substances tend to matt the bird’s feathers. 

Animal attack 

Birds that have been attacked by other animals like cats and dogs should be seen by a veterinarian. Animal teeth, mouths, and claws contain bacteria which can cause the wounds to become infected if not treated correctly. 

Deal with any actively bleeding wounds by applying gentle pressure without restricting the bird’s breathing. You may also need to apply a styptic agent to the wound. 

Physically check and assess the bird for broken wings and broken bones. Only professionals should treat broken bones in the leg or skull of the bird. You should therefore not attempt to treat these at home. 

Wrap broken or injured wings loosely to the body. Then, tape the wings to ensure that any further injury through movement is limited. However, be careful to not tape the wings too tightly as this will hamper the bird’s ability to breathe. 

Bleeding from the mouth 

A bleeding beak or tongue is cause for concern. Contact your vet if you suspect this to be the issue, as it should be treated immediately. If the beak is bleeding badly, apply styptic gel and gentle pressure to the affected area before transporting your pet to the vet.


If your pet bird has been burnt by fire, chemicals, or hot liquid, flush the affected area with cool but not cold water for 10-15 minutes. This action minimizes the burning and also lowers the temperature of the affected area. Gently dry the area with clean gauze. Be sure to contact your veterinarian for further advice. Your veterinarian may ultimately want to inspect your pet to ensure all is well, that your bird is not suffering from shock, and may want to prescribe antibiotics or pain medication. 

Be sure to follow your vet’s advice on how to clean and dress the wound. VetMed Wound and Skin Care is an optimal solution for disinfecting and cleaning burn wounds due to its antimicrobial action. Additionally, the active ingredient in VetMed hydrates and soothes inflamed and irritated tissue that is often present in burn wounds.

Although there are a number of minor injuries that you can treat at home, always contact your veterinarian if you are concerned.  Remember to first treat for any signs of shock and stress, and prevent any further injury. In conclusion, it is always helpful to have a stocked first-aid kit on hand to assist with minor wounds as you consult with your veterinarian. To learn more about treating bird injuries, check out our previous article on building your own bird-specific first-aid kit here.