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Bird Feather Health

Bird Feather Health

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Healthy feathers do much more than just make our pet birds look pretty -- they are important to helping protect our birds from the elements, they allow our pets to achieve flight, and they serve as a main trait that makes our birds distinct from other types of animal life.

That said, maintaining healthy feathers on your bird is extremely important. Although it's something that may not cross every bird owner's mind, anyone who has ever had to deal with a bird with feather problems can vouch for the fact that proper feather care is absolutely essential. The good part is, it can be easy to properly care for your bird's feathers if you know how. Check out the information below to become more familiar with the form and function of your bird's feathers, learn how to identify and correct feather problems, and discover tips that will help you prevent future feather issues in your pet bird.

Get to know your bird's feathers.

Taking some time to become familiar with your bird's plumage is the first and most essential step in providing your feathered friend with top notch feather care. This involves learning about the proper care and maintenance of not only your birds mature feathers, but feathers at all stages of development. For example, when a bird molts, new feathers begin to grow in to replace older, worn out ones. These new feathers are first known as pinfeathers, and require specialized care as they grow and morph into mature replacements for the feathers that were lost. As this happens, some pinfeathers will convert into blood feathers which can be even trickier to care for. Discovering the differences between these feather stages and learning how to identify each of them is crucial for owners of all types of birds, especially in the event of trauma or feather growth problems. Many new bird owners don't realize that damage to new and growing feathers can lead to severe veterinary issues and even death in some extreme cases, so it's very important to learn how to recognize problems early on and learn how to treat them to prevent medical distress in your feathered friend.

Identify and treat any visible feather problems.

There are several types of problems that can arise with new and growing feathers, but the most severe is a broken blood feather. If a bird breaks a blood feather, then he or she is essentially stuck with an open faucet that will allow blood to pour out of their body. Not surprisingly, this can quickly lead to death if the bird doesn't receive prompt treatment. Because a broken blood feather can happen at any time, it's important for bird owners to how to fix a broken blood feather on their own. In severe cases, a bird can bleed to death before you have time to get to a vet's clinic, even if the trauma happens to occur during office hours.

Other, less severe types of problems can also arise, particularly with pinfeathers. When these tiny feathers first erupt from a bird's skin, they are covered in a hard, sharp keratin sheath that is normally preened and removed by a bird's parents or other flock-mates. In many cases, a bird is able to self-preen and remove the sheath from the majority of their pinfeathers, but there will always be some that they can't reach, such as on the tops of their heads. These will need to be carefully and gently rolled around in your fingers to loosen them, and then manually removed in order to make your bird more comfortable and allow the feather to grow in normally.

Apply feather maintenance techniques for healthy plumage.

If your bird has a healthy set of feathers, it should be easy to maintain them. Simply keep an eye on your bird to make sure that he or she is preening normally, and then mist them daily to stimulate their natural feather care habits. A normal, healthy bird should be able to maintain gorgeous plumage without much outside intervention, however, if you begin to notice that your bird looks ragged or disheveled, then schedule an appointment with your avian vet to rule out any health concerns.
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