Ok, so I read the article (and thanks, I thought that there would be an article on the subject somewhere on website, but was unable to find it late last night). So, if I am reading this correctly, all new feathers are blood feathers? And, when do they need to be pulled? Just when they are damaged / broken?
I have not had my bird for long, so I am still trying to read up on everything I need to know about her.
Yes... all new feathers are blood feathers. But here's the difference: The tiny feathers if broken are not a problem usually. Its the larger feathers, especially the tail and wing feathers that can bleed so bad that the bird can die. As it shows in the graphic, a large feather shaft is nothing more than a hollow "drinking straw" that when broken... allows blood to flow like water through a pipe. This can only be stopped by pulling the feather out.
(Normally, as the feathers get old... their blood supply dries up and the feather falls out.)
The only time you must pull a blood feather is if it's a large feather that's bleeding, or a small feather that you cant stop from bleeding. Again, this hurts them, so dont be pulling feathers unless you absolutly have to.
Okay, last question on the subject. Blood feathers on her head that she cannot pick at, do I need to help her pull the casing off? I have been told that it is a "nice" thing to do for the bird... is it?
Yes, it's an incredibly nice thing to do for them. In the wild, other birds would help them out and do it, and I spend a few minutes going over my guys every day when I get them out for the first time. I think it helps with bonding, and it tends to calm them down if they're hyper about seeing you. Just be careful you don't preen down to the blood-filled part, as it tends to hurt them. At least they jump, squawk, and such...but the "dried" ends...yes, preen away!
Jeanne who wears half a cockatoo's worth of feather casings during molting season