At 11pm on Saturday the 3rd of September, I peeked under their covers, as was routine, to check all was okay before dropping the big cover down further. Perry & Lennie’s cage liner on the bottom had been changed about 2 hours earlier, so I was surprised it did not look clean. When I looked closer, I realised it was blood.
I spotted Lennie’s tail feather laying across the seed pot. He had lost his other one a couple of days earlier, which seemed odd to me as it had only just grown in. He had lost both tail feathers just weeks ago (click here to read that post) so I was not expecting the new ones to drop so quickly. I assumed this was a blood feather problem. Had the bleeding stopped or was it ongoing? I took the cage liner away to reveal the clean one underneath so it would be easier to check.
Then I saw a big clot drop. I knew I had to take immediate action.
Under the flight cage, I have three small travel cages for emergency evacuation (one each in red, white & blue). The one on top just happened to be the red one. Cornflour was put into a wide container. I caught Lennie & basically covered his lower section in the cornflour, not really knowing where the site of the bleed was, & then placed him in the travel cage with a cover over.
After a few minutes I checked to see if he was still bleeding. It was difficult to judge how much blood had dropped because the base of the travel cage was red, but I could see blood mingled in with the white cornflour that had fallen off him. I doused Lennie again in cornflour & put him back. He was still bleeding so I carried on dunking him in the cornflour (literally, I dunked him in & ‘bathed’ him). I discarded the red travel cage & alternated between the white & blue one. That way, I could wipe around the one not in use, so each time he was placed into a clean one, making it easier to judge blood loss.
Afterwards, I worked out that I had put cornflour on him 8 times, within about an hour, before the bleeding stopped.
Eventually, after about 20 minutes of no blood loss, I decided to put him back in with Perry – it was about half past midnight by now. He did actually give a loud chirp which probably helped my decision.
Whilst he had been in the travel cage/s, I took the other cage liner out with the clot – it was so big it had seeped through to the next layer. The clean bottom would make it easier & quicker to assess if he was bleeding again. At frequent intervals I checked the cage floor for blood & also peeked under the cover to see if Lennie was okay – he was preening which I was not entirely happy about!
As I was up late, I gradually cleared the mess that had been created. The travel cages were cleaned & ready in case they were needed again. The cage liners had been soaking in cold water to remove the blood. On rinsing them, I noticed the big blood clot from earlier had not even broken down – it was still solid!
By 3am, there was still no sign of further blood loss so I retired to bed but set my alarm to wake me at intervals for further checks.
Ironically, at the 5am check, Lennie was still okay, but I discovered Perry on a lower perch, attempting to get back up. There were poops on the floor under the platform perch so it looked like he had had a seizure. I helped him up & watched him for a bit. When he seemed settled I retired to bed (again).
During Sunday, Perry seemed subdued. Was this linked to his seizure or simply because of lost sleep?
Lennie continued to preen his stump of a tail, which was a mess of congealed blood & cornflour. It was curling at the end & I think the oddness of its appearance made Moriarty want to play with it, so I locked him out of Lennie’s a few times to avoid him yanking it.
By chance, the vet was in the area on Tuesday afternoon, so she was able to look at Lennie’s tail (what was left of it). She cleaned it up & on inspection, said the site of the blood loss had already healed over. The tail feathers that he lost were not broken, so it is not clear what triggered the bleeding. Unfortunately, it may be a few months before he is likely to grow new tail feathers.
The vet also took a look at Perry & trimmed his beak (again).
So… we all live to fight another day…