Emergency First Aid

Holistic Kit

Rescue Remedy
2-3″ wide elastic bandage for wrapping
2×2 or 3×3″ sterile gauze
Towel for restraint
alcohol wipes
Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer for stings
Homeopathic Ledum for puncture wounds
blunt-nosed scissors
safety pins
mild soap (Dr. Bonner’s)
snake bite kit w/venom extractor
hydrogen peroxide
Pot Marigold (Calendula) cream/ointment for cuts and scrapes
Comfrey ointment to speed healing of *clean* wounds
Chickweed cream or black ointment to draw splinters, for insect stings, and burns
arnica cream or gel for bruises & sprains
tea tree oil in a carrier oil for antiseptic/antifungal use
arnica 6X homeopathic tabs for shock or accidents
Aloe mixed with St. John’s Wort for burns comfrey oil for sprains
ginger powder caps for nausea
cayenne pepper or Yunan paiyo to stop bleeding
50/50 mix of goldenseal and garlic powder for antiseptic on clean wounds
aloe Vera gel
vit. C & E
GSE can replace many of the antiseptic products

Items that come in large bottles can be transferred into smaller containers. Baby food jars work well. All fit nicely in tackle box

Conventional Kit  contributed by Dee H.

Most of the following can be found at Hornbecks <http://www.hornbecks.com&gt;

Plastic critter carrier for hospital run, enclosed completely with slits for breathing but will hold heat better than open bar/carriers
Hot hands warmers..these non toxic packets last up to 18 hours..need to cover them well with heavy cloths as they do heat up..shake to activate (heat is usually needed immediately in cases of shock and blood loss)(a rubber glove filled with hot water and fastened securely will work also)
Have plenty of white, fluffy washcloths and several large towels in your emergency bag.
Duffel Bag which will hold carrier securely..leave open
Number of your Avian Vet, Emergency Center and someone to call to transport you if possible
Cornstarch, styptic powder, silver nitrate stick to stop bleeding (use styptic and silver nitrate on beak and nails only)and/or Quik stop

These are all lifesavers:

blunt tip scissors,
nail clippers, nail file,
blunt end tweezers,
pen light,
eye dropper,
cotton swabs
hydrogen peroxide,
saline solution for eyes,
basic bandages,
gauze pads and gauze rolls,
masking tape (won’t stick to birds’ feathers)
vet wrap,
Pedialite or orange juice for quick energy/(check out ornalyte and others which are available to rehydrate quickly )

All of these supplies will fit in a tackle type box or medium size drawer. When seconds count you can be ready!

Heat, dark calm spot in carrier, and quick trip to vet or emergency clinic gives all of our fids the best chance to survive when illness is FIRST suspected.

Pull blood feathers completely and apply corn starch or quick stop to control bleeding…rush to vet if bleeding does not stop

Don’t panic, your bird will feel it…handle as little as possible.. Always remember, if you know your bird, you know when something is not right with them… Don’t second guess it.

Birds and all prey species survive in the wild by NEVER showing sickness. Usually by the time you see exaggerated symptoms it may be too late!

Dee, Middleboro, MA Member of AFA, IPS,MCBA World Parrot Trust,NHAS <http://www.aviannetwork.com&gt;

Herbal Remedy Kit

slippery elm
golden seal and/or orgon grape
milk thistle
aloe vera
St. John’s wort
pau d’arco
digestive enzymes (papaya and bromelein)

My favorite things to keep on hand: echinacea, astragalus (both are immune system boosters. Echinacea is cooling and astragalus is warming. Astragalus leans toward respiratory and digestive disorders but echinacea covers those also.

Slippery elm and marshmallow. Both are cooling and soothing to respiratory and digestive problems.

Garlic, dandelion, Pau d’arco, St. John’s wort, & Milk Thistle added to the others mentioned compose the top herbs I wouldn’t be without and which I rely on the most often. I keep echinacea and St John’s wort both in liquid (glycerine extract) and in powder form. I use the liquid on any ailing adults that I want to dose directly.


Broken Blood Feathers

If the feather shaft is just partly broken because it has been bent, then it’s easy to just hold the shaft in the correct position until the blood coagulates and forms a good hard clot around the break. Bending the shaft back into position also stops the bleeding. Then I just brush on some Nu skin. Sometimes it needs a small strip of tape along the break. You have to wait until the blood has dried before the tape will stick. If the feather is broken all the way across, I pinch the end until it clots…depends on how hard it is bleeding. If it’s bleeding very hard, it might have to be pulled. In that case, you still have to apply pressure to the follicle because it will bleed from there too.

I once used a hemostat to pinch the end of the feather shaft while waiting for it to clot, but the bird panics from that more than from fingers, and it’s also harder to release if the bird pulls than it is to release your own pinch.

Some people using rubber cement and some have used superglue. Someone else once posted about keeping molted feathers around and using tape or glue to provide support for the break…like a splint.

If using glue, you have to wait until the clot has formed before applying the  superglue because otherwise it might get into the bloodstream. That is pretty much the case with the other glues as well.


I agreed with you, Gloria, about not using super glue until the blood has clotted, but then I thought about the times I had to use it. My liver disease bird would get deformed feathers that would have a large ‘bulb’ in the follicle. She would pull these out (I think they bothered her) & start bleeding because the follicle was enlarged due to the size of the bottom of the feather. Well, since she had liver disease her blood wouldn’t clot (clot time of over 3 hours once, vet was doubtful it ever would’ve clotted) & the vet gave me Nexaband to put on it to stop the bleeding & seal the follicle. Nexaband is the sterile version of super glue that they use in surgery to glue internal/external tissue. He told me when I ran out to just by super glue because I didn’t need a sterile glue for these follicles.

However, I would check with a vet before using it on blood feathers, just in case.

Remember you can always stop bleeding with cornstarch, flour, etc. I loved the idea about using molted feathers as a ‘splint’ for a bent one.

I now keep super glue in my first aid kit.


Usually the feathers will clot on their own. I had this experience last September. I went away for the weekend and left my husband with the birds. Pierre broke a blood feather. Scott found the feather on the floor and saw a tiny drop of blood on the end of the broken feather. He called the emergency vet and took Pierre to the clinic. J

ust by chance I called him to see how things were going and he told me what was going on. First of all, I asked how much blood. Scott said, none was dripping from Pierre and explained about finding the feather. Scott then told me that the vet was in the process of pulling the feather, taking him to surgery and needing to put him to sleep, you know the rest.

Anyway, immediately I told Scott to take the bird home. Pulling blood feathers hurts, not to mention it is totally unnecessary in most cases. If you have a healthy bird with little bleeding, it may not be necessary to pull the blood feather. Just ensure that the it clots so the bleeding will stop.

Needless to say Pierre was just fine and his feather was never bleeding in the first place. The best thing to do is watch your bird and ignore the rumors and horror stories and remain calm.



Yunnan Paiyao

From: “Cal and Margie Adams” I had a tiel bite her feet badly and we couldn’t get the bleeding stopped. We tried flour, Quik Stop, but finally went to a Chinese herb capsule that a gal shipped to me, called Yunnan Paiyao. We just stuck the toe into the capsule, and no more bleeding. It was instant and never bled again. This is a definite “must have” for anyone’s ER kit.

Another time I used it for a baby that I assisted hatch. There was a bit of bleeding when I opened the egg (I thought it was a dead in shell0, but surprise there was a live baby it there. I put the YB on the place where the bleeding was and it stopped immediately. No harm to the baby. It is now with some foster parents and doing great. It hatched out in the incubator with a little help from me.


From Denise: I use powdered Yarrow the same way. You can buy it in capsules & keep them forever in your medicine chest to use in place of styptic powder.


Silver Nitrate

I prefer to cauterize a broken blood feather with a silver nitrate stick. I do not use silver nitrate on the wing itself. I use it to “seal” a broken blood feather. Once cauterized, it is important to wipe off any excess silver nitrate.

I had a bird who was continuously fussing with a new flight feather as it grew in. I would pull it, it would grow back, the bird would chew it, it would bleed. It was becoming a vicious cycle. I tried the silver nitrate, the feather was cauterized in a second. The feather grew out beautifully with just a small brown spot on it.


Check out this site http://www.exoticbird.com/gillian/bleeding.html&gt; According to Gillian Willis, silver nitrate destroys skin, and Kwik-Stop can cause tissue damage. These can be used on toenails, but should not be used on wings.


Yes, silver nitrate can burn skin. I had a young bird with a bad injury to its leg. Nothing helped (wound powder, flour, etc.). I cauterized the wound, then phoned the local emergency vet clinic for advice. They said I had done exactly the right thing, just to make sure to wipe off any excess silver nitrate with a damp cotton ball. The wound was completely healed in just a few days, and was checked by my vet.

Silver nitrate is especially useful for a bleeding beak. Using styptic powders risks getting the powder in the bird’s eye.

Any substance or treatment should be used responsibly. And of course you have to use your best judgment.