Yesterday, in response to my post about our Serama’s “porcupine feathers”, a reader (and facebook friend) Robin Mather (who wrote The Feast Nearby – if you haven’t read it you must – it’s one of my favorites) commented that in parrots these soft-waxy/nail-like tubes are called blood feathers.
These feathers are not to be pulled out (I swear, I only did a gentle tug to see if the tube would come off) as the traumatic removal of them could cause the bird to bleed to death.
“It’s very itchy, so very (very!) Gentle massage and kind of gentle pinching of the sheath seems to feel good. But be careful!” writes Robin.
That seemed like some pretty important information to pass on and so there you go. If you see these tubes on your chickens, proceed with caution. Don’t do anything to your bird, the tubes will fall off when they are ready.
Although on one hand it surprises me that some of our chickens seem to have a similar trait with parrots, on the other hand, it doesn’t surprise me in the least.