Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sudden stop to the season

P broke a feather in the blood. A new feather has blood inside it for it to grow; as the feather matures the follicle tightens down, shutting off the blood supply, and any remaining blood dries up. If a new feather is bumped hard enough, the shaft may crack and the feather will start leaking. It basically screws up that feather for the season. It's not serious unless the feather fully breaks off high enough where the circulating blood can simply drain out of the shaft. It's just cracked.

I didn't realize this had happened until the day we went hawking for the first time this season. I was doing vertical jumps with him the day before. Something looked off, and he didn't want to do too many jumps despite being at weight, but I couldn't pin down a cause. This is a new one to me. The next day, in the field, the problem was clear: he didn't want to flap that wing. He started after some bunnies, but went to ground within 10 yards. In retrospect, one wing flapping is as comical as the concept of one hand clapping, but at the time, I was just trying to figure what the heck was going on.

Then I found the blood. Here you can see how the broken feather isn't sitting right at all. I'd noticed that this feather hadn't been shedding its outer coating, but again, to my failure, didn't realize its significance.
Here's a close-up of the damage :(

So what do I do about this? I need to wait, and see where we're at when the blood clots fully. Some people say to just pull the feather and it'll regrow, but there's just as many who say that could damage the follicle permanently. As this is a P2 I'd rather not run that risk. I think my best bet is to simply snip it off when it's dry, and depending on the condition of the bottom of the shaft, may be able to imp in a new primary. Here's hoping...

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