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How To Trim Your Parrot’s Nails

You most likely don’t suppose too typically about your parrot’s nails till they’re painfully poking into your pores and skin. But do you know that your parrot’s ft are simply as necessary to her as her beak and wings are? In reality, you possibly can argue they’re crucial a part of your chicken’s physique, since most parrots are on their ft 24/7!

Nails play a big position in that, too. Both within the wild and in our houses, parrots use their nails to assist securely grasp onto surfaces so that they don’t slip. They additionally assist them in gripping objects resembling toys or meals.

Since your parrot makes use of her nails for a lot, maintaining them correctly groomed is crucial.

Why It’s Important To Trim Your Parrot’s Nails

You would possibly ask, “Why do I need to keep my parrot’s nails properly groomed?” I’ll clarify. In the wild, parrots’ nails are continuously being worn down as they climb and grip and dangle from branches, bark and different surfaces. In our houses, not a lot. Your parrot’s nails don’t get worn down as shortly, and in the event that they get too lengthy, it causes issues. Some of these issues are even life-threatening.

“When a parrot’s nails start getting too long, they can break off too short or they can start to curl,” Gloria Medina, an affiliate at Omar’s Exotic Birds in Lake Forest, California, says. “Their nails can also get caught in a toy or the cage bars.”

Too brief nails are dangerous as a result of a parrot can’t grip as effectively. Curled nails are dangerous, as a result of then a parrot can’t lengthen their foot vast sufficient to grip onto a floor. Long nails will be killers. As Medina identified, there are many horror tales through which a parrot’s foot will get caught in a toy or rope as a result of their nails have been too lengthy. Those tales normally finish with a chicken injuring herself and even dying from thrashing round to get free.

To keep away from that, continuously examine your chicken’s toys for any frayed or unfastened components she may get her foot (or beak or different physique half) caught in. Along with that, maintain your chicken’s nails trimmed.

How To Tell When It’s Time To Trim Your Parrot’s Nails

So when’s the very best time to trim your parrot’s nails?

“I tell people to trim their bird’s nails when they get too sharp for you,” Medina says. “If you’re handling them and the little points of their nails are painful against your skin, it’s time for a trim.”

There’s no mistaking that feeling!

How To Trim Your Parrot’s Nails: A Step-by-Step Guide

What You’ll Need

● You and a volunteer
● A towel
● Nail clippers for smaller parrots (e.g., budgies, cockatiels)
● Dog nail clippers or a Dremel instrument for bigger parrots
● A perch on your chicken to grip onto (non-compulsory)
● Styptic powder or cornstarch, for bleeding

bird nail trimming tools

Regular nail clippers work effectively for smaller parrots, whereas canine nail clippers or a Dremel are finest for bigger birds, which have thicker nails. Illustrations by Josh Carter

Step 1: Secure your parrot in a towel.

Bird nail trim, Step 1

You have to maintain your parrot nonetheless, and the easiest way to try this is to carry her with a towel.

When it’s time to trim your parrot’s nails, you or your volunteer wants to carry onto the chicken to maintain her from transferring. A towel is the easiest way to do that: It include the parrot’s wings contained and retains her safe.

Warning: When you’re restraining your parrot, don’t put stress on her chest in any method, form or type. Your parrot’s respiratory system is extremely delicate and any stress on the chest can suffocate her or trigger harm.

Step 2: Hold your parrot’s head below the decrease mandible.

Parrot nail trip, Step 2

Hold your parrot’s below the decrease jaw — NOT her neck — to maintain her from transferring her head.

During nail trims, you don’t need your parrot to have the ability to twist her head. Whether it’s as a result of she needs to chew you or simply attempt to get free, you desire a safe grip in your parrot that retains her head from transferring side-to-side.

Unfortunately, doing this seems to be such as you’re strangling your parrot. However, you’re not placing any stress on a chicken’s neck, Medina factors out. Medina grooms parrots on the retailer, and if a chicken proprietor is alarmed by what she’s doing, she’ll clarify what’s occurring.

“We’ll show people that we’re holding them right under their lower mandible and not their neck,” Medina says. “They can also see how we’re not actually gripping the parrot’s neck, and we’re just stopping the parrot’s head from moving up and down.”

Use your fingers to calmly maintain your parrot’s head. You don’t want a number of stress; simply sufficient to maintain your chicken’s head from transferring an excessive amount of in any path.

Step three: Look for the short in your chicken’s toes.

The fast is the blood provide inside your parrot’s toes. You don’t wish to reduce into it.

If your chicken has dark-colored toes, transfer onto Step four.

If your chicken has light-colored toes, search for the short inside them. The fast is the blood provide inside your parrot’s toes — you don’t wish to reduce into it. If you do, it’ll damage your parrot and make her bleed.

Use the short in your parrot’s toe to offer your self a baseline for a way far you possibly can trim.

If your chicken does begin bleeding, use your styptic powder or cornstarch to assist cease the bleeding. These powders clog up the blood and assist the coagulants get to work. (Note: Don’t use styptic powder or cornstarch on another a part of your chicken’s physique! It’s for nails solely.)

Step four: Decide how a lot to trim.

If you’re taking off an excessive amount of, you possibly can reduce into the short. On darkish nails, it’s finest to chop off simply the sharp suggestions.

It’s a judgement name for a way a lot you’ll wish to trim your chicken’s nails. Some specialists advocate trimming proper up below the short line. Medina doesn’t like to return that far as a result of a parrot won’t be capable to grip a perch correctly.

“I normally do just the tip of the nail,” she says. “If you look at the tip of the nail, you get to the point where it’s really pointy. That’s the part I round off so it’s not as sharp.”

What in case your chicken has dark-colored nails and you may’t see the short? To be secure, simply trim off the sharp components of your chicken’s nails.

Step 5: Trim!

Lift every toe individually and reduce the nail under the short.

Depending on how a lot you determined to trim in Step four, reduce to that time. For smaller birds, you should use normal nail clippers. For bigger parrots, canine nail trimmers simply reduce by way of their thicker nails.

The best strategy to trim your parrot’s nails is to raise every toe individually and reduce the nail.

Note: Some chicken groomers use Dremel instruments in lieu of clippers too grind toes down. I’d advocate studying how to do that from a groomer or veterinarian first. If you don’t have the expertise, you possibly can simply lose your grip in your chicken and damage her with the Dremel.

Some parrots are champs and can allow you to trim all their nails without delay. Some solely tolerate one or two nails at a time earlier than they need out of the towel.

You’re the very best decide of your chicken’s tolerance stage. If you see your chicken begin to pant excessively or really feel her physique temperature spike — you’ll really feel her toes get extremely popular — let your parrot go to chill down. Spray her physique and toes with a lightweight mist to assist decrease her temperature and calm her.

Step 6: Release Your Parrot And Let Her Cool Down

Don’t power your parrot to endure lengthy nail cropping periods if she will be able to solely tolerate a couple of minutes. You can at all times proceed later after she’s cooled off.

As talked about in Step 5, not all parrots like being restrained and want settle down intervals for security causes. However, it’s not a foul strategy to finish a grooming session total: A pleasant cool bathtub to calm down makes each parrot comfortable.

Other Ways To Trim Your Parrot’s Nails

The steps above usually are not the one methods to trim your parrot’s nails, however definitely the simplest. The different methods require a number of coaching, endurance and a powerful relationship along with your chicken the place she trusts you fully. It’ll additionally rely in your chicken’s species as effectively, and the way effectively your chicken tolerates her toes being touched.

If you do plan to strive these strategies, you must work as much as it. The finest method is to begin by gently enjoying along with your chicken’s toes whereas she’s in your hand. Touch them along with your fingers at first. Work as much as lifting up her foot, or particular person toes one after the other. (You can even practice her to raise up her foot.) Bring nail clippers near their nails with out trimming them so she will get used to the sight of the clippers.

A variety of parrots don’t like their ft being messed with, however you possibly can overcome that by making the expertise constructive. Treats and reward are the easiest way to do that: When your parrot helps you to contact their toes, reward them.

Trim Your Parrot’s Nails While She’s On Her Back

Some parrots like to lie on their backs, resembling African gray parrots and the Poicephalus parrots (e.g., Senegal parrot, Meyer’s parrots). If you see your parrot enjoying whereas mendacity on her again, you possibly can practice her to enter that place when it’s time to trim her nails. Then you simply trim every toenail individually whereas she’s on her again.

This is usually a sluggish course of and you must begin by coaching your parrot to love having their toes touched, as talked about above.

Trim Your Parrot’s Nails While She’s On A Perch

All parrots sit on perches. While on a perch, you possibly can practice your parrot to raise up her foot. Once there, you possibly can trim your parrot’s nails by gripping every toe and reducing what’s wanted. Again, to even try this, you must begin with trust-building workouts first.

When Should You Not Trim Your Parrot’s Nails?

Believe it or not there are circumstances the place you shouldn’t trim your parrot’s nails.

“If your bird is clumsy or old and they’re not perching well, I wouldn’t recommend trimming their nails too often,” Medina says. “Parrots that have seizures should only have their nails trimmed once in a blue moon since they need to be able to grip perches properly and not slip off.”

Medina additionally recommends the identical for very younger parrots who’re nonetheless studying the best way to climb and grip onto perches. All three want longer nails to assist them keep on perches and forestall any falls that may simply result in accidents.

About Micky Antonio

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