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Nails and Beak
 
Trimming Your Bird's Nails
 
Trimming your bird's nails should be a fairly simple procedure provided you know what you're doing and have a good bird holder or other safe restraint method. The equipment you need includes a Cutting Device: on smaller birds this can be a pair of human nail trimmers. On larger parrots, you will need to use either scissor-style pet nail trimmers, or "guillotine-style" ("Rescoe") nail trimmers. Be sure your blades on any cutting implements are sharp and not rusted. You will also need styptic powder to stop the bleeding. This can be obtained at any pet store ("Kwik-Stop") or you can use a human styptic pencil. Be warned that styptic powder on an open wound or cut is painful, so be careful! If you accidentally cut a nail and it bleeds, and you do not have styptic powder, flour will do in an emergency. Remember: if you feel nervous about doing this procedure yourself, don't do it! Go to an avian vet or a professional bird groomer!
Nails and Beak Long, overgrown toenails can be very dangerous to your bird. They are not only painful when you hold your bird, but they are more likely to get caught in toys, cages, carpet, etc. The result could be a broken toe! Also, long toenails could impede your bird's walking or perching, causing his toes to curl in awkward positions.
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Nails and Beak Inside every toenail is a blood supply, or "quick". If cut, this will begin to bleed and can be very painful. It is not, however, deadly, so if you do cut into the blood supply, do not panic. Simply apply styptic powder or flour to the source of the blood and apply pressure for a few seconds. The bleeding should stop (if not, add more powder). Different birds have different quick lengths and different ideal nail lengths.
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Nails and Beak It may be hard to estimate how short to cut your bird's nails initially. Unless the bird has white nails, it is also very hard to visualize how long the blood supply is. Ideally, we trim the nail just past the blood supply. On some birds, this may be only the very tip of the nail. In the beginning, clip conservatively. If you hit blood on one nail, cut the others a little longer. In time, you will get to know your bird's ideal length. Keeping up-to-date on nail trims may help keep the quicks from getting too long.
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For your bird's first nail trim it is a good idea to watch a professional groomer do the nails (have them show you what you can do at home), so you can see how far back you can go.
 
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Nails Well trimmed nails are an important part of a bird's health. Cutting nails is fairly simple, once you get the hang of it. More advanced groomers often do this procedure with a tool called a Dremel. It is similar to a drill, but with a straight body and a small, rough stone as a bit. Using this device one can not only trim back the nail quickly and effectively, but can round off the edges, too. (Please do NOT use a Dremel to do your bird's nails if you own one of these tools. It can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing!)
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ImportantWARNING! When trimming your bird's nails, be watchful of the position of the other toes! They can easily get stuck in your nail trimming device and get cut!
 
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Your Bird's Beak
 
Your Birds Beak Normally, your bird's beak should not require grooming. The natural wear and tear that your bird puts on its beak during daily feeding, climbing, beak-grinding and playing is usually enough to keep your bird's beak right where it should be. Occasionally, however, a bird might have physical limitations or deformities that make self-care of the beak impossible.
 
Malocclusions are one such case. In this situation, a bird's beak may be under-shot or over-shot. More commonly, the upper or lower beak (Maxilla or Mandible) veer or grow off to the side. This can be due to birth defect or injury. Certain illnesses, such as fungal infection or mite infestation, can cause beak-growth problems, too. Injuries are yet another cause of beak-growth problems. For example, Seymour, the bird president of Birdmart.Com sustained an injury to her skull many years ago. As a result she has very limited movement of her upper beak. Because of this, she is unable to grind her beak properly, and has problems with beak overgrowth problems.
 
It is important to note that a beak length that might seem normal on one species of bird may be too short or too long on another species. For example, the Hyacinth Macaw (pictured above) had a beak that is relatively long when compared to other Macaws. If you are not sure what is normal for your type of bird, visit a bird store and compare, or ask your avian veterinarian.
 
If you are concerned that your bird's beak is not being naturally kept in peak condition, see your avian veterinarian. Do not attempt to remedy this yourself. It is important that you find the cause of the abnormality, instead of simply treating it. Once you find the cause, you and your veterinarian can discuss the best ways to keep your pet's beak in the best health.
 
More Interesting Reading:-
Feather Plucking
Parrot and Bird Feather Anatomy
Parrot Diseases
 
Nails and Beak

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