The following article will teach you how to cut parakeet nails. You'll learn why it is important, the different techniques and tools that are available, and some common mistakes people make when cutting their bird's nails.
The article will also cover what not to do when trimming your bird's nails because this can be very dangerous for both you and your pet.
- Why You Need To Trim Your Bird's Nails
- How To Cut Parakeet Nails
- How To Cut Parakeet Nails Using Scissors
- How To Cut Parakeet Nails Using Clippers
- How To Trim Parakeet Nails Using Pliers
- How Often Should You Cut Parakeet Nails?
- The dangers of trimming a Parakeet's nails incorrectly and what not to do when cutting their claws.
- Some tips on cutting your parakeet's nails safely:
- Should I Use Sandpaper Toys To Trim My Parakeets Nails?
Why You Need To Trim Your Bird's Nails
The reason you need to trim your bird's nails is that, if left untrimmed, your bird's nails will grow abnormally and can result in some very painful injuries. Untrimmed nails can also get caught on cage toys.
Overgrown nails can cause severe pain as they constantly push against the skin under them with their body weight.
As a result, a bird's feet may become lame or deformed due to their inability to bear weight on them.
If this problem occurs, over time the nails may also begin to curl inward and cut into the bird's toes as he stands or walks.
Parakeets can become quite distressed if they are unable to walk properly in their cage because of sore feet so it is important that you keep your Parakeet's nails trimmed regularly.
If you are unable to do this yourself, you will need to take your bird along with his cage to a veterinarian for nail clipping.
How To Cut Parakeet Nails
There are three different methods for you to consider when trimming your bird's nails. The method you choose will depend on the type of bird you have and how he or she reacts to being handled by humans.
You may need to towel your bird in the same way you would if you were clipping its wings.
The first option is to use a pair of scissors, the second is clippers and the third is using pliers.
If your bird has claws that curve inwards, the nail will need to be clipped from underneath using a curved nail cutter or pliers.
How To Cut Parakeet Nails Using Scissors
You can use scissors designed for birds to trim your bird's claws.
To do this, it is important that you take the following steps:
- Take hold of your bird by his upper body and place him on his back in one hand while keeping a firm grip with your other hand.
- You should then hold the nail between your thumb and index finger to keep it still.
- Bring the scissors close to the nail and clip off a small section of it. You will need to do this on each of your bird's claws in turn.
If you are trimming your bird's nails for the first time, it would be best if you watched how your veterinarian performs this task. You can then follow his or her example when you are doing it at home.
How To Cut Parakeet Nails Using Clippers
Some find that using clippers are easiest when just cutting the tips of your bird's nails. You can use your normal clippers if just clipping the tip or clippers designed for birds.
This technique can be used for birds that don't have claws that curve inwards on their feet.
If you are using clippers, the following steps will help:
- Again, take hold of your bird by his upper body and place him on his back in one hand while keeping a firm grip with your other hand.
- With the other hand, you should then place one wing in front of his body and hold it firmly against him while you clip off the tip of that claw.
How To Trim Parakeet Nails Using Pliers
- In order to use pliers to trim your parakeet's nails properly, you must place them underneath the nail so that the curve of the tool nestles against your bird's toe.
- The curve should point towards your bird and you should push down on the pliers gently so they are canted upwards to cut under the nail.
- As a rule, it is better to clip less off than more so go slowly at first until you have mastered the method.
If you want your Parakeet's claws and beaks to stay the same length through natural wear, try trimming only 1-2 millimeters each time.
How Often Should You Cut Parakeet Nails?
Generally, you need to trim your Parakeets nails every 2-4 weeks in order to keep them at the correct size and shape. However, this will depend on the individual bird and whether or not their nails need trimming. Of course, do not trim them if they do not need to be trimmed just because 4 weeks have gone by.
The dangers of trimming a Parakeet's nails incorrectly and what not to do when cutting their claws.
When you trim a Parakeet's nails incorrectly, the nerve supply to the tip of that nail will be cut, which is extremely painful for your bird.
You need to clip only a small part of the nail at any one time and should always check that you are not cutting into the white inside the claw before you clip off more.
An intact nail bed helps keep bacteria away and promotes strong growth, so it is best to trim just the very tips of your pet's nails
If you see red on the nail, then it means that you have cut too close and will need to dip the nail in styptic powder or cornstarch and give your bird some pain relief.
Some tips on cutting your parakeet's nails safely:
- Do not use clippers or scissors unless they're specifically designed for birds – it'll only hurt them more.
- If you do use clippers, only clip the very tip.
- if your bird is scratching at his feet, pick him up and inspect them – there may be something wrong with his nails that needs clipping.
- Some birds get used to having their claws clipped, but can still struggle if they're in pain. So before you clip them at home, ask your vet or bird breeder what you should do and how best to approach the task.
- Have your parakeet first aid kit to hand in case of injury.
- Use your eyes to locate the quick of the nail (the pink or whitish vein that runs up the center of it). You should stop trimming well before you reach the quick.
- It is very easy to cut into this vein and cause pain and bleeding. You will need to look closely so you can avoid this.
Should I Use Sandpaper Toys To Trim My Parakeets Nails?
Many bird owners use sandpaper-covered perches as nail trimmers. They have good intentions and want to help their parakeets be healthy, allowing them to trim their own nails, essentially.
However, what many people do not know is, sandpaper perches are not an effective way for birds to do this to themselves.
The abrasive material can cause the surface layer of your pet's feet to wear down which may lead her vulnerable injuries that will be painful when she moves around.
Parakeets do not typically scrape their nails as they walk so it is very unlikely this method will do more good than harm.
Additionally, while your parakeet's nails need trimming, avoid rope toys as the nail can get caught in the knot and cause injury. Likewise, chains and loose link toys can get caught and snag its nails.
Bird mom, blog writer and children's books author. My first ever pet bird was a parakeet, and now I am a proud “bird lady” and even enjoy writing about them!