Up next in How to Take Care of a Pet Bird (19 videos)
Learn all about the care and feeding of pet birds in this Howcast video series.
You Will Need
- A bird whose nails could use a clipping
- Bird nail clippers
- Styptic powder
- Paper towels
- A helper
- Work gloves for your helper
- A towel
Step 1: No sandpaper perches
Don’t rely on 'sandpaper' perches to keep your bird’s nails in shape. They don’t work, and they may hurt your bird’s feet.
Step 2: Consult your vet
Ask an avian vet, bird breeder, or pet store employee what will work best for your bird. For tiny finches, regular nail clippers can be used. For large parrots, you may need an electric nail grinder—no kidding!
Step 3: Seal the room
Make sure all doors and windows in the room are closed.
Step 4: Remove the bird
Gently remove your bird from her cage.
Step 5: Have a helper
If your bird is large, have a helper—wearing work gloves—hold her while you check her feet. If she’s small, hold her with one hand while you check her nails with the other.
Step 6: Examine the nails
Hold the bird’s foot up to the light. If she has pale nails, you can easily avoid nicking the vein inside the nail.
Step 7: Clip the nails
If your bird has dark nails, clip off only about one-sixteenth of an inch.
Step 8: Snip only the point
No matter how long the bird’s nails are, snip off only the short point at the end of each nail.
Step 9: Work quickly
Work as quickly as you can. Pedicures are stressful for birds, so speak calmly and soothingly to your bird as you clip.
Step 10: Don’t freak
Don’t freak if you take off a little too much and the bird’s nail starts to bleed—this happens. Just wipe the nail gently with a paper towel and dip it into styptic powder. The bleeding should stop quickly.
Step 11: Return the bird
When you’re done, return your bird to her cage and heave a sigh of relief. You two will get used to pedicures. Besides, you’ve just helped to protect her from hurting herself—and you—without the stress of a vet visit.