Bird Grooming

When it comes to grooming, birds are fussier than a lot of people. A bird likes a regular bath, an occasional manicure, and – if there’s no avian love interest around to provide it – a bit of a haircut from you.

Feather Cut

Like human hair and pet fur, bird feathers are shed and regrown regularly. Birds lose their feathers in an orderly, sequential process, rather than all at once, so that in the wild, they are never rendered flightless and subject to predation. Ideally, wing clipping is started when birds are young and aren’t used to flying; that way, birds don’t automatically try to take off during training and land on the floor. Wing clipping may be performed in older birds as well, even if they are accustomed to flying, but it may be best to trim a feather or two at a time in these birds, so that wing trimming is done gradually and the birds have time to realize they can’t fly anymore.

Nail Cut

Toenails of small birds may be trimmed with special nail clipper. Larger birds require a stronger dog nail scissor or clipper. Regardless of the instrument used to trim toenails, the bird should be securely and safely restrained. The nail may be trimmed a little at a time to help lessen the chance of bleeding. It takes good judgment, patience, and practice to trim nails properly. If bleeding occurs, remain calm, restrain the bird safely and securely, and use finger pressure to pinch the toe (from side to side just before the nail). This will provide a tourniquet action so that you can apply a clotting agent or styptic powder into the cut end.