Trimming a Bird's Nails?

February 25, 2008

A close up of a pet bird's foot and nails.My parakeet, Charlie, has grown some super long nails. I don't know what the bird is supposed to do to keep them trim, and there's no one in my family that will trim them. Does anyone know a step by step way to trim a bird's nails and what I can use?




By Stephanie (Guest Post)
February 25, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you can find a specialty bird store near you, a lot of them have grooming services. It is also a lot cheaper than a vet, and they know what they are doing. I work in a bird store and I do a lot of grooming, and I agree with the posts above, you don't want to be the bad guy and you don't want to hurt your bird earlier.


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February 27, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you hold the toenail up to the light you can see where the blood vessel ends. Clip an extra 1/8 inch beyond the vessel so you miss the vessel. Wear a glove and be gentle. Your parakeet will not be crazy about this procedure.

By fruitk8 (Guest Post)
February 27, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've kept birds of all sizes for years but I still remember how scared I was the first few times. I am "the bird lady". I have trimmed beaks (seldom needed) wings and nails. It is traumatic for both you and the bird.


Clipping Your Bird's Nails
  • The calmer you are, the calmer the bird will be.
  • I use a white dish towel for the smaller birds. Drop it over them and gently place your index and middle finger on either side of its head with gentle pressure. It's to keep them from biting.
  • I then place them belly up in the same hand continuing to steady the head. (It's easier to do this with 2 people as they tend to curl their toes, making it difficult to do this with 1 hand).
  • Remember: don't be a bully, they weigh only ounces!
  • Parakeets have clear nails, you can see the blood supply (quick) if you look closely. Clip just below the vein with nail clippers or baby scissors. Be careful not to break the toe.
I am not a fan of sandpaper perch covers or cage liners. I've seen too many raw feet as it contacts with the claw not the nails. I wouldn't like to have sandpaper on my bare feet! I also use tree branches instead of purchased perches as they vary in diameter and its better for the lil feet.

February 25, 20080 found this helpful

Take your bird to an avian veterinarian. Trimming bird nails is tricky and most definitely not for a novice.

By Pat (Guest Post)
February 25, 20080 found this helpful

Agree with the post above. You can end up with a bloody mess! I had umbrella cockatoos for ten years. I clipped them too short a few times.


Plus they don't forget when you hurt them. Let the vet be the bad guy.


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February 25, 20080 found this helpful

We just bought a clipper/nipper/trimmer for our CAT's nails, There are 2 kinds, One with a guard on the back (the guard prevents you from trimming off to much of the nail) & 1 without a guard. The ones with the guard only cost about $2 more. If you buy a pair of clippers for your bird, be sure to buy the type that comes with the guard on the back. This way you won't trim off to much of their nails.

* For our cat, Before I cut his nails for the first time, I had the vet's assistant clip them while I watched. This way, I knew how much to take off. If your bird needs shots or a check-up or whatever, why not have them teach you how to clip his nails at the same time! Also, don't they have sandpaper & other things that you mount in their cages, for their beaks & claws?

By Jay (Guest Post)
February 26, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you all for the comments, really helps. Yah, we have that sandpaper type thing in the cage for his beak, but he hardly even uses it. Hopefully, I can drop by the pet store soon and buy a few new things.

February 27, 20080 found this helpful

this is something i would spend the money on for a professional to do. birds have very fast little heartbeats and can bleed out very fast if you cut off way too much and if you cut off just a little too much you will hurt the bird.


for your bird's sake, take it to a professional.

By Maryanne (Guest Post)
February 28, 20080 found this helpful

Please don't use cage liner paper or perch covers that's like sandpaper. This does nothing for the bird's nails or beak. Just think of a person with bare feet standing or moving around on that. Birds in the wild don't use sandpaper. This was only a gimmick for pet manufacturers to make a profit.

By jaye (Guest Post)
April 12, 20080 found this helpful

Wow, if only I checked these replies sooner. I bought some sandpaper lining - a bunch. Maybe I can find a way to use it - a huge roll! lol and thank you to all on you're advice. We've followed them and he has shorter nails now, but he might need another trim soon. lol.

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