The Task of Clipping Your Bird’s Nails

Clipping your pet bird’s nails can either be an easy task or a difficult task.  If your bird has light colored nails, it will be an easy task.  Dark nails will make nail clipping a difficult.  This is because every bird has a quick (which is a blood vessel) in their nail.  Cutting their nail too short will open the quick and cause bleeding.  The quick is easily spotted in birds with light colored nails, and is almost impossible to see in dark nails.

You are responsible for trimming the nail short enough so that it does not get caught on cages or toys, but not too short that you clip the quick.  The best way to go about this task is having an assistant help you.  Your assistant will gently wrap your bird in a towel, allowing enough give so that your bird can breath properly.  Wrapping too tight may constrict your birds breathing.

As far as the tools you need, you will of course require nail clippers.  For my bird, I use the Safety Pet Nail Clipper, pictured to the right.  It is safe to use on any small animals, such as birds and rabbits, but they can also be used on smaller dogs and cats.  Overall, I find the Safety Pet Nail Clippers to be a very reliable pair of clippers – the blade is guaranteed to last you at least 3 years.   You will also need a nail file, but a human nail file works just fine.

With one foot exposed, trim off a very small amount of the hooked tip.  Then, you must file the nail to smooth out any jagged edges.  This will ensure that the nails never get snagged on anything.  Repeat this step on the other foot.  When you are finished, be sure to reward your bird generously.  Whether you give him his favorite treat, or give him extra attention (or both!), he will know he did a good job letting you cut his nails.

Something I like to do to prolong the in-between time of nail clipping is to put the 8 in 1 Avian Gravel Paper for Bird Cages at the bottom of your bird’s cage.  The gravel in the paper works like a nail file to gently file your bird’s nails when he walks on it.  This gravel paper also makes for easy clean up, as you will remove waste and urine when you remove the paper from the cage!