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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11426
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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Our 36 year old Amazon Parrot need its nails clipped. A few

Customer Question

Our 36 year old Amazon Parrot need its nails clipped . A few year ago I did this and it worked out fine. The bird is bit more fussy these days. Any suggestions on clipping?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.


I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just logged on and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in birds.

The easiest way to do this is to have your parrot wrapped up in a towel, but the bird will have to be accustomed to being wrapped in a towel. You'll need a bath towel, and place it on a flat surface. Put treats on it and let your bird eat them, while praising her/him. When he/she's comfortable with that, take a corner of the towel and gently stroke her/his back with it. Again, reward the parrot. Take each step very slowly. Work up to being able to lay the towel over him/her. You want the towel to be a pleasant experience. When the bird is comfortable with being wrapped in the towel, you're ready to start.

An alternative method is to teach your bird to give you its foot (shake hands) as a trick. Reward her/him as he/she learns this. With patience and plenty of rewards, a bird can learn to stand still for nail clipping. Here is a video:

After wrapping in a towel, the bird should be gently restrained in the towel on a table or counter. Bring one foot out at a time and quickly clip the nails. Be careful not to put pressure on the bird's chest as that can interfere with breathing. Your bird's claws should be shaped like the letter C. That will enable it to hold onto its perches and climb about. If the claws start growing into an O shape, back onto themselves, they are too long. Every parrot's nails will grow at a different rate, so there is no set time to trim the nails. You'll just have to watch for the proper shape. You do have to be careful not to cut the quick. If you do, the nail will bleed. Have a small bowl of flour or cornstarch ready in case you accidentally make a nail bleed. If you do, immediately put the foot into the flour or cornstarch to quickly stop the bleeding. Only clip off the very tip of each nail to decrease the chance of such an accident. It is easier to trim nails if you have a helper to hold the bird while you trim the nails, so try to line up someone to help.

And here's another video of the whole process (there's a 15 second ad first):

Many bird owners just have an avian vet clip nails, so if the process becomes too difficult, that is another option. If you have more questions, just ley me know. I wish you success in trimming Fred's nails.


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Expert:  Anna replied 10 months ago.
Hello again,Were you able to get the nails clipped? Do you need any additional information?Anna