Can you groom your bird at home? You may be wondering if a bird is a self-cleaning animal, or should you bathe a bird, or what to do in terms of cleaning or grooming your feathered friend. First things first, if you are going to groom your bird yourself, you need to be comfortable with the task. In order to safely groom your bird, it is recommended that a second person be involved so one person holds the bird while the other person performs the grooming procedures. The person holding the bird should use a small towel to cover the body of the bird and hold the feet in the opposite hand. Of course, you should also make sure you know what is involved in the process and have your local pet store or veterinarian’s office show you what you need to do.
Birds actually do benefit from regularly grooming. What is involved?
Trimming the nails
If your bird’s nails grow too long, he will have a difficult time perching and walking around and be uncomfortable. When birds’ nails grow too long, they curve. Use a nail clipper that is recommended for birds (or is vet-approved) and avoid cutting the nails too short to avoid bleeding. You can use a nail file or emery board to smooth out sharp nails as well.
Most birds won’t require this. If a bird does require beak trimming, the beak should be held closed and a rotary tool can be used to careful trim the beak. Birds like Macaws who have very long pointed beaks might require beak trimming but you should check with your veterinarian to find out how long the beak should be before you attempt to trim it.
Wing trimming is recommended for pet birds to reduce flight capability so that there is less risk of your pet bird escaping through an open door or window, or injuring himself while flying around the house. It is important to trim the wings symmetrically and properly as your pet bird will still try to fly around and must be able to balance and land safely. It is recommended that you trim your bird’s wings a few times each year. When your are getting ready to trim your bird’s wings, be sure to only trim the “primary” feathers, which are the feathers you see at the outside edge. Another reason to ask a professional how to do this: It is important that you inspect each feather to identify what is known as the “blood feather”, as cutting this feather will harm your bird as you would be cutting a blood vessel.
Remember, there is no shame in leaving the grooming to the professionals. Ask your local pet store or veterinarian’s office what bird grooming services are available.