Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cockatiel Toenails

Many people arrive at this blog by using search terms involving cockatiel toenails, so I thought I'd discuss the topic of trimming your cockatiel's toenails.

Toenail maintenance is very important. If a bird's nails grow too long, they can impair the bird's ability to perch and can even create worn pads on the bird's foot, which left unattended cause sores and infections.

Conner's toenails grow so fast that they need to be clipped every two weeks.

When you clip the toenails, be very conservative in how much you clip. You don't want to clip so much that you hit the blood vessels. Birds don't have very much blood and their blood doesn't clot quickly.

It helps when your bird has toenails like Conner's that are mostly clear. In Conner's toenails you can see the blood vessel and cut accordingly. You only need to cut a few millimeters.

In this picture, I cut his toenails three days ago. Please excuse the mirror; Conner likes to lick it.

Audrey's toenails are a bit harder because some of his toenails are dark. Also, he hates having his toenails clipped so I only do a couple at a time to prevent him from becoming too stressed. When Audrey's back toenails grow too long, he folds the toes when he perches. This makes his grip horrible. Since Audrey's grip is already too weak, I'm very vigilant about monitoring his toenails.

Here you can see that his nails are pretty long, but not so long that they curl inward. If he was doing the toe-folding thing, you'd be able to see from this angle.

Also, when you clip the toenails, make sure to wrap the bird up in a towel; you want to minimize the bird's ability to struggle. Also, use toenail clippers and not some electronic device. Electronic devices will scare the bird. For larger birds, a nail file helps to shape the nail, but isn't necessary for cockatiels. If you're unsure how to do this, ask your vet to show you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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