Since getting my Congo African Grey parrot, I have been playing with her feet… through the cage bars and when she is not in her cage. I knew I would have a lifetime of trimming her toenails, and wanted her to be comfortable with having her feet handled. I gently grasp her toes and rub the bottoms of her feet with one finger, while laughing and saying, “Tickle, tickle, tickle, Emma!” By now, of course, she is able to repeat this phrase in perfect harmony!
I have trimmed the sharp tips off her toenails without much upset, several times. I am now thrilled I have achieved my original goal which was to snip the tips while playing with her feet as she climbs along the bars of her enormous cage. I simply tickle her feet, grasp a toe, snip the nail (with great surety!) and go back to tickling her feet. Emma thinks it is all a game, and I am able to keep her pedicure perfect, without stress to either of us.
When trimming your bird’s toenails, ensure you use proper scissors or clippers. Have styptic powder or styptic sticks close by, in case you cut too short. Shine a small light at the foot… it will help illuminate the claw and the blood flow within the claw so you can snip short of the quick. Having a helper to do this task, is beneficial.
Linnies like their nails long. They curl naturally, and the birds depend on the curl to climb on perches and bars in their cages. Keep their nails short enough they don’t tangle… if they get too long they will intertwine.
Be very careful when trimming nails on small birds such as finches and canaries. Watch the clippers are not so big they are grasping a neighbouring toe at the same time as a toenail.
The first time I trimmed birds’ nails, I was a nervous wreck! Now, I do it in stride. Like any new skill, it takes practice. Start slow, and only take the sharp tip off a nail or two. It gets easier as time goes on.