Clipping Wings and Nails?

How often should a parrot’s wings be clipped and how often should the nails be trimmed?
Does the size or species of the parrot affect the frequency of either?

Bird grooming, to a certain degree, can be as individual as the bird is. Typically, a parrot’s wings need to be trimmed when the last clip has grown in and the bird is starting to regain flight. This occurs when the bird moults.

In nature, a moult is typically a once a year phenomenon, done to replace the worn feathers with new ones. In captive situations, moulting can be affected by nutritional status, behavior, husbandry and disease, and some birds will partially moult two or three times a year or seem to be continually moulting. As a result, wing clipping needs to be done with varying frequency.

Nail trims should be done when the nail is deemed too long to maintain healthy foot status. Long nails potentially hook in fabric or rope perches, can wrap around the cage bars or be so sharp they pierce the owners skin!! The longer the nail gets, the longer the ‘quick’ or blood vessel in the nail gets. Trimming the nails on a frequent basis will help keep the quick back.

The size and species of a bird does not tend to affect how often wings or nails need to be trimmed. Nutrition, general health and perch quality have a greater role and birds with chronic illnesses, chronic malnutrition, or birds that are old may have prolonged moults and / or longer nails that may need to be attended to more frequently.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Kerry Korber
Calgary Avian & Exotic Pet Clinic

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