5 Signs That Your Bird Needs a Nail Trim

Just about any bird owner will agree that trimming a bird's nails isn't the most pleasant experience in the world, but it is necessary from time to time in order to preserve your pet's health and comfort, as well as your own. If you think that your pet bird might be ready for a nail trim, then read through the information below to learn about what you can look for to help you determine when the time is right. Keeping a close eye on the condition of your bird's feet will help you make sure that your bird stays in tip-top shape from head to toe.

  • 01 of 05

    Changes in Perching Behavior

    Rainbow Lorikeet
    © Karen To / Getty Images

    One of the biggest clues that something could be going on with your bird's feet is a change in his or her perching behavior. Have you noticed your bird favoring one foot or the other lately? Has your bird recently seemed to prefer standing on the cage floor to using his or her perches? Any sort of change in the way your bird normally perches and carries itself is a reason to take a look at your bird's nails and feet. If it appears as though your bird could use a nail trim, go ahead and try one -- however if your bird's perching behavior doesn't improve once it's done, you should schedule an appointment with your avian vet to rule out any other medical problems.

  • 02 of 05

    Rough, Scabby Patches on Your Bird's Skin

    Close-Up Of African Grey Parrot Perching On Pipe By Plants
    Guo Ya Hui / EyeEm / Getty Images

    If you've been noticing patches of rough, dry skin or scabs on your bird's body, then a nail trim may be in order. Why is that? Because like other animals, birds use their claws to scratch and relieve itches all over their bodies. Birds with overgrown claws are prone to accidentally scratching themselves too hard, causing abrasions and bleeding in some cases. Give your bird's nails a trim if you notice these sorts of marks on his or her body, and see if things begin to improve within a day or two. If the situation doesn't get better, then you should promptly schedule an appointment with an avian vet.

  • 03 of 05

    Excessive Length

    Paradise Park:Protecting Parrots
    Francis Apesteguy / Getty Images

    One of the most obvious signs that your bird needs a nail trim is excessive length on the ends of his or her claws. Most bird owners can tell just by looking at their pets' feet when they are due for a trim. Become familiar with your bird's anatomy and be sure to take time to give your bird a thorough "once over" now and then so that you can become aware of what is normal for your bird and what might look out of place. This is the easiest way to tell if your bird needs a nail trim or any other type of grooming or veterinary procedure.

  • 04 of 05

    Painful Scratches to Your Hands

    Close-Up Of Hand Holding Parrot
    Eduardo Lohmann Cardoso / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Can you comfortably handle your bird without getting painful scratches all over your hands? If not, then it may be time to trim those nails! While it's normal to be able to feel your bird's claws when he or she perches on your hand, they should not be so long and sharp that you are unable to hold your pet without getting scratched. Opt for a nail trim any time that holding your bird starts to get uncomfortable.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    "Hanging" Nails

    Close-Up Of Parrot Perching In Cage
    Maid Idrizovic / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Birds use their feet for practically everything -- walking, grasping food, and holding onto branches, perches, cage bars, and toys. If their nails aren't kept in good order, many aspects of their lives can be greatly affected as a result. If you notice your bird's nails getting "hung" on your clothing, in bits of food, or on other surfaces, then it's definitely time for a trim. Nails of a healthy length will be enough to give your bird traction without hindering his or her efforts at getting around.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.