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How to Groom a Pet Bird

bird grooming

Wing and nail clipping are perhaps the most important grooming needs for pet birds. A bird with clipped wings is less likely to fly out an open door into the wide unfamiliar world. Few escaped birds are ever recovered, and a bird accustomed to cups of food and water placed in front of it daily lacks the skills to forage for food.

Pet birds allowed to fly around in the home often experience accidents by flying into windows or mirrors, which they perceive as open air space. A newly purchased bird will tame much more quickly if its wings are clipped, and the bond develops easier between bird and owner.

Toe nails grow out and can become very sharp. Besides digging into the skin of your hand or arm, long toe nails are more likely to become snagged on a toy or fabric. The bird panics in an attempt to release itself and injury may result. If you are inexperienced at clipping birds, contact a breeder, veterinarian or pet shop to find someone to clip your bird or teach you how. Even the most experienced bird groomer will sometimes clip a nail too short. If this happens, bleeding will occur, and you must know how to stop it quickly. There are products sold in pet stores to staunch bleeding, or use a styptic pencil or cornstarch.

New bird owners often worry that wing clipping is painful for the bird. No need to worry. Clipping a feather is the same as cutting human hair and is a normal part of grooming. When clipping wings, it is important to know which feathers to clip and how many. Long slender birds with long tails require more feathers clipped than chunkier shaped birds with short tails. Always clip both wings, and the pet bird will be able to glide safely down if it tries to fly or becomes startled. If only one wing is clipped, the bird is off balance and probably will crash into a wall or furniture before landing.

Someone experienced at clipping wings knows how to check for blood feathers before cutting. While a feather is growing, there is a supply from the follicle. Once the feather has completed its development, the blood supply shuts off. You must never clip a blood feather, as this can cause severe bleeding.

The final grooming need is bathing. Birds spend a great deal of time in preening their feathers to keep them clean and healthy. Battling stimulates preening and maintains the healthy sheen of feathers. They do not require bathing like a dog or other mammal.

Many birds love the sound of running water and if you have a tame pet it may love joining you in the shower, or at the sink when you do the dishes to splash in the spray. Other birds will enjoy a shallow dish of water for this purpose. One of the easiest ways to bathe your bird is to use a clean plant mister whan has never been used with any chemicals in it. Fill it with hot water and set it on the fine mist spray and squirt it above the bird, allowing the wist to spray over the bird. The water will be cooled when it reaches the bird, if your bird has never experienced this it may be frightened the first time, but most parrots will love their spray baths.

Once your pet bird discovers the fun of the spray it will become excited when it sees you reach for the mister. Birds dance around under the mist, spread the wings to catch every drop, and thoroughly enjoy this method. Remember to allow pet birds to bathe early in the day so their feathers dry before bedtime.

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