01254 53622(24 hour emergency)

Parrot Nail and Beak Clipping

budgie on perch

How Often Should My Bird’s Nails and Beak be Clipped?

A birds nails and beak should not need trimming if the environment and feeding are correct.


Nails can overgrow due to vitamin imbalances (usually too little vitamin A), obesity, lack of exercise and poor perches. Constant diameter perches such as dowels should not be used. In the wild, birds stand on branches and surfaces with a variety of diameters. Some good, variable diameter perches can be bought from good pet shops or online. Alternatively you can make your own, using appropriate diameter fruit tree branches.

Avoid using sandpaper on perches as this can damage the sensitive part of your bird's feet.

If you think your bird’s nails are overgrown then ring and make an appointment with the vet to have them trimmed on 01254 53622


Beaks overgrow too. Often due to incorrect feeding (see out feeding pages for more information), vitamin imbalances (usually too little vitamin A) and little to play with.

Make sure you feed your bird a balanced pelleted diet such as Harrison’s bird food. Give your bird whole foods to play with and eat. Nuts with the shell still on for example are great for them to chew (and keep the beak healthy). Present food in novel forms - whole veg- apples,pears,broccoli, carrots.Food in hollowed out pieces of wood or suspended from thick ropes or closed chains.

Birds love breaking things. They enjoy pulling toys to pieces. The best toys are the ones they destroy.Be inventive! Chopsticks, the outside of pens, fruit tree branches, cotton reels, bought toys can all be pulled apart (and help to wear the beak down in the process).

If you think your bird’s beak needs a trim then please telephone us on  01254 53622 to make an appointment with the vet to have the beak clipped. Do not try it yourself as beaks nearly always bleed when they are cut.

John Davies MRCVS updated April 2014

Page updated 3rd Feb 2017, 12:21
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