Ask Lafeber


June 4, 2017

Beak Too Long


Our Yellow-naped Amazon, Ian, is in need of a beak trim. Our Avian vet diagnosed him with liver disease and obesity. He would not trim his beak. He is being treated for the liver disease and seems to feel much better. I switched his diet to pellets and more fresh fruit and vegetables and got him off peanuts (his favorite food!) Would it harm the bird to trim his beak length? Thanks for your response,

Cathy in Florida


Hi Cathy,

Did you Vet give a reason for not wanting to trim the beak? Possibly he felt Ian was too obese to undergo the stress. To trim a beak on a parrot, generally a dremel tool is used. This can be stressful and in a bird with health problems, the stress could lead to death. It is not a good idea to try to trim it yourself. The beak has a vein and Ian could bleed to death if you trim it too short. The beak can also splinter if cut with a tool instead of being ground with a dremel.

Is your vet a specialist in Avian Medicine? If not, you might want to take Ian to a Vet who is board certified in Avian Medicine. Changing the diet was the right move, and most likely the beak overgrowth was due to a deficiency. This is very common. Once he is back to a good weight and healthy, his beak will improve. But the excess will still need to be ground off. An Avian specialist is the best option for working on the beak.

Pellets are a good start, however Ian really would improve with some foraging exercise, where he has to work more for his food. We have several foraging diets that are nutritionally balanced the same as pellets, but they contain whole ingredients instead of being ground up. You might want to try Ian on some of these diets. We also make a Veterinary diet for weight management, Nutri-An Cakes for Foraging and Weight Maintenance, which would be great for a bird like Ian. Your veterinarian can order these for you – have his office contact us at 800-842-6445.

Keep us updated on Ian’s progress. I love Amazons and am glad to hear that Ian is on his way to better health.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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