Ask Lafeber


April 10, 2019

Macaw’s Nails

How often should you cut a Scarlet Macaw’s nails?


Hi OJ,

Generally a pet bird’s nails get too sharp before they actually get too long. There are ways to help keep the nails from getting as sharp such as having a variety of different size natural branches. They also make grooming perches which work very well. These are made of a concrete type material. I am not recommending the kind that have sandpaper attached or any type of gravel or sand that can come loose. You want to look for the kind that are rough but solid – no loose gravel. Also, you do not want it to be the bird’s primary perch – put it where the bird will use it to get to another perch. These perches work best after a nail trim and if the bird uses it, the nails will generally not get really sharp like they do without this type of perch. Some bird owner’s get their bird’s nails trimmed slightly about once a month. This can minimize bleeding because regular trimming keeps the vein from growing to the end of the nail. As far as need – if it is a breeding bird, maybe twice a year. But bird’s nails grow at different rates so it is best to know what is normal for your bird and take him in when the nails get too sharp or too long. Just be careful of anyone wanting to cut the nails back too short – this will affect the bird’s balance and make him insecure.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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