Ask Lafeber


April 27, 2021

Nail trims

I’m trying to figure out how to hold a linnie to clip her nails, and it’s a nightmare. I need one hand to hold the squirmy bird, one to hold the foot, and one to hold the clippers.


Hi Laurie,

I know what you mean! It can be very hard to trim nails on your own, and it can be a danger to the bird. Large birds have suffered toe injuries and small birds have lost toes to clippers when they jerked the foot just as you start to clip the nail. You should always have a styptic powder on hand when doing your own trimming. It is really best to let an expert trim your birds. But if you have no other options, and nobody who can help, you have to be very careful not to squeeze the bird too tightly – a bird can smother if he can’t move his chest up and down, because of the way their lungs work. You can try to give the bird something to grip, like a perch – this can calm her and make it easier for you to clip a nail. Covering her face can calm her, but you have to be careful not to let her get too hot. Most nails get too sharp before they get too long. The grooming perches can help between trims, if you get the right size and place it in the right spot. You should never use a sandpaper perch or perch cover or any type of grooming perch with loose grit. You need the kind with a rough surface that does not crumble away. The size should be where the nails make contact when the bird grips it – so typically a size or two larger than the regular perches. Then you place it where the bird will use it to step up to another perch or a toy or a food cup. Never place it high where the bird might sleep on it, or anywhere that the bird would use it as a main perch. It can help keep the nails from getting sharp in between trims.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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