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Dear Parrots magazine,

Nail clipping

It should not be surprising that birds in cages, or free in a house, will not normally have an opportunity to keep their claws down. My African Grey doesn't get much of a chance to walk or hold onto an abrasive surface, so her claws had grown quite long.

They had to be clipped shorter so thought I would do it myself. Also there is a financial cost to consider as vets don't come cheap! In order to do this, I purchased some nail clippers from my local pet store.

The first challenge I faced was to restrain the bird and this was to prove the most difficult part of the whole procedure. I had read and seen people doing this by using a towel to control the bird, I have to say that this did work well and after a few attempts, my husband and I managed to hold the bird without too much stress affecting it.

This is not as bad as I thought and went on to clip the claws. The clipper I bought did work well but on the second foot, perhaps I got a little to confident and cut the claw too short with the inevitable result that it bled, and bled quite profusely.

This was when panic set in but husband is very calm by nature and went about trying to stop the bleeding. We tried cold water and just holding it but it wouldn't stop. We were about to phone an avian vet when husband had a brainwave. He managed to get a pinch of flour from the kitchen and applied to the bleeding claw. Although the bleeding eventually stopped, it did start up again once the bird was back in its cage. But although it dripped a bit, it did eventually stop altogether.

I thought I would write in case other owners are thinking about doing the same. I think it can be easily done with some advanced thought and can avoid stressful journeys to the vets. But if you do decide to carry out this task, only do it if you are confident. We do it all the time now and have learnt how far to go - and no more bleeding.

Beatrice Fletcher, Aylesbury




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