Grooming and Caring for Your Bird
One of the most neglected parts we find with people and their Bird Ownership is by far, grooming and feather maintenance.
Wild Birds naturally take care of their own grooming needs, of course with your pet bird they are going to need a bit of assistance form you to keep themselves, preen and healthy. With larger birds, especially those of the parrot variety it is very important to keep both their housing and plumage in good clean condition. This will drastically reduce the risks from outbreaks from disease or infestation.
Preening is the system thru which Birds will keep their feathers in good condition naturally or more correctly by themselves. Preening is a process where a bird will smooth out their feathers by running each of their feathers through their beak and “zipping” the sections on the feather closed. This is a very important natural process and help maintain feather condition.
Grooming your Bird is a multi faceted task which they will need your assistance with regularly. It the wild Birds will use natural systems and tools within their reach to maintain their grooming needs. This will involve using natural means to manage their beaks, claws and most importantly bathing of their Plumage.
The whole process of holistic bird grooming involves trimming of wings, claws and beaks, as well as bathing. See this brief video for a good outline of important things to consider.
Trimming of Wings
Trimming of your bird’s wings is a very important part of the grooming process, the reason being that it ensures the safety of your bird, especially when they are being housed indoors and within cage systems. The birds wings should both have their flight feathers trimmed which will result in an even, controlled descent to the floor for the animal. Trimming the flight feather of your bird is not in anyway painful for the bird and if done correctly should not alter the appearance of your bird. The reason this process does not cause any pain for your bird is because their feathers are made form the same material as our fingernails, and do not contain any nerve endings to cause any discomfort.
Before you begin trimming your bird’s wings visit your local veterinarian and he/she will demonstrate exactly how it should be done. It is important to remember that your scissors must always point away from the body of the bird. Also ensure that the person handling the bird does so carefully.
Beak and Claw Trimming
The next aspect to consider in bird grooming is that of beak and claw clipping. In the wild the beak and claws would naturally be worn down. Unfortunately birds in captivity are unable to do this.
If clipping is not done the claws and beak will grow too long and the beak may become chipped or damaged. Avoid the use of sandpaper perch covers to shorten nails as these will damage the soles of the bird’s feet. The tools for clipping a small bird’s claws are nail clippers, an emery board and styptic powder (stops bleeding). Larger bird’s require a rotating grind stone.
Clippers like those pictured below are perfect for use with your Birds Claws.
A Veterinarian should trim your bird’s beak. When trimming your bird’s nails have the styptic powder or some corn flour nearby in case of bleeding. Should any bleeding occur it is vital to take your bird to your Veterinarian.
Bathing your bird is also important when it comes to grooming birds. This can be done by providing the bird with a suitable container of water in which to bathe, however water can quickly become soiled and negate the positive benefits of bathing. Alternatively you can spray the bird with a light mist of water. Commercial sprays for bathing are unnecessary. Bathing can take place daily or when convenient. Bird’s must be allowed to air dry, preferably in a warm room or sunlight. Whilst a hairdryer may be used, care must be taken not to burn your bird. Grooming of birds is important to keep them in good health, and also brings you the pleasure of seeing your bird in beautiful condition.
With all that in mind, one of the most effective ways of bathing your bird is actually to simple have them shower with you or utilize your shower system. Bird don't mind getting wet and the flowing water will allow them to wash away any mites or other dirt they have picked up in their plumage. Here at Fur Festival we actually have a great little product that is perfect for this with a suction cup shower perch that can be added into your shower for your bird to use when they need bathing. It folds away so as not to take up too much space and using suction cups means that it will not damage anything or need a special installation. Actually we have had many customers also use the perch on their windows so that it doubles as a movable perch for their Bird to sun themselves and be able to follow the sun throughout the day.
Caring for your feathered friend is one of the most rewarding and fun experiences you can have and they will adore you for taking the time to do it correctly and regularly. Make sure to get a good pair of Pet Nail Clippers and a Shower Perch and keeping up will be a breeze.