It may be necessary to clip a bird's nails if they become too long. The nails might get caught in something, resulting in injury to the bird. I use regular nail clippers to do the job, taking off a little at a time. Try not to cut the blood vessel that runs down the center of the nail. Called the "quick", it can be seen in birds with light nails, but in those with dark nails carefully clip only a little at a time. If nails do bleed, dab flour or cornstarch on the end of the nail to stop the bleeding. There is also a commercial product called Quick Stop that is made for this purpose.
If the nails are very sharp (but not necessarily long, as is often the case with babies) it may become painful to handle the bird. In this case, you can usually blunt the tips of the nails by clipping only the very tip, trying to modify shape rather than length. It may also be possible to use a nail file to accomplish the same thing by blunting the very ends.
If you've tried to clip nails and found it to be a battle of wills, you may prefer to let the vet or groomer be the "bad guy". Some birds, especially the larger ones, often hold grudges.
Many of the smaller birds love baths. I don't think any bird enjoys a bath as much as society finches. They jump in and splash around with abandon, kind of like little kids in a mud puddle. When they're through, they're absolutely soaked! Their wings droop down and they look like wet rats.
My cockatiels do not bathe, but I know of some that take a shower under a dripping faucet. Some enjoy hopping in the shower, with or without their owner, and still others enjoy a misting from a clean spray bottle.
If your birds take a bath, great. Be sure to give it early enough in the day so the bird doesn't go to bed damp. If you've tried everything and your bird still doesn't want any part of it, don't push it.
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Anita M. Golden
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