Posted:9/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
Companion animals benefit greatly by living with humans….. It
has been proven, life expectancy of a
domestic cat living in the wild is less than one year yet exceeds 15years as a
companion. The life span of an Amazon Parrot in the wild is less than 10 years
but can exceed 50 years as a companion. With the joys of living with feathered
pets, comes the responsibility of making sure we help them in achieving their
maximum life expectancy. One of the ways
we do this is by keeping them properly groomed. Wing trimming, beak and toe
maintenance are essential in helping to keep them healthy and safe.
When one of us sells a baby to a new family, more often than
not we hear “we want our bird to fly free” or “does it hurt?” or “why do we
have to clip the wings?” Here are some of our reasons for insisting on feather
grooming……..It doesn’t hurt any more than getting your hair cut………it doesn’t
take away the birds’ ability to fly, it just keeps them from gaining altitude……it
helps to keep them from flying into a ceiling fan….it helps to keep them from
flying out of the door…..drowning in the sink or toilet…..getting burned on or
around the stove and hot foods…..it helps to keep them from getting stepped
on…..sat on….or used as a play toy for your dogs and cats…..it helps to keep
them from flying into windows and mirrors and breaking their necks……and the
list goes on and on…….
People think nothing of leashing their dogs or putting a fence
around the yard or providing a run for them. Spaying or neutering a dog or cat
doesn’t inhibit its’ “true nature”. But the thought of trimming their bird’s
wings appalls them! Go figure…..
We normally trim the first five flight feathers on a bird…..this
is dependent on the weight and muscle tone. Heavy bodied birds usually do not
require additional feather clipping……birds that have been allowed free flight
usually need additional feathers clipped. How often this needs to be done
depends on the new feather growth, so visual checking is necessary……usually
every three to four months is an average.
Because of the physical structure of a bird’s foot…. two
toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward, it must be able to open
its foot completely to be able to climb around on the cage. If the nails grow
too long, your bird may not be able to climb from place to place in its
cage……..If your bird would become frightened and not be able to get loose from
the bars, a leg or toe could be broken, or a toenail could get pulled from the
nail bed. Super long toenails can also get caught in toys causing injury. Also,
having your bird professionally groomed provides an opportunity for the groomer
to check the condition of your bird’s general foot health.
Beaks need attention as well as the aforementioned. This is
something you should not attend to yourself…..only a professional Groomer or a
Veterinarian should maintain the beak. Normally, your bird maintain the beak
itself….You may periodically notice your bird rubbing its beak on a perch or
possibly the bars of the cage….This is positive because he is keeping his beak
in good repair. Sometimes you might notice a “peeling look” on the beak, this
is quite normal. I equate this with how our fingernails can slough off
sometimes. A beak that is unusually
overgrown or soft often needs Veterinary attention. Most often an overgrown
beak indicates a nutritional issue. For some birds, a longer than normal beak
is just the way God made them.
Paula and Beth do an excellent job as our
Groomers. They have many years of experience and are well able to evaluate the
wellbeing of your bird as well as being acutely aware of your bird’s demeanor
when brought in for grooming. Some birds are very stressed and/or frightened
when brought to us …..Most birds do extremely well when groomed, but some have
a few issues. Paula and Beth pay very close attention to these signs and
sometimes have to forego grooming until the bird is calmer. In a few severe
cases, they will recommend a Vet be the one to complete the grooming. This is
rare but can occur. Birds that are regularly groomed normally have no problems.
Our entire grooming process is quick, efficient and done with the comfort and
security of the bird as the top priority.