Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by Ali Shahid
Lovebirds possess delicacy with cuteness in their behavior and jolly nature. These birds are excellent companions to keep as pets. Taking care of lovebirds, especially in the grooming and nail trimming domain is a nerve-racking process.
Trimming the nails of lovebirds requires a proper understanding of the nail structure and trimming procedure. This is crucial if you’re new to this procedure and want to do it for the first time. Just like beak trimming, nail trimming must always be done with caution and proper training.
How to Trim Lovebirds Nails
Many exotic bird experts recommend visiting your nearby veterinarian if you don’t know how to do it. The vet will demonstrate to you the exact step-by-step procedure so your lovebird can have a hassle-free nail trimming experience.
As a veterinarian, I’ve encountered cases of bleeding and nail injuries due to negligence and inexperienced bird owners. That’s why it is very important that you should go through my comprehensive guide on how to trim the nails of lovebirds.
The Nail Structure of Lovebirds
Knowing the basic structure of a lovebird’s nails helps you to carry out the trimming process with great ease. The nail is a keratinized special structure that arises from a nail bed. Bird’s nails have a unique curve just like other animals to help them have a perfect grip on the objects.
The whole claw of the bird, also known as the talon, is a specialized modification of the epidermis at the end of the last phalanges. Due to their curvy and sharp nature, your lovebirds are able to scratch, clutch, and climb the cage fences.
The basic physiology of the animals and birds’ nails is just like that of humans. There is an outer hard layer known as the horny plate that is avascular in nature. Beneath this layer, there is a soft and very delicate vascular part known as nail quick.
The outer avascular part of the nail provides protection to the terminal portions of the bird’s fingers. The nail quick, on the other hand, supplies nutrients to the nail bed to maintain the growth of the nail plate.
The Recommended Procedure of Nail Trimming
Before diving into the correct know-how about how to trim the nails of your lovebirds, make sure to follow some important pre-requisites. I’ll guide you through an expert guide to clear out every step of the procedure.
Get Everything You Need
You need to set up our bird saloon before letting your lovebirds out of the cage. It is important not to run for the basic things with your pet in hand. There are some basic necessary items you must make sure to have on the spot.
You’ll need two towels, a trash can, a good flashlight, and lovebird treats. Besides, make sure to invest in a good quality tail clipper to avoid any trimming and cutting issues. It is ideal to have some clotting or styptic powder ready to deal with accidental emergencies.
Now set one towel at your trimming station evenly with all the mentioned tools. Make sure all the tools are accessible and easy to reach from your working hand distance. Although lovebirds don’t spread too much mess and are easier to deal with, it is still important to be on the safer side.
Prepare Your Lovebird
After setting up your workstation, it is now time to get your lovebird out of the cage. These birds are very naïve and can be easily frightened by the grooming procedure. This is where the delicious bird treats come in handy when the situation starts getting freaky.
Handle the lovebird gently in your hands or if resistance is shown, you can quickly wrap him/her in the towel. The towel will provide adequate restraint during the grooming process and prevent your pet from getting accidental injuries due to vigorous movements.
Handle the Bird with Care
It is ideal to have another person on your side handing you the instruments at the exact time. Holding your bird and letting him accommodate during the procedure can be made less cumbersome by providing ample comfort.
A towel is of utmost help in maintaining the grip on your lovebird and making him/her comfortable at the same time. If your lovebird starts agitating or irritating, leave him/her in the cage for a couple of minutes and offer the treats.
Sometimes, the lovebird will adopt the fight t or flight behavior when you hold in the towel or by hand. In that respect, you need to make the bird adapt to the towel grip by gently holding him/her inside the towel before starting the process.
Start the Trimming Process
This is the most important part of the procedure. Doing anything wrong or contrary to the recommended guidelines can put your bird in severe pain and injury. After lining the claw of the bird in the right trimming procedure, get the work started by raising the toe gradually.
Make sure you are aware of the cutting angle and amount of the nail cut. The nail quick is richly supplied with blood capillaries. If you pay attention to the nail, you’ll notice a slight pinkish outline beginning almost from the center of the nail.
I recommend you to not get your nail clipper beyond the point of the nail quickly. Accidentally cutting that part will cause severe bleeding and pain in the toe. It is ideal to only cut the sharp tips of the nails by avoiding the nail quickly altogether.
Your lovebirds may not have a transparent nail appearance and rather have much darker nails. In this case, it is quite cumbersome to find the nail quick or the sensitive nail portions. It is advisable to cut the nail tip in tiny bits to know if there is a nail quick present just after the cut portions.
You can also make use of the filer if you are hesitant to clip the nails properly. Using filer to rasp the front of the cut portions can save you from the trouble of getting an accidental nail quick injury. I recommend you have the styptic powder ready for any kind of emergency.
Handling the Accidental Bleeding & Pain
Accidents can happen to the best of us. You must not panic if the trimming procedure goes beyond the recommended nail limits. If there is an accidental cut on the nail quickly, there is a very high possibility of bleeding.
If you notice any sign of blood oozing out of the sensitive nail portion, stop the process immediately and apply firm pressure on the site. Quickly apply the styptic powder over the bleeding region and clean up the blood from the surrounding area.
You must stop the trimming altogether or it will cause considerable stress on the bird in pain. Save the rest of the trimming for another day and try to calm the lovebird in your hands. Monitor the wound from time to time for bleeding status.
Praise the Lovebird with Treats & Love
If you completed the trimming process without any complications, then congratulations! You’ve done quite a professional job. To make your pet feel less stressed, you should offer him another dose of bird treat before putting him/her back into the cage.
In my opinion, you should also spend some time with the bird and give gentle head rubs and cuddles. Your lovebird will definitely love these loving cuddles after the grooming session. Make sure to regularly monitor the general wellness and nail conditions of your lovebirds in a routine fashion.
Know When to Take Your Lovebirds to a Vet
A qualified veterinarian is always needed when things go out of hand. Whether it is the accidental bleeding or the pain induced by the clippers, you must always have a vet’s contact on the dial pad.
You also need to contact or visit an exotic animal veterinarian in case of continuous blood loss that won’t stop by the styptic or clotting powder. The vet will thoroughly examine the wound to apply the best possible hemostatic treatment on the spot.
You can also get well-experienced demos and instructions about how to properly trim the nails of lovebirds. If you’re new to nail trimming, you must book a consultation with a vet before jumping into the procedure.
For the utmost care and wellbeing, grooming is a necessary process your lovebirds must go through. Apart from the beak and feather grooming, nail trimming is another important aspect every bird owner should focus on.
Through proper knowledge about the recommended nail trimming procedure, your lovebirds can have an awesome grooming experience. Make sure to take care of the sensitive nail portions and cut like the above-mentioned guidelines.
With that being said, take great care of our pet lovebirds and offer them quality foods and treats for their health. Make them stress-free by providing ample care so that they can have a jolly and playful life with lesser illness chances.
Can I use human nail clippers to trim lovebirds’ nails?
It is ideal to use high-quality bird nail clippers in ideal settings. However, a human nail clipper can also be used. Make sure to follow the cutting guidelines and position the clipper in the correct way before trimming the nails of lovebirds.
What is the frequency of repeating the nail trimming procedure in lovebirds?
Most exotic bird experts recommend repeating the trimming process once a month. However, you can also decide the frequency of nail trimming based on the growth of the nails. If your birdie like to spend time on your shoulders or on perches, trim once per two weeks.
Can I use sandpaper to file down or trim the nails of lovebirds?
Fine sandpaper has a very gritty texture and should not be used to trim or file down the nails of lovebirds. This material may reach the nail quickly and lacerate the sensitive nail part in an instant when used in an abrupt manner leading to bleeding and pain.
Can cornstarch help in controlling the accidental bleeding from the nail of lovebirds?
If you don’t have access to clotting or styptic powder, you can use cornstarch to temporarily stop the bleeding. Make sure the cornstarch is fresh and should not be applied for longer intervals of time. I recommend you arrange styptic powder as soon as possible before the trimming process.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.