Thursday, November 11, 2021

Gnarly Toes

My bird Marco has grown some long, sharp, out of control dinosaur claws lately. They hurt when he flies to you and lands on bare skin, like around the neck and shoulder area. What's even worse is that the nails are so long that they're starting to interfere with his ability to perch easily. Something has to be done.

I've been afraid to trim his nails. The old man I got Marco from as a baby, a breeder with a lot of experience with several species of parrots, once told me a story about another parrot breeder he knew that made a bad mistake with his personal pet. Somehow the bird had a bleeding toe---I can't remember for sure if it was a toenail, but I think it was--and he wasn't as diligent as he should have been to make sure the bleeding had stopped. A tiny bit of blood kept slowly welling up all night, apparently, and the next morning the bird was dead. Moral of the story: birds don't have a whole lot of blood reserves, so any bleeding, no matter how seemingly slight, is a deadly serious matter.

Fast forward 14 years, and I'm terrified of trimming my bird's nails. I've developed a phobia that I'll cut too far and make him bleed, and aside from not wanting to hurt or traumatize him, bleeding in birds scares me.

Luckily, my plucky friend Martina is willing to do it for me! She a head technician at a veterinarian's office, has loads of experience with this kind of situation, and has all the tools to do a good job (mainly good cat-nail trimmers and styptic powder). All I'll have to do is hold Marco wrapped securely in a dishtowel while she starts the process of getting these gnarly dinosaur toenails under control! It's going to take a few weeks, and we'll have to start with just little bits to get the quick to recede, but I'm so grateful to have her help with it. I picked up a bottle of wine and some snacks to share after she's done tonight.

Wish us luck!



21 comments:

  1. Thank goodness for Martina! I always had the vet trim HRH's nails. She was always very docile at the vet's, unlike at home.

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  2. Those are some nails! Maybe she can dab them with a little color when she's finished.

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  3. Good Luck ! He has to be part Dinosaur !

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  4. I understand your fear about cutting them! Thank goodness you know someone that can do it for you. I always dread cutting my cats claws. We did it today and I'm hoping it will last a bit. It takes two of us, a towel to wrap them in and treats as a reward!

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  5. Phew! Good job you have a friend who can do this - I wouldn't be able to do it, either. My cats never needed their claws trimmed, as they were always outdoor cats who had plenty of opportunity to scratch on trees etc., but I understand it is a very different matter with birds.
    Enjoy your wine and snacks afterwards, and I hope Marco will forgive the two of you!

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  6. Wow. You aren’t kidding. Those nails sure are gnarly. We had a hand-reared (we reared him) yellow-naped Amazon parrot. We were also afraid to clip his nails, so we used an emery board on them regularly. It worked well, but he whined the entire time we did it. If he could, he’d grab the emery board in his beak and throw it on the floor. Good luck!

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  7. I hope that you can enjoy your wine unscathed..hold on tight to that dishtowel! Good luck.

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  8. Best of luck - waiting to hear the outcome.

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  9. Update: all is well! We only trimmed a tiny bit, and we plan to repeat the process in two weeks. Marco growled inside of the towel we wrapped him in, but I don't think he noticed what we had done to his nails. He was content to get some tortilla chips as a reward afterwards!

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  10. So glad to hear it all went well! I wouldn't even know where to begin trimming a bird's claws. We haven't even had to trim Olga's nails up to now because her walks wear them down -- but she's walking less these days so I suspect a trim will become necessary in the future.

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  11. Best to always leave that stuff to a professional. I didn't know that about birds, though, the blond thing.
    Carlos used to work in a vet's office and he always trims our pets nails. I never would.

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  12. Yow! A Pterodactyl incarnate !

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  13. Mission Impossible has become Mission Accomplished! Well done! By the way, I never realised that parrots could growl... or perhaps that's something that only Marco can do!

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    1. He growls like a demon when something makes him mad. I'll have to film him when he's mad one day to let you hear it!

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    2. I guess you taught him to growl. Instead of saying over and over, "Who's a pretty boy?" you and Gregg must have loitered by his cage saying "Grrrrrrrr!".

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  14. I actually was trying to imagine a growling angry parrot as well. I'll look forward to the video.

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  15. Those are some very long nails. I allowed Franklin and Penelope's nails to get too long and was very afraid of cutting them (I had never done it before; my son always clipped their nails). So I clipped a tiny bit from the ends and when they went to the vet for their check-ups, he cut them properly. Now I'm keeping them under control without any problems so far. Of course, they aren't going to die if I cut too far.

    Love,
    Janie

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  16. Sometimes our rooster's spurs get so long that they interfere with their walking and I KNOW I should trim them but I am honestly afraid to. I need a friend who knows how.

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  17. yeah, I never tried to trim my birds nails ..ever..

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  18. I won't trim my cat's nails either; she would eviscerate me.

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