Why should you have your bird groomed regularly?
In nature, birds instinctively groom themselves. They use nature to shave down their nails and beaks to be able to eat and stand appropriately. However, domesticated birds rarely have the ability to learn this. You may be thinking, "That's okay, I'll just put these sandpaper perches in my feathered friend's cage to help with grooming!" While these items are designed to simulate natural grooming items, they do so poorly, and often cause damage to the soft part of your birdie's feet. Our recommendation with these perches is 1 week in the cage and 3 weeks out to prevent foot sores.
With long nails your bird may begin to experience balance issues. They will not be able to grip their perches as they should. Long nails are also a hazard for the bars of their cage, toys, etc. They are more susceptible to get tangled in toys or grates and cause injury or death. So even if you learn to tolerate their killer claws, it is not always what is best for the bird. If the bird is left with overgrown nails for too long, the feet can become displaced. The bones will learn and adapt to the new form and cause permanent deformation of the toes and feet. This is very uncomfortable for your bird.
Beak health is also extremely important for your pet. As mentioned above, domesticated birds do not have the tools of nature to shave down their sharp beaks which can lead to difficulty eating with the overgrown pointy tips. Beak grooming is not recommended simply due to fear of being bitten, but more for the health and wellness of the bird. Beak molting is the same as their feathers, and this process is itchy and uncomfortable. Sometimes, using a groomer to round out the molting beak and apply moisturizer can help your bird from rubbing their beaks on their cage and perches. Continuous rubbing can cause a muscular reform in their beaks, causing a condition called "scissor beak". Scissor beak is when the beak (usually the under beak) overgrows and shifts the muscles in the jaw one way or another. This is a painful process, and incurable, once your bird has it. This will also result in grooming more often to maintain the shifting and to regulate pain and discomfort for your bird. We always recommend a quick beak trim during your grooming visits, even if you feel it is unnecessary. If your bird suffers from neurological injuries or conditions, please advise your groomer prior to services being performed so they can use the proper training to assess your birds condition, as beak trimmings can cause these conditions to trigger.
Clipping of the wings. This is a highly debated topic in the bird community. Should I clip my birds wings? Birds are meant to fly, why take it away!?
We clip our store birds for their own safety. With how many people, other birds and surroundings we have in our store, a free-flying bird can land somewhere dangerous. Also, birds cannot see through glass, so a free flying bird may see a window as freedom and strike the window fatally. We have heard many stories about birds making their escape within split seconds of a door being opened. Also, if you are outside there are many overhead predators that you may not notice. It only takes a few seconds for your bird to flutter away, even if trained to do so responsibly, and can be snatched up by these predators.
In addition to the dangers of having free flight, studies have shown that birds that have the freedom to fly can exhibit behaviors that are not desirable. Birds that have freedom to fly away whenever they want, will have that same attitude towards their owners. They can become aggressive, use flying as a way to escape a command and more. If your bird is a responsible flyer (knows how to guide itself and does not show behavior issues) then we do not pressure you to clip wings. But this should be discussed with your groomer prior to services beginning.
Groomers are trained to properly clip wings which allows your bird a steady glide to the floor. This prevents injury during the landing and still gives the ability to use their wings. Birds with history of broken wings or other conditions(such as balance), should be considered to be kept fully feathered.