How to Clip a Green Cheek Conure's Nails

Many parrot owners find themselves asking how to clip a green cheek conure's nails without hurting them. A green cheek conure's nails consist of a keratin coating, and the nail's quick, which supplies blood to the nail. 

This is similar to the nails of dogs and cat claws - all these pets have the outer keratin, and inner blood supply of the nail quick.

Bird Nails are Unique

Unlike pet dog nails or cat claws, bird nails are very different. Bird nails grow at a rate of 1/2 inch a year. This nail growth rate might seem slow, but conure nails grow fast considering the bird's size. Also unlike pet dogs or cats, a green cheek conure's nails have to be kept trim.

Why Should I Clip my Green Cheek Conure's Nails?

A green cheek conure with overgrown nails can snag the overgrown nails in a toy loop, causing serious injury. Green cheek conures can also scratch their owners or themselves with overgrown nails, causing damage. To prevent overgrowth snagging on a toy or scratching, owners should provide either nail-trimming perches, or clip a green cheek conure's nails often - at least once a week.

How to Clip a Green Cheek Conure's Nails Easily

Depending on the behavior of your bird, the nail trimming process can be quick and painless, or make them scared. First, grab your green cheek conure in a towel. Toweling a green cheek conure is the easiest way to cut a nails.

Putting a green cheek in a towel prevents injury and helps them not to be scared - a bird in a towel is a secure bird, and can't pull their nails away at the last minute, causing you to cut their toe.

Next, firmly grip the green cheek conure's toenail. This might not be easy, even if you have the bird in a towel, since they will pull their toe away. But try to towel the green cheek conure upside down, with the toes facing the ceiling. Secure the green cheek's toenail between your thumb and index finger.

Finally, before clipping a green cheek conure's nails, find where is the quick. The bird's quick is in the middle of their toe, and carries the nail's blood supply - don't cut it! Holding the toe and nail up to the light, find the quick - the quick will be pink or red, and the nail's keratin is clear.

How to Clip Clear Nails

Most green cheek conures have clear or light pink nails, making the cutting very easy. Simply secure the toe in your fingers, the bird in the towel, and cut the nails with a toenail clipper, sanitized with alcohol of course. A human toenail clipper works on a bird very well

How do I Find the Quick With a Black Nailed Bird?

It's true, some birds have black nails, which makes seeing the nail quick impossible. For clipping a green cheek conure's nails that are black, clip a tiny bit at a time.

Clipping just a little bit of a black nail is better than taking off a large chunk, making the bird bleed. Take off a little bit of the black nail, or have a professional vet or bird groomer clip the green cheek's nails. If your bird has black nails, it's better safe than having your bird bleed from an open quick.

My Green Cheek Conure's Nails are Bleeding, Now What?

If you cut your green cheek conure's nails too far, their nails will bleed a lot. The bleeding nails look scary, but the blood loss is not serious, if stopped right away. To stop their nails from bleeding after a cut quick, apply flour to the cut nail or a product called Quick Stop.

Quick stop is a yellow powder that works the same as flour for bleeding bird nails - it clots the blood, making the bleeding wound heal quicker. If you cut the nail of your green cheek conure too far, take a pinch of flour or Quick Stop bleeding powder, and rub it onto the open quick.

Nail Trimming Perches

Some green cheek conures freak out or get scared or traumatized when toweling them for a nail cut. You can still keep your green cheek conure's nails trim without cutting them. Without cutting the nails, you can give your green cheek conure a concrete or Manzanita wood perch. A concrete perch to keep nails trim works because concrete is rough - but the concrete won't hurt the bird's toes.

With or without cutting, with clear nails or black nails that require a bird groomer's trim, there are many ways to clip a green cheek conure's nails without traumatizing them. Even if your green cheek conure is scared of toweling or nail clipping, they will thank you in the long run by not scratching themselves with sharp nails, or getting their overgrown toes caught in a toy.

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