Beak problems in a Cockatiel

by Angela Wright
(Oxfordshire, UK)

We have owned a grey cockatiel for about 8 years and his beak has alway been abnormal in that the lower beak grows up over his upper beak. He manages to sort this problem out himself and manages to break one side and then the other. Unfortunately he will not let you handle him.

Recently I have noticed that it is now his upper beak that is giving a problem. It seems to me to have enlarged and he has trouble eating food apart from soft toast and his seed. Trying to look at his beak it would appear to be growing in. Last night it appeared to be rather sensitive as he was going down his cage to the bottom to feed.

He is about 18 years old and was acquired by us from someone who no longer wanted him.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Comments for Beak problems in a Cockatiel

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May 29, 2014
by: Anonymous

My cockatiel's beak seems to be growing into his throat.
Now I am worried that I should be doing something about this. He still eats and drinks water OK. Any advice?

Editor's comments: Yes, take your bird to an avian vet. Your bird needs a beak trim and likely has fatty liver disease from eating seeds instead of pellets.

Mar 09, 2013
Beak tip broken off.
by: Just Cuz

The tip of my cockatiels beak broke off. There is no bleeding, doesn't seem to be any pain plus he is still eating seeds. He cleans his feathers with it and still uses his beak to climb around his cage without hesitation. I believe it bothers me more than him but I am still worried and I do not have much money to take to the vet here in town.(Our small town vet is very expensive because there is no other vet around). Should I wait and see if it will grow back or take to the vet?

Editor's note: If you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, on our Parrot Questions page.

Jul 12, 2012
Beak problem and Avian Vet
by: Anonymous

My cockatiel's lower left beak was growing up into a spike, so I took him to an "Avian" vet. The vet took the electric grinder to his beak and "accidentally" grinded not only the spike, but also the whole left side of his lower beak to the point of hitting flesh. Needless to say, I was not happy, and neither was my cockatiel. I haven't dared take him back to the vet since, but his beak is now getting worse. His whole lower beak is now having problems. I don't know what to do because there isn't another avian vet in the area that I trust. Any suggestions?

Editor's note: Link: Find an Avian Vet Maybe our link will help you find someone else. An certified avian vet would not do that. Your bird likely has fatty liver disease or some other problem causing the abnormal beak growth and likely needs more help than beak grinding.

In the future if you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, on our Parrot Questions page.

Feb 05, 2012
cockatiel beak issues
by: Bwright

my parents have a 15 year old grey cockatiel, he is semi tame and where he has no fear of humans certainly doesn't like to be handled on any other terms than his own. over the past year i have noticed his lower beak growing abnormally with the left side of his jaw growing out and over his top. for years i bred cockatiels and have found that is easily dealt with with a little light trimming (a beak is much like a toe nail as only the base has nerves a good indication on greys is where the beak is still grey leave it alone) be gentle and only take it down mm at a time over a period of weeks so not to cause to much distress to the bird and once reaching a certain point the bird will be able to take control and fix it theirself. with such aids as cuttle fish, iodine blocks and a sand paper perch cover (only one though)I have heard of people using miniature grinders and engraving tools to do this and find it barbaric as this will cause dangerous amounts of stress in an old bird. however one thing u must consider is that an over grown beak especially in older birds can be indicative of underlying health issues mainly liver so all aspects of your birds health should be taken into account i.e. chirpieness, appetite, flight, and so forth any significant change in your birds behavior should be taken as a warning. I will monitor this page and try to help answer any questions and if uyou know better than me I would find it invaluable for you to add your knowledge in order to help others

Jul 08, 2010
Cockatiel beak problem!
by: Rich Parsons

Hi Bertie is nearly 15 years old and his beak is beginning to grow faster and overlaps at times.

We bath him for 20 mins in luke warm water, leave him to calm, then wrap him up in a towel, leaving his head exposed. Then we brave the pecking and squarking and just make tiny clips with nail trimmers to the affected areas. He doesnt like it but he knows it for his own good and he knows he can eat and drink properly once its done so its a win-win. We also repeat this for his nails.
Cuttlefish and perch sanding covers also help.

Doing this routine keeps the bird in his home surroudings and saves up to 70- 80 GBP at the vets.

He is getting old now and his flight is weaker but he is by far the greatest most loving pet we have had.

Jun 23, 2010
broken toenail
by: Anonymous

My cockatiel Mox has a broken nail and i dont know what to do.Everytime i try helping him fix it, he digs his face in my hand as if to close his eyes because of the pain.He is on my shoulder right now snd acts fine all the time.But im still concerned.

Jun 12, 2010
beak broke off
by: Anonymous

I have a cockatiel who has broken his top beak off he seems ok but I don't think he has eaten since what could I give him to eat.

Editor's note: Take your bird to an avian vet ASAP. Please post questions as a new question in the future so that others will see and answer your question. You posted your question as a response to another question.

Mar 31, 2010
by: stefani

i have a 3 year old cockatiel. He seems very healthy to me. i have two other cockatiels too. Mickey, my three year old chews very diffrent from the others. he is also the fattsts! i dont no if there is something wrong with him or not! he is also very frightened to be near anyone besides the other birds!

Feb 06, 2010
by: Rosie

harveys lower left side beak is overgrowing

Oct 07, 2009
Beak problem
by: Linda

Yes, as Tracie said, you must take your bird into an Avian vet immediately to find out what problem is and to start trimming beak down some.

The other thing is that an Avian Vet trimming beaks every now and then is part of parrot grooming. You cannot trim a bird's beak as it can cause bleeding out and death. A trained Avian vet must do it, and now that this problem has been let go so long, this process is going to take a great deal of time.

The Avian vet will only be able to take off a little at a time until beak is back to normal. As Tracie said, there could be a problem inside bird that is causing this to some degree, and we have to take our Amazons in every 4-6 months where vet will trim toenails and take a little nip off their beaks as well. They trim the sharp point off the upper mandible as the lower does not seem to overgrow.

At any rate, we wish you God's Speed in getting your little bird back on track whatever is wrong.

Let us know what vet says and do look into changing your bird over to a high quality, organic pellet like Harrison's Birds also need not eat "people" food as most people food is full of salt, sugar and fat. Feed birds bird food and a high quality one at that, and they will stay healthy. Taking birds to Avian vet at least once a year for a checkup and blood workup is highly recommended. It is during these checkups where problems like this one with bird's beak can be dealt with before it becomes as serious as it has become.


Oct 07, 2009
overgrown beak on Cockatiel
by: Tracie

Dr B can not help, because your bird needs to be physically examined and probably some blood tests done.

It sounds like your bird is not getting the proper nutrition and may have fatty liver disease from eating too many seeds instead of healthy pellets like Harrison's.

Please take your bird soon to an avian vet for help. The vet will be able to safely trim the beak and hopefully treat the problem that is causing the beak to be overgrown.

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