by Terri Koons
(Bullhead City, AZ)

My African gray is 16 years old and about 7 years ago he broke his beak with lots of blood, went to Vet, she trimmed it and he got over it just fine.
Now these years later his beak seems to grow very, very fast. We have to trim it just about every 3 weeks. It just seems to grow so long.
Question is- is there anything that can be done to stop the quick growing of the beak?

It is so traumatic to trim his beak, I am just hoping there is something permanent that can be done??

Thank you,

Terri Koons

Comments for beak

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Jul 23, 2015
Chronic beak overgrowth
by: The avian vet

Chronic beak overgrowth has a few causes. The most common causes are:

Malnutrition is a common cause. If your bird is eating an 80% pellet diet, then there would be no nutritional problems (unless vitamin supplements are given with pellets, and they should not).

Trauma is also a common cause. Given your birds history, this would be the most likely cause and potentially exacerbated by improper, excessive, or otherwise incorrect beak trimming. Birds have 17 synovial joints in their head (we have 2). All of these joints have muscles and ligaments the operate across the joints. If any of these muscles or nerves are damaged or a joint is mildly or severely dislocated, then the beak becomes maligned and the beak does not wear evenly. These conditions can sometimes be corrected with physical therapy, reconstructive beak repair, frequently recurring beak sculpting, and surgery. Your bird’s beak problem needs to be evaluated closely and establish a pattern and timing of overgrowth. Once the malignment has occurred, the longer it goes without regular management or curative repair, the worse it will become and the more difficult This would include radiographs (X-rays); blood work, physical exam, and cloacal Gram’s stain are also recommended to determine and overall health status and establish a normal values baseline.

Other causes include infrequent chewing, articles to chew that are made of materials insufficient to wear the beak; pain associated with inflammation or infection (for example with Bordetella); or congenital abnormality, which are somewhat common in treys, for example choanal atresia.

I do not know if your bird’s beak can be treated beyond regular trimming, but I am happy to assess him and propose a treatment plan. I have treated many beaks in many different ways and may be successful at curing the problem.

I realize that going in for a beak trim is stressful for him and the actual act is likely uncomfortable. Improper handling, improper trimming technique, such as removing only the overgrown porting and no focus given to the cause, then the beak is only going to get worse, as well as the stress. To have the beak nor or close to normal will require several visits and stress during the visit is the sacrifice needed for it to be a successful repair. The benefits of going in for treatments far outweighs the resulting stress. Consider if the beak is never treated and it grows and becomes worse and he is not able to eat for a period of time. Personally I think that is much more stressful and causes long term trauma, weight loss and other complications.

It is important to establish annual veterinary visits for health screens, check ups, and vaccinations. The benefits outweigh the stress.

A picture would be helpful ,but not diagnostic.

Dr B
(Health and pellet conversion articles can be found at this Parrot Training page link)
Greg Burkett DVM
Board Certified Avian Veterinarian
American Board of Veterinary Practitioners: 2002 – present -

Jul 19, 2015
Growing beak
by: Angela

I have a five year old Quaker parrot and her beak grows a lot. So much so, that I have to bring her to my avian vet every three or four months to have it trimmed. I don't dare do it myself because if it's cut too short it will bleed (much like our own fingernails).

I asked my vet what the cause could be. He ruled out any diseases and her food is adequate. He said she must have suffered some trauma to the beak at some point in her life. She was a rescue so I don't know exactly everything that happened to her in her previous home. Your bird breaking it's beak caused the trauma.

If you must do the trimming yourself, be careful.

Jul 18, 2015
Bird beak grows fast
by: Tracie

What is the bird's diet? Is it only eating 20% treats and 80% high quality pellets? Fatty liver disease will cause the beak to grow fast.

I have passed this on to Dr. B, but let us know what you feed your bird, because diet is a big player in your bird's health.

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