How to cut toenails of macaws

by Saubhagya

I've got a pair of greenwing macaws. One of them has learned to step up, but nowadays her nails have got too sharp. It hurts...My hand bleeds if she steps up... How can I safely coax her into getting her nails cut, given that she HATES repeat, HATES towels???

P.S. Can anyone recommend me a good method to try and get her used to moving around on my hand? As soon as I try to slowly move it, she gets off... Please help.

Thanks in advance!

Comments for How to cut toenails of macaws

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Aug 11, 2015
Trimming with a towel
by: Rosci

My Miltary Macaw is 24. I use nail clippers and a thin file. I assemble my equipment and towel in the bathroom. I bring Merlin in and I sit on the toilet and wrap Merlin. I pull one foot at a time, trim with the clippers, then file. Then the other foot. I have a perch in the shower so we shower next and by the time the shower is done he's over the trimming. I took him to a vet once and when she made her first cut the blood spirted from the nail. First and last time with that vet!

Aug 15, 2012
by: Raphael

I use a dremel tool . My B&G let's me without a flinch . I have done this every other week since he was apx 8 months old . I never have to wrap him . I trim his feathers with ease as well . You have to handle them every day to develope full
Trust .

Aug 08, 2012
Harley sits still
by: Big Daddy

My B&G Harley stands on my leg. I lift his leg and file his nails. I use a rough finger nail file and then finish with a fine file. He complains some but settles down. Your relationship doesn't have to be destroyed by using towels and such. Build a sense of trust with your baby and then move slowly. Get your bird to let you hold its little foot. Once you accomplish this, the nail trimming is no big deal. Good luck.

Feb 23, 2011
nail cutting
by: Anonymous

Reading these comments leads me to believe that most do not spend enough time handling their bird. I cut my B&G macaw's nails by myself without problem. You can only cut a very small amount at a time (without bleeding), so you need to do it often. Simply handle your bird like you are the boss and cut the nails. First time, you may be bit or scratched, but after a few times (without hurting your bird by cutting too deep), you will be able to do it without much problem.

Nov 07, 2010
trimming B&G's nails
by: Ron

I take my B&G to the vet and let them trim her nails&wings that way the vet is the bad guy not me,still my forearms are all scratched up thats part of living with a B&G

Nov 24, 2009
How to cut toenails of macaws
by: Linda

I second Maura's suggestion as cutting Macaw's nails is difficult even if the bird's are tame and trust you, and YES, you do have to wrap them in either a towel and/or sheet. You also would need a second person to hold the bird while you cut or visa versa.Holding sounds easy, and not with these larger birds. All bird's wings have to be held down for this type of work.

I would find an Avian vet in your area and take them both in for nail clipping. After you see it done, know what kind of tools to use and have styptic powder or pads on hand, you might could do them yourself. With birds who do not trust you yet, you need an Avian Vet's assistance with this. All birds have to be held wrapped in something to cut their nails and trim beaks if they need it. With birds this large, I'd suggest going to vet all the time for the clipping. No more than once every 4-5 months.While you have them at the vet's, let them also test for bacterial infection and/or parasites.

For your arms, you're going to need to get either some gauntlet gloves that come up your arms some or wrap your arms with a towel. You won't be able to get nails off short enough for them NOT to hurt you. Avian vet will just be able to take the points and a little bit extra off them, so as heavy as the Macaws are, your arms will always look scratched up without gauntlet gloves.Using a perch will also help here.

As for training your birds, first they have to trust you, and trust is earned not given freely. Keep working with them and allow them to get to know you.

Thanks for writing,

Nov 23, 2009
by: Maura

The BEST $12 I spend every month, month & half is the $12 I pay my vet to trim my parrots nails. They dislike her instead of me!

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