Should I Trim My Bourkes Parakeets Beak and Nails?

Should I Trim My Bourkes Parakeets Beak and Nails?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Mary asks

First I want to say I love your Birdie Brunch Newsletter because I can scroll through it quickly, pick out the articles I want to read, and just view those.

It’s one of only 2 newsletters I actually look at in my email!

So I have a question about beak and nail trimming.

I have Bourke Parakeets (2 males: Marvin and Lyndon.)


They were both rescues and neither are hand tamed.

I’ve had them for several years (like 12 and 6 years respectively – their ages unknown.)

They never appeared to have an issue with long nails or beak before but recently they seem to appear as might need to be trimmed.

I’ve assisted in doing this as a child with our Budgies but never did it on my own, and my guys do bite when handled!

So do you think I should attempt to do this on my own, or take them to the vet to do?

I know both will cause them tons of stress.


If I take them to the vet I will wait until late spring as I live in PA and right now it is waaayyyy too cold!

Also, if you could show me maybe some pics of what proper beak and nail length should look like and what is actually too long that would really help.

Thanks and take care,

Kim D.

Dear Kimberly

Thank you for your kind words, we work very hard on the Birdie Brunch every week. If you can get someone to help hold the little birds, you should be able to trim their nails yourself without issue.


The expense of going to have them done by a vet can be costly.


It can then lead to waiting too long, etc.


If your birdcage is large enough to allow flying, landing on various perches of different materials including wood, rope, grooming perches, etc. you may have less need to trim their nails often.


If you have a small cage or a bird that is not in the best health, they may tend to not fly around, climb, play, etc and as such their nails may grow longer without being worn down naturally and thus need trimming more often.


We have 10 parakeets in a large aviary and they can fly, climb on rough wood bridges and other surfaces.


We have only had one bird over 3 years need to have her nails trimmed due to poor health.


Nothing contagious, she cannot be helped other than to allow her to eat, rest, sleep, etc with the rest of the colony until she passes. Thus her nails grow unchecked and we do have to pull her and trim them ourselves.


They can’t be left to grow long as she then can’t perch well adding to her suffering.


Our little birds depend on us to care for them. You sound like you are doing the right thing.


Just trim the tip on each nail. No need to go deep. Too short a trim can lead to bleeding and a harder time for the bird to perch until the nail grows back in more.


Mitch here Kimberly


Birds beaks should only be trimmed by a veterinarian.


Although they appear to be solid keratin, they contain thousands of nerves called Corpuscles of Herbst which you can read about here


We also travel with our birds in the winter.


parrot travel cage with blankets and flashlights


Cages covered with 2 baby blankets each.


Bright flashlights.






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