Previously, I have written about the pros/cons of cutting vs. filing parrot nails and about how to file parrot nails. This post will cover how to file the parrot’s beak. Any place I talk about filing beak or nails, filing can be substituted with cutting. But extra care needs to be taken because cutting too much can cause bleeding and there is a higher risk of cutting the bird or yourself. Personally, I recommend taking your bird to a vet or specialist for getting beak/nails cut but to practice by filing them yourself. If you become very proficient at filing your bird’s beak and nails, then you can use the same grip and technique but with a clipper in your hand instead of a file.
So to file a small bird, hold the bird in the palm of your left hand belly up. Put your thumb around the bird’s beck just under the mandible. Apply a small down and upward pressure. This keeps the bird from dropping its jaw while you are filing. Use your forefinger to apply a slight downward pressure on the bird’s maxilla to keep it from being able to open it’s beak. Also this finger holds the head and prevents the bird from turning.
Now you are ready to apply the file. Using your right hand, file across the tip of the maxilla with large motions on the file but not too much pressure. After a few strokes you should be able to see the tip begin to dull out a bit. I recommend approximately a dozen strokes but it depends on how long you can hold the bird and how sharp the beak is. It is better to do a bit less and try another filing session later than over stressing your bird.
After completing the filing, give your bird a treat if it wants it and then relax/reward it by cuddling or putting on your shoulder.
I have been told that not all parrots require beak trimming and that excessive trimming can easily cause pain to the bird as there are nerve endings in the beak itself. You should consult a vet prior to taking it upon yourself to trim your birds beak. Finally, if your bird does require trimming, be careful to never trim too deep. Birds with seriously overgrown beaks could be an indicator of a health problem so take them to the vet. My advice is strictly limited to the technique I use to file my bird’s beak and how it can be done in similarly sized birds that require trimming.