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Birds USA: Grooming 101

The How-Tos and Whys of Grooming

By Jessica Pineda

Birds put a lot of work into keeping themselves pristine and picture perfect. In the wild, parrots depend heavily on a strong beak and nails for climbing, and their feathers are not just for helping them fly (feathers also help keep the bird warm and protected from the elements).

So why groom?
There are many reasons to groom, but the main ones are for the bird’s health, safety and well-being. If a bird’s nails become overgrown or sharp, they can get caught on a perch, toy or corner of the cage. A fully-flighted companion bird is susceptible to accidental escape, accidental drowning or injury if it flies into a door or window.

How is it done?
Grooming is typically performed by two people, one person holds the bird while the other performs the grooming. While it is possible for one experienced person to groom a bird, it is easier to do it with two. Most bird owners take their birds to an avian veterinarian or an avian grooming service, such as those offered by bird retail shops.

**For the full article, pick up the 2008 issue of Birds USA or click here to buy the issue.**

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