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Beak and Nail Trimming/Filing

GraceBirds

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This isn't really a Heath question... it's more of a grooming/care question.
I usually trim my birds' nails with animal nail clippers, but I sometimes nick the vein and I feel like filing would be way more gentle, just to remove the sharp tip and round it at the end.
Should I use a glass file, a metal file, or emery boards. I'm scared to use emery boards since there could be toxic chemicals on it from how it was made (the grit and colors, etc.).
I feel like glass files are the safest. Is that so? They seem to be chemical free and gentle. Could someone direct me where I can buy a safe glass file?
Also, is it safe to file my birds' beaks with a glass file just to round the sharp tip and prevent overgrowth? Is it safe if they put their mouth on a glass file, because I really wouldn't want them putting their mouth all over an emery board.
Thank you so much for your help.
 

Zara

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Hello Grace,

Which species of bird are we talking about?
 

Emma&pico

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@WillowQ used a file to file down her birds beak I am not sure which she used hopefully she might be able to help
 

Shezbug

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This isn't really a Heath question... it's more of a grooming/care question.
I usually trim my birds' nails with animal nail clippers, but I sometimes nick the vein and I feel like filing would be way more gentle, just to remove the sharp tip and round it at the end.
Should I use a glass file, a metal file, or emery boards. I'm scared to use emery boards since there could be toxic chemicals on it from how it was made (the grit and colors, etc.).
I feel like glass files are the safest. Is that so? They seem to be chemical free and gentle. Could someone direct me where I can buy a safe glass file?
Also, is it safe to file my birds' beaks with a glass file just to round the sharp tip and prevent overgrowth? Is it safe if they put their mouth on a glass file, because I really wouldn't want them putting their mouth all over an emery board.
Thank you so much for your help.
For my macaw and cockatoo I have plain old nail files (emery boards), the newer stronger ones for acrylic nails, a metal nail file, a glass one and even a foot sanding thing which I have used for my birds nails- I honestly have found the acrylic nail grinder boards to work the best then after that would be my metal file (which is a weird file as the file part is very different to normal files and would not be suitable for little fine pointed nails of smaller birds) then the foot sanding thing.

I am unsure what birds you have but if you want the job done fast with minimal strokes I would look for the acrylic nail grinders.

I found my glass nail files in both pharmacies and online. I get the heavy duty acrylic files online.

My bird often destroys the emery board files (acrylic nail ones) but as he is not eating them or chewing them up daily or even weekly I am ok with this.
 

GraceBirds

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For my macaw and cockatoo I have plain old nail files (emery boards), the newer stronger ones for acrylic nails, a metal nail file, a glass one and even a foot sanding thing which I have used for my birds nails- I honestly have found the acrylic nail grinder boards to work the best then after that would be my metal file (which is a weird file as the file part is very different to normal files and would not be suitable for little fine pointed nails of smaller birds) then the foot sanding thing.

I am unsure what birds you have but if you want the job done fast with minimal strokes I would look for the acrylic nail grinders.

I found my glass nail files in both pharmacies and online. I get the heavy duty acrylic files online.

My bird often destroys the emery board files (acrylic nail ones) but as he is not eating them or chewing them up daily or even weekly I am ok with this.
Could you please send me a link to the acrylic files you buy online. Thanks so much. I have cockatiels and budgies.
 

Shezbug

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GraceBirds

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I am in the US. Do you ever worry that nail files that are not completely made of one material (like glass files or metal files) could contain something or some chemical or material that might be toxic to a bird. Like the way they adhere the grit, what the grit is made of, the dyes or colorings in colorful ones, etc?
I'm mostly worried about when filing beaks since they put their mouths and tongue all over the file during the beak filing process. But also for their claws too, just because I don't want to use anything remotely dangerous or toxic.
 

GraceBirds

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I am in the US. Do you ever worry that nail files that are not completely made of one material (like glass files or metal files) could contain something or some chemical or material that might be toxic to a bird. Like the way they adhere the grit, what the grit is made of, the dyes or colorings in colorful ones, etc?
I'm mostly worried about when filing beaks since they put their mouths and tongue all over the file during the beak filing process. But also for their claws too, just because I don't want to use anything remotely dangerous or toxic.
????????
 

GraceBirds

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I am in the US. Do you ever worry that nail files that are not completely made of one material (like glass files or metal files) could contain something or some chemical or material that might be toxic to a bird. Like the way they adhere the grit, what the grit is made of, the dyes or colorings in colorful ones, etc?
I'm mostly worried about when filing beaks since they put their mouths and tongue all over the file during the beak filing process. But also for their claws too, just because I don't want to use anything remotely dangerous or toxic.
Could someone please respond to this question. I really need to know because I am just so afraid of using a file with potentially toxic or fatal chemicals used in its making.
 

Shezbug

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Your bird is not going to get the chance to eat them. They will be exposed while supervised by you. Many people here use normal nails files like I do. My birds have felt the files, broken the files, peeled the paper off them and all but they’re not eating them or playing with them all the time. Burt likes to sometimes hold onto it while I file so as long as he’s not swallowing anything he can help and touch what I’m using on him, I wouldn’t hang one in the cage for him as a toy but he’s not going to get sick from interacting under supervision with it while I’m doing his nails.
 
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Zara

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Going forward, look into getting some pedi perches, natural branches (not super smooth ones) and wooden toys to chew to keep the beak and nails in good condition.
I have lovebirds and we never get nails cut or filed or beak trims or anything. One of my boys recently got a super minor beak trim only because he's recovering from a wound on his back. Like if I hadn 't witnessed it, I would have never known he had it done so obviously our AV is happy with our beak lengths.
 

GraceBirds

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Your bird is not going to get the chance to eat them. They will be exposed while supervised by you. Many people here use normal nails files like I do. My birds have felt the files, broken the files, peeled the paper off them and all but they’re not eating them or playing with them all the time. Burt likes to sometimes hold onto it while I file so as long as he’s not swallowing anything he can help and touch what I’m using on him, I wouldn’t hang one in the cage for him as a toy but he’s not going to get sick from interacting under supervision with it while I’m doing his nails.
I once had a budgie that I filed the beak of. I used just a plain old emery board... she put her mouth on it but she didn't even chew it or swallow pieces of it, all she literally did was clamp her beak down on the edge and put her tongue on it, and then let go. It's not like she kept playing with it or chewing it, etc. Anyway, almost immediately after I finished, she just went completely limp and died. I have no idea why. She hadn't show any signs of illness, but I do know they are good at hiding illnesses. She was hopping around playing and singing just minutes before, so the only thing I could think of was maybe some chemical that the Emery board was made of killed her. It was so sad because she was best buddies with my tiel. They played together, ate together, groomed eachother, and copied eachother (if one played with a toy, the other would come over to play too; if one stared chewing on the edge of their paper floor lining, the other would start chewing too, etc).
So now I'm terrified to use any filing board without knowing everything it's made of. Which is why I feel like glass files are the safest. They are just made of glass, right?
 

GraceBirds

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I once had a budgie that I filed the beak of. I used just a plain old emery board... she put her mouth on it but she didn't even chew it or swallow pieces of it, all she literally did was clamp her beak down on the edge and put her tongue on it, and then let go. It's not like she kept playing with it or chewing it, etc. Anyway, almost immediately after I finished, she just went completely limp and died. I have no idea why. She hadn't show any signs of illness, but I do know they are good at hiding illnesses. She was hopping around playing and singing just minutes before, so the only thing I could think of was maybe some chemical that the Emery board was made of killed her. It was so sad because she was best buddies with my tiel. They played together, ate together, groomed eachother, and copied eachother (if one played with a toy, the other would come over to play too; if one stared chewing on the edge of their paper floor lining, the other would start chewing too, etc).
So now I'm terrified to use any filing board without knowing everything it's made of. Which is why I feel like glass files are the safest. They are just made of glass, right?
So based on material composition of nail files, do you think glass is the safest?
 

Toy

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I would guess a glass file would be safe for small birds, but not larger ones. I have a CAG, U2 and a B&G Macaw. I use the files for acrylic nails, which are basically over sized emery boards.
 

GraceBirds

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I would guess a glass file would be safe for small birds, but not larger ones. I have a CAG, U2 and a B&G Macaw. I use the files for acrylic nails, which are basically over sized emery boards.
What type of nail files would you worry about chemicals on? Where do you buy your nail files? Do you ever worry about a nail file being made of something or some chemical that might be toxic to a parrot (especially a little one like a budgie)?
 

GraceBirds

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What type of nail files would you worry about chemicals on? Where do you buy your nail files? Do you ever worry about a nail file being made of something or some chemical that might be toxic to a parrot (especially a little one like a budgie)?
I once had a budgie that I filed the beak of. I used just a plain old emery board... she put her mouth on it but she didn't even chew it or swallow pieces of it, all she literally did was clamp her beak down on the edge and put her tongue on it, and then let go. It's not like she kept playing with it or chewing it, etc. Anyway, almost immediately after I finished, she just went completely limp and died. I have no idea why. She hadn't show any signs of illness, but I do know they are good at hiding illnesses. She was hopping around playing and singing just minutes before, so the only thing I could think of was maybe some chemical that the Emery board was made of killed her. It was so sad because she was best buddies with my tiel. They played together, ate together, groomed eachother, and copied eachother (if one played with a toy, the other would come over to play too; if one stared chewing on the edge of their paper floor lining, the other would start chewing too, etc).
So now I'm terrified to use any filing board without knowing everything it's made of. Which is why I feel like glass files are the safest. They are just made of glass, right?
 

Toy

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What type of nail files would you worry about chemicals on? Where do you buy your nail files? Do you ever worry about a nail file being made of something or some chemical that might be toxic to a parrot (especially a little one like a budgie)?
Actually none. Walmart. For the short time they may have one in their beak there is little to no concern.
 

Shezbug

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I once had a budgie that I filed the beak of. I used just a plain old emery board... she put her mouth on it but she didn't even chew it or swallow pieces of it, all she literally did was clamp her beak down on the edge and put her tongue on it, and then let go. It's not like she kept playing with it or chewing it, etc. Anyway, almost immediately after I finished, she just went completely limp and died. I have no idea why. She hadn't show any signs of illness, but I do know they are good at hiding illnesses. She was hopping around playing and singing just minutes before, so the only thing I could think of was maybe some chemical that the Emery board was made of killed her. It was so sad because she was best buddies with my tiel. They played together, ate together, groomed eachother, and copied eachother (if one played with a toy, the other would come over to play too; if one stared chewing on the edge of their paper floor lining, the other would start chewing too, etc).
So now I'm terrified to use any filing board without knowing everything it's made of. Which is why I feel like glass files are the safest. They are just made of glass, right?
The chance your budgie died of stress or an inability to breathe while being held is a much more likely reason for the death than the grabbing of the emery board.

Many of us use them without any issues and have done so for many years.

My macaw got hold of two of his huge acrylic nail emery boards early this morning and chewed them, peeled them, snapped them (they are in the bin as they are not usable now) into bits and he has done this many times before without a problem.
 

orphansparrow

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I think it may be difficult to find out what chemicals are used in making emory boards, but I understand your concern, though I’m sure that probably wasn’t the cause… but buy a pure glass one and see if it’s ok to use. I had a glass one that I used on my own nails and really liked it. But I dropped it and it broke easily.
 
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