As owners of this website, we have chosen
to share our experiences and opinions on
these webpages. We present this info "as
is", and we shall have no liablility
to anyone regarding any circumstance or
occurrence related to the starling(s) or
other birds in their care. It is
each starling owner's responsibility to
make the best choices for the diet, safety,
health, care and wellbeing of his or her
Wild Starlings Keep Nails and Beaks
European starlings use their specialized
beaks to forcefully pry apart vegetation,
rocks, and dirt as they hunt for grubs and
insects. They also swipe their beaks frequently
on hard surfaces such as rocks, rough tree
branches, pavement, fence posts, wooden
surfaces, etc. Performing such behaviors
helps keep their beaks the proper length.
Their nails are kept worn down by the variety
of abrasive surfaces on which they walk
and perch (tree branches, rocks, streets,
sidewalks, roofs, ledges, etc).
a Pet Starling Maintain Nails and
pet starlings do not forage in the ground
and do not have access to all the types
of rough surfaces that wild starlings have
in the outdoors, it can be difficult for
some to maintain proper length of their
nails and beaks.
order to help our starlings keep their nails
and beaks trim, we supply their cages and
play areas with natural tree branch perches
(of various diameters) with rough bark on
them. We also provide a concrete perch for
each bird. Other items to which we give
our birds constant access include a shallow
container of rocks, a large rough rock,
a brick, a lava rock, and a terra cotta
pot. A pet starling who has access to a
variety of rough surfaces does a better
job of maintaining its own nails and beak.
We seldom need to trim toenails, and overgrown
beaks are never a problem for our birds.
Trimming Becomes Necessary
pet starlings may be unable to maintain
proper beak and/or nail length despite having
plenty of rough surfaces available to them.
If a pet starling's nails become too overgrown,
they can cause foot problems, or they may
get hung in something in the home and cause
broken toes or other injuries. Many pet
starlings will actually break off their
upper beak tip before if it grows too long.
However, if a pet starling's upper beak
grows so long that it interferes with eating
and preening, then it is time to trim it.
you are uncomfortable with the thought of
trimming nails or beak at home, then consider
taking your bird to a vet who is experienced
with birds. Vets usually charge nominal
fees for trimming, and most vets will be
glad to show you how to trim at home.
Holding a Starling for a Nail or Beak Trim Before
trimming your starling's nails or beak,
you MUST be sure you know how to properly
and safely hold your bird! It is very easy
to grasp a bird too tightly its body, thereby
compressing its air sacs and suffocating
it. See the following webpage for an example
of how to hold a starling safely: How
to safely hold an adult wild bird
starling owners hold their birds in one
hand and trim nails or beaks with the other
hand, while others have someone hold their
birds for them as they trim. How you choose
to do this will depend on your level of
comfort with holding a bird and on whether
your starling is one who tends to fight
so much so much during trims that you cannot
hold him in one hand. For us, it works best
to make nail trims a two person job -- one
person to hold the bird and another to do
long should a starling's nails be? We prefer our own starlings' nails to
be no longer than about 1/4 or 1/3 of a
circle. If a starling has overly-long nails,
its nails can get caught on things in the
environment, resulting in injury.
currently use a small scissors type clipper
to trim a bird's nails. (These are sold
in most pet stores and can be found in the
bird section or in the cat or small dog
sections.) We have also used nail clippers
made for humans. We know of some starling
owners who prefer to use guillotine type
clippers made for small animals (sold in
pet stores). Whatever type clipper you choose,
make sure it is SHARP.
agent, in case of bleeding -- Cornstarch
works well for stopping bleeding. (Styptic
powder may be used on nails, but we do not
recommend using it on beaks or any other
part of a bird.)
Trimming Once you or your partner have your bird
in the proper hold, carefully clip off the
sharp tip of each nail. Only clip a small
part of each nail during this first trim.
If you clip too much, you could knick the
blood vessel in the bird's nail (the "quick")
and cause bleeding. If your bird's nail
begins bleeding, dip the nail in cornstarch,
flour, or styptic powder. If the bleeding
does not stop, try applying pressure.
a birds' nails are extremely long,
we feel that it is a good idea to clip
only a small amount off of the nails every few days until we gradually get the bird's
nails the proper length. This gives the
blood vessel inside the nail time to recede
before the next trim job and will
lessen the chance of causing bleeding when
do not suggest trimming a pet starling's
beak unless it is so long that it intereferes
with eating and preening.
Thus, we will mention only brief, general
info about beak trims.
Some starling owners choose to file their
bird's overly long beaks with a nail file, which is generally safe if done carefully. Clippers may be
used for beak trims, however,
they must be sharp, as dull clippers
could cause a split in the bird's beak.
As with nail
trimming, cornstarch should be within reach
in case of bleeding. If clipping a starling's
it is recommended to snip off only a tiny
bit with each clip. If the beak is overly long, consider clipping only a small amount every few days until proper length is reached. Cutting off too much
of the beak at one time could cause a split
in the beak. Please note that it is crucial
when trimming a beak that you do not
cut too much, as this can result in
severe bleeding and an emergency situation!
If bleeding does occur, try applying cornstarch
to the end of the beak and applying pressure
until the bleeding stops. If bleeding is severe, get the bird to a vet.
your starling's beak is overly long and
you do not feel comfortable trimming it
yourself, please have an experienced veterinarian
do it for you. Some veterinarians will even teach their clients how to clip beaks themselves or how to safely trim them using a dremel tool. (NOTE: We suggest that you do not use a dremel on a bird's beak without being shown how by an experienced vet!)