A flaky beak can be a normal
part of growth and aging. However pet birds may not chew and play with
toys with enough vigor to adequately wear down their beak, so sometimes the beak
becomes too long or develops abnormal flaky areas.
Normal flaking must be
differentiated from abnormal thickening and flaking, which can entrap bits of
food within the beak keratin and result in infection or necrosis (tissue
damage). Ask your avian vet to assess your bird’s beak the next time you have
him examined. Beaks can overgrow due to metabolic problems, such as underlying
liver problems. Beak overgrowth can occur very rapidly or subtly. Also bites
and trauma can permanently damage the beak and cause abnormal growth.
Beak trimming should only be performed by a trained
veterinary professional, since it is possible to damage the underlying tissue
when trimming and shaping the beak. It is also very important to evaluate the
lower beak and to have the beak trimmed back to normal symmetrical proportions
when necessary, so it doesn’t end up skewing the upper beak to one side or the
other — known as scissor-beak.
Toys play an important role in occupational therapy
for the physical and mental health of our pet parrots. But the beak itself is
an indicator of overall health, and your veterinarian should assess any dramatic
Kay Duffin, DVM
Academy Pet Hospital
6000 Academy Rd NE
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