What do you do if a African Grey Parrot beak breaks?

African Grey Parrot

So you’ve had your African Grey Parrot for quite some time now, right? He’s lived in your house, gotten used to humans, and is well aware that he’s not supposed to fling his waste beyond the limits of his cage bars. He’s pretty much domesticated.

Well, the reality is that even though parrots are not uncommon pets to have, they are still animals. And as animals, parrots tend to carry around what you and I like to call animal instinct. What you probably don’t know is that these birds tend to bloody their beaks in a show of territorial dominance. If you’ve seen your parrot hammering his beak on a surface, it most likely means that he’s trying to emphasize, in his own little birdy way: “I own this. This is mine. Mine, I say.”

Okay, granted, you don’t keep another parrot. He’s just one bird, so you basically can’t see why he needs to assert his dominion over his little part of the house. It’s nature, buddy. The parrots can’t control it. As far as he knows, the humans that feed him are large, feather-less birds who speak the same language in a funny accent.

Or maybe it’s not being territorial. Maybe your parrot loves the sound of glass being tapped. Maybe it’s exploring the world through hammering its beak, the same way you and I put everything in our mouths when we were babies. It doesn’t make sense, but at the time it felt like the right thing to do. I mean, birds are smart, maybe yours just decided that it would like to learn Morse code. Maybe it was playing charades, and it wanted you to guess it was a woodpecker.

Whatever the reason, the best thing you can do about it is to know what to do when your parrot does himself in and breaks his beak.

Yes, you heard me. Breaks his beak. Now, that can sound a little gruesome, but it’s best to prepare yourself for the possibility.

If you’ve noticed that your parrot’s beak has so much as a crack, don’t wait for more than 24 hours to remedy it. A bird’s beak is very rich in nerve endings, so the pain your pet is feeling is probably the same as you might feel from a very bad toothache. It’s also quite vascular, and might bleed a lot.

The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. In the meantime, you can apply steady pressure to the site of the break to ease the bleeding.Do not use superglue to try to glue the beak together, or your bird will foster a very healthy hatred of you for the rest of its life.

If the beak is still attached, do not under any circumstances, try to remove it altogether. Use sterile saline solution (preservative-free contact lens solution is an alternative) to flush out any dirt that might be stuck in the wound. While getting your parrot to the vet’s, keep the wound clean, and try to keep it from getting contaminated, otherwise you’ve got an infection to worry about as well. A veterinarian might use a wire to reattach the beak, and then use a cast to keep it in place. The parrot will then be tube fed until it is safe to let him regain full use of his beak.In the meantime, you might want to consider getting your parrot a new, harmless, beak-break free hobby.