A cockatiel uses his beak for many activities including shelling seeds, grooming his feathers and protecting himself from other birds. Just like the human jaw structure, a cockatiel's beak is made of an upper maxilla and a lower mandible. The tip of the beak is similar to human fingernails as it has no nerves and is not sensitive. The part of the beak closest to the cockatiel has nerves and a blood supply. A healthy cockatiel beak should be smooth, have no discolouration or cracks and be the proper length. In rare cases, you may have to trim your cockatiel's beak to keep it the proper shape and length.
Attach a conditioning perch to the inside of your bird's cage. These are often made of clay or concrete. Your cockatiel will use the perch to trim its nails and beak. Replace the conditioning perch when it becomes worn.
Place a cuttlebone on one side of the cockatiel's cage next to a perch. Cockatiels will nibble on the cuttlebone and gently trim their beaks to the proper size.
Arrange different bird toys in your cockatiel's cage. Cockatiels enjoy toys with rope, wooden blocks, plastic beads and coconut pieces. Your bird will chew on the toys as play and grind down his beak. Be sure to change the toys to keep your pet cockatiel from getting bored.
Use a Dremel tool to carefully remove excess beak growth. First, consult your veterinarian to find out the proper shape and length for your cockatiel's beak. Wrap your cockatiel in a towel to gently restrain it. Attach a small carborundum stone or diamond grit cutting disc to the grinder. Very carefully grind off the tip of the beak to the proper length. Apply styptic powder to the beak if bleeding occurs.
If cuttlebones and conditioning perches are not enough to trim your bird's beak, have a veterinarian trim the beak. Only attempt to trim it yourself if you have the proper tools and experience.
Seek veterinary attention if your cockatiel's beak is overgrown. Beak problems are often the symptom of a serious medical condition. Do not trim too much from your bird's beak because it can cause bleeding or pain.