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Bird Care

Martha Stewart Living Television

The life span of a pet bird ranges from 25 to 75 years -- in fact, many birds outlive their owners. Since your bird will be with you for a very long time, it's especially important to train it well from the start. Pet expert Marc Morrone explains how carrying a bird correctly helps with training and offers tips for trimming your bird's sharp nails.

A bird always follows the "flock leader." If you allow your bird to exhibit too much dominant behavior, he may end up thinking he is the flock leader, and then you'll have a difficult pet on your hands. One good way to establish yourself as the one in charge is to carry your bird correctly. Allow the bird to perch on your hand, with your elbow bent and held close to your body. This keeps the bird lower, and allows you to grasp the bird's feet while it perches, giving you total control over its movements.

Marc says in this position, you can easily reach the bird's nails for trimming. Although most birds balk at this, all you need to do is quickly snip a single nail while it's distracted. If you trim one nail a day following this method, they'll all be done before you know it, and the bird won't be bothered in the least.