A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON
HOW TO TOWEL YOUR BIG BIRD
Feathered Family, Inc.
It has come to our attention that many people do not know HOW to towel their bird in case of emergency. This is a skill that should be learned, and mastered before it is needed. If you need to give your parrot medicine, pull a bleeding broken bloodfeather, or do a good exam to look for damage on your bird you will need to know how to towel. There are ways to hold birds without a towel, but they are harder to master, and unfortunately are nearly impossible to get right the first time.
Here is a step by step photo guide to assist you. We want to thank our models Dayo the Blue and Gold Macaw, and Ceebee the Umbrella Cockatoo for being so patient with us while we took these photos.
Step 1 - You will need to block your bird from escaping the towel. Parrots can run fast, and you must provide no avenue of escape. Notice, in this photo Dayo can only run into the towel, or off the counter.
Step 2 - Lower the towel to cover your entire bird, following with your hand gripping the back of your birds head an neck. Bird necks are strong, and as long as you are not trying to harm them a good firm grip should be ok. You must get control of the birds head at this point.
Step 3 - Lift the bird and tuck one side of the towel firmly around the bird, pinning its wings to its body. Do not tighten the towel too much, as birds need to move their chests to breathe. You need to maintain your grip on the birds head while doing this.
Step 4 - Now tuck the other side of the towel around the bird, wrapping it up so that it cannot just wiggle loose. Again, you must maintain your hold on the birds head and neck during this.
Step 5 - Lift your bird into your arms, with your grip maintained on the neck and head, and also gently holding the towel in place over the birds chest.
Step 6 - Place your bird into the hold you will be using to do what you need to do. This hold is a lap hold, and is best for giving medicine if you are alone and have no assistance, as it leaves one hand free. The bird is held in place via its head, and your knees/thighs gently holding the towel in place. There will be examples of other holds below for you.
Step 7 - Cuddle and reassure your bird when the toweling is over. Even if your bird has bitten you, or screamed, it did a good job. Loving our birds is why we have to towel on occasion, so we need to reassure them after.
Other types of holds that you can use:
An arm hold. This hold is best only used with more docile birds, who are familiar with being toweled. In this hold you cradle your bird much like a baby.
This hold may also be reversed, with the birds head/neck in your hand, and the feet tucked against your chest, while your arm holds the bird in place. The reversed hold is more appropriate with birds who will be struggling.
A chest hold. This hold is also best used on birds who are more docile. It is fantastic for a two person nail trim on a large parrot. You must remember not to apply too much pressure to the birds chest, they need to move their chests to breathe!