To clip or not to clip?
Clipping your bird’s wings, which prevents him from flying, isn’t a decision you’ll want to wing, pet-lovers. There are lots of opinions flying around that are for and against the practice. Pro-clippers chirp that wing-clipping is for your bird’s own safety, so he doesn’t hurt himself by flying into things like fans or light fittings, or escape through windows. Anti-clippers peck back, saying depriving a bird of its natural ability to fly may cause psychological and physical damage – Polly want a psychiatrist?
Your best bet is to do your research, even talk to your vet to get all the feathery facts, and decide whether your African Gray is better off at Ground Level.
Wing-clipping, without cutting corners.
It’s important to realise that clipping your bird’s wings will make him more reliant on you, but this will help with taming and training. And thankfully, clipping sounds worse than it is. It’s not only painless but also temporary, because the flight feathers you cut will actually grow back, if done correctly. The whole objective of clipping is to limit your beaky buddy’s ability to generate upward lift, while keeping his skill of gliding downward. This will help prevent injury to your Parakeet, in case he falls.
As petsperts, we recommend visiting your vet first for Budgie’s first wing and nail clipping. Doc will demonstrate all the proper techniques, so you can safely clip your Caiques, going forward.
The best way to clip: Leave two or three feathers at the base of the wing (close to the body), instead of the more common method of leaving a few feathers at the tip. The problem with allowing feathers at the tip is that, quite often, our feathered friends can still fly. Enough needs to be clipped to stop your Parrotlet from taking off, while still allowing him to flutter to the floor if he falls or is dropped (as mentioned above). And you’ll just want to be very careful of clipping the feathers too short, which could result in bleeding that is difficult to stop, by birdie!
For best results, clip the wings every six to 10 weeks after a new regrowth. And again, just be careful with your little wingman, OK?
Good luck, pet-lovers!