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Old 05-03-2019, 06:38 AM
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Wing clipping?

I have a tiel that can’t fly properly. I had clipped his wings once. But he really had wanted to fly, so I took him to the vet. His clipped primaries were removed. They haven’t grown back, except one on the left wing and two feathers on the right. He often breaks them, especially when they are with blood inside. It’s very painful, he screams and often bleeds. But they break also when they are full-lenght. He can’t fly straightly, only on a roudned-shape way. I’m afraid of him - he can land in a bad place because of his flying way and hurt. Should I clip his three feathers to prevent him from breaking them and bad landing? If I had clipped this feathers, he wouldn’t be able to fly. Is it safer to have a flightless bird than the bad-flying one?

Last edited by tiellover; 05-03-2019 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:10 AM
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Re: Wing clipping?

Oh, I've heard that this happens for a variety of reasons.

Basically, if he didn't learn how to fly before his wings were clipped, he might not know how to fly at all. And if his wings are clipped too short, he might not be able to catch enough wing to safely glide down.

As for the feathers that break, those are blood feathers - baby feathers growing out. Apparently, if a wing is clipped too severely, those new feathers that are growing out don't have any protection from other fully grown feathers that would ordinarily surround it. So they break easily. It almost feels like an endless cycle.

If he's flying in a rounded way, I'm wondering if his wing clip is not even (both wings being asymmetrical), which would make his balancing incredibly difficult and even potentially hazardous.

Here's an article that gives some insight into what happens from a severe wing clip and some potential solutions that this vet has done: Wing Clipping & Trimming Ľ Currumbin Valley Birds & Exotic Vetrenarian - Gold Coast

In the end, you don't exactly want a flightless bird - you want a bird who can at least control his descent to the ground, so he doesn't crash and break a bone. It is possible for birds to learn how to fly properly later on in life, but if he didn't learn as a baby, you'll have to teach him (some members on the forum are going through something similar - hopefully they'll pop by with thoughts and suggestions).


Has your vet suggested a conservative clip or a feather extension to help him?

(BTW, welcome! What's his name?)
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:05 AM
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Re: Wing clipping?

His name is Chuck. I bought him when he was about 7-8 months old. He was fully flighted and he can do it. His only problem is that his primaries, except this three feathers, didnít grow back. All of clipped primaries have been pulled out a few years ago so I think they wonít grow anymore. Iíve read something about imping but itís impossible to do it on Chuck - in the place of feathers he has just nothing. Iíve read also about pulling out flight feathers, some texts are about that if you pull out a feather improperly, it will never grow again. Thatís the Chuckís problem. He wonít fly like a normal bird for the rest of his life. His only way to fly is flying on a short distance and on a rounded-shape way, he canít do anything more with his wings. So Iím debating about letting him fly in his own way or totally disabling his flying ability due to clipping his three primaries. My vet didnít suggested anything, only told me his feathers will grow back in a short time. I think he did a big mistake.
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:42 AM
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Re: Wing clipping?

Oh yikes, I know a beautiful macaw in a similar situation. He was free-flight trained, then his owners decided to 'clip' his wings (and apparently, locally, macaws aren't clipped but plucked). So his left wing never grew them back properly. He grows and molts, but those primaries never grow full length in all his years. Local macaws are trained to just sit on their perch unless summoned (and they're also chained there), so the big guy just chills on his perch all day long. Which definitely isn't a feasible option for Chuck.

I can't advise you - I really don't know your situation or Chuck's - but my instinct would be to balance out his wings. Hopefully from there, he'll learn how to negotiate with that new limitation and have some semblance of balance and control. Perhaps then you guys could practice him flapping his wings and then trying to glide safely onto your bed, so he learns how to manoeuvre with his wings again.

Am hopeful folks with clipped wings and plucked wings experience will be by to give you more helpful insight
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:19 AM
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Re: Wing clipping?

If I want to balance out Chuck’s wings, I think I should clip them. Every primary is different - in the right wing they are two next to each other, closely to the most external part of the wing. In the left one there is a single feather, not far to the secondaries. It causes his weird flying way. After clipping his wings will be more symmetrical. Next I’ll try to teach him how to land straightly and not to turn around near the ground. I hope he won’t be completely flightless.

Last edited by tiellover; 05-03-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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