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Old 09-19-2019, 10:47 PM
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Wings feather clipping

My husband and I took Ringo, our Green Cheek Conure, to a local hospital for a nail and wing clipping yesterday. My husband insisted to take him to a vet office because he thought is better to leave this to a professional. So, I went with the idea, but NEVER AGAIN!! I will not go to pet stores or veterinaries who do not know anything about birds. They allowed a technician to do this without knowing how to cut bird feathers. You would think that a animal hospital would know how to do this, but this was not the case. They didn't understand that cutting a human hair is not the same as cutting the feathers to a bird. The idea is not to stop the bird from flying at all, but to allow the bird to fly short distance to land safety in an place. Depending on the cut, it can ruin the bird feathers, and that is my fear that has happened. My hope is that he would grown them quickly.

He only needed a trim in the tip of the flight feathers, but ended traumatized and hurt, because I know he put a big fight. He was in shock and has not been himself since then. I was not allowed to be present at the trimming, so the technician came to talk to us in the waiting area and briefly explain that is nothing to be worry that would take only 15 minutes. They cut the wrong feathers! It was suppose to be a trim on the primary flight feathers only, and not the secondary feathers. The primary and secondary feathers were trimmed. The primary feathers are too short. They did a terrible job! Ringo is not confident to flight and wants to be picked up instead. He is very quiet and I believe he is hurt because he keeps his eyes closed sometimes and seems to be depressed. He wants to stay in his cage most of the time and that is unusual of him. He is a rescue bird, and this experience would set him back in his trust to us.

I am willing to do his next feather clipping myself without hurting him. Does anyone know how to clip the flight feathers correctly? If so, could you give some suggestions?
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:39 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

Quote: Originally Posted by MydearConure View Post
... I will not go to pet stores or veterinaries who do not know anything about birds. ...
Sorry you are not happy.

But it's not fair to generalize about all pros.
Some do know what they are doing, and some others don't.
Same as with any other group, including bird owners.

Find a pro who does it the way you prefer, or do it yourself.

I know my preference, but there is no universal agreement on "proper" wing clipping.

Next time, communicate your preference, and assure agreement, BEFORE handing over your bird.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:27 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

Couple of things:

If he's really dropping to the ground like a rock, it's worth looking into finding an avian vet who might be able to do a feather transplant.

Next would be what the good Capt Kirk said, but I'll add on a little. Always discuss beforehand what your expectations are and be present when it happens. There are people who still do things the old school way - it happens.

If you do decide to clip again, I suggest talking to the avian vet in detail what is going to happen and why. You can even bring a diagram in of what you expect, and they can advise from there.

Now, where I am, we've a good avian vet. She acts as though your bird is her only patient. She spends time to answer questions and explain in detail what each medical procedure entails, why, how, and results. I suggest you find an avian vet that you can trust, especially in case your bird has a medical emergency.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:12 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

There are lots of pictures and I am sure videos on the internet on how to clip your bird's wing feathers. I stopped wing clipping of my birds years ago after some pretty bad clips as well.
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:06 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

Animal Hospitals are where generalists are hired, commonly if in a city, dog and cat vets and techs.
Within the World of Vets and Vet Techs, there are several specialties and with Birds and even more specific Parrots they are called Avian Professionals. This group is certified to work with Parrots and have specific titles: Certified Avian Vets and Certified Avian Vet Techs. There are other levels, but this is the cream of the crop.
You live in one of the hot spots in North America where there are far more Avian Professionals then most places. You should have no problem finding an excellent Avian Professional.
As stated above, your Parrot was given a clip commonly referred to as a Dropped Rock Clip. In short, the Parrot is unable to develop any lift and falls directly to the grow. The Clip is deadly as such a fall can result in damage to the Air Sacks, or more specific, the bone structure around it. You have the Right to request a Refund since proper care was not provided.
I'm old and I long ago learned how to clip Wing feathers and also, clipping toe nails. That said, I do not do it, because it is very possible to harm your Parrot and to hurt the trust bond that I have work hard to develop with my Parrot.
Find an Avian Professional and let the Pros hand it. It is also just as important to understand that each species of Parrot requires a slightly different reduction in primary feathers to provide the proper glide rate for a specific Parrot.
For the long care of your Parrot, find an Avian Professional near you and take your Parrot to that (those) professionals on a regular bases.
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Last edited by SailBoat; 09-20-2019 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:59 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

It sounds like you only wanted a light clip anyway. Could you not let them grow back fully (if they do and hopefully they will) and work on improving his flight rather than clipping?
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:23 AM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

I'm really sorry you had a bad experience.

There's lots of debate about wing clipping in general. But I think it can be a useful tool for training and safety. My new baby kept flying into things and flying up out of reach, making it impossible to train let alone get her back in the cage so I made the decision to clip. My first cockatiel came to me clipped and though he could still fly a little (glide to the floor) it made it a lot easier to train him.

I recently got my young tiel's wings and nails clipped at my local exotics vet, I have a video of her clipping one wing on my Instagram (click the link in my signature) and it will show you how far she clipped. It is definitely not a 'light clip', she gets down in those secondaries and cuts them to a clean line, my bird has a lot less to flap now but ideally as her wing feathers grow back in she'll trust me and I won't have such a hard time getting her to come to me.


Try to provide as many perching options as possible, lots of treats to entice your bird to move around the cage or play stand and you can even start training them to jump small distances as his wings grow back in. It will take some time, but I hope you see that not all professionals would do this (let an inexperienced tech do it). I will say there are plenty of instructional videos of youtube if you want to give it a try next time for a light clip.
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:26 PM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

I just brought Nike into my CAV yesterday for Wellness, nails, beak and wings. She was not happy during the hour ride home (as in totally silent) but was fine once I got her out of her Pak.

I tell my vet exactly which feathers I want clipped and he records that in her record. It is usually a two person affair with the vet doing all the trimming/clipping.
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Old 09-21-2019, 04:48 PM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

Thank you all for your advice and recommendations. Capt. Kirk : Good idea! I will keep in mind what you suggested. Charmed byKkie : I will talk with an avian vet and agree what I expect to be done before I make an appointment, if I decide to try again. Remibird: Excellent suggestion. I will do some research in the internet and learn how to do it myself. Sailboat: Thank you for the information. I can't believe some vets have been doing this "dropped rock clip" which it's harmful to birds. I read some books about GCCs and they do not recommend to cut the primary feathers too short. From some complaints of other customers, this hospital does not give refunds only credit for the next bill. Jottlebot: Yes, right now, I am trying for him to come back to normal and letting his feathers grow. When the times come again, I will just clip the tips shorter of 5 flight feathers until he gets used to it. Iyzbean: Thank you, I will check your video and take notes, and Bill: I will make sure my GCC is not abused again! , but I do want to find a "good" veterinarian that care for his patients. In my opinion, I do believe birds should be allowed to fly somehow, but not long and high distances to prevent accidents in and out of the house. Birds are made to fly. They are avian and that is their thing. We should not domesticate them to be like humans. Restricting a bird the capability to fly is like restricting a human the capability run.
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:50 PM
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Re: Wings feather clipping

MydearConure , the clip I give Nike (she's about 195 grams and a very, very strong flier) is leave the outer two primaries and clip the next 5 just below the cape....I realize that every bird is different. This cut allows Nike to fly from a high perch to another lower perch about 20' away and it requires some room navigation. The lower her starting point, the shorter the distance. It also causes her pause when she wants to fly...without the clip she is a little rocket ship with a muffler, silently sneaking up on you when you least expect it. She still fly's from her perch to my shoulder, but not when I'm 30' away from her with the back door open. Her flighing is much more controllable.

My experience with clips is very good and my bird's personality is not adversely affected by them. I have suggested to folks that they get mild clips for their birds when the situation warrants it....nobody does citing that birds should be able to fly, and at least one of them actually did fly right out the door. All I can say that it is our responsibility as captive bird owners to first and foremost keep them safe and a good, mild clip is one very important way to accomplish that.

It appears that you understand this but I had to get it off my chest for others to read and get upset with me about.
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