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Old 10-03-2019, 04:58 PM
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Mild clipping?

I got my conure at 7 months in age and she was clipped by the breeder. I thought this was smart.

Ten months later she appears to be able to fly at decent distances horizontally but she does not gain in elevation. I like watching her fly this way as I am sure it is good exercise for her. But I worry that if/when she gains in elevation, that there will be safety issues.

So I was wondering more about mild clips for a conure. Can I ask the vet to clip the bird in a minor way that allows for horizontal flight but not being able gain in altitude? If this is possible, will the mild clipping need to be done on a more frequent basis? Or is this related to the clipping of some specific feathers that allow for climbing elevation and it is only an annual or semi-annual clip?

If this mild clipping for horizontal flight is possible, why would anyone do anything but a mild clip? I will say that at the beginning, the clip helped with her depending on me and trusting me more.

I don't want this thread to spiral into a debate on clipping vs no clipping. I live in a place with very high ceilings and all kinds of dangers/problems way beyond my reach. But I also see the horizontal flights as being healthy in many ways. Just trying to wrap my head around clipping options.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:20 PM
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Re: Mild clipping?

Possibly? I know it took Levi a while to gain the strength to fly higher.

Instead of 4 feathers on each side, maybe 2? I would ask my Vet .
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:49 PM
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Re: Mild clipping?

I think that sounds like a good idea....I'd be interested to know as well for similar reasons (old house with high ceilings, etc) but I don't want to eliminate the benefit of flight either.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:49 PM
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Re: Mild clipping?

For a mild clip cut the 3 outermost primary flight feathers on each wing and should be cut below the level of the primary covert feathers, (the shorter, smaller feathers visible overlying the primary feathers, close to their attachment to bone, on the inside of the extended wing). The lower third to half of the primary feather should be clipped off, but no more. Don't cut the secondary flight feathers.

If you want bird just to glide, but keep bird from achieving any lift as it takes off, cut the 5 outermost primary flight feathers on each wing. Be careful with leaving any sharp edges, as bird will tend to pluck them out if it bothers them.

Never cut all 10 primary flight feathers as some state due to bird, especially a larger bird can drop like a rock and cause other issues and injury. The 5 outermost primary flight feathers at most is all that needed and still allow the bird to glide. Never do the leave the 2 outermost feather and then cut 5 primary flight feather for appearances as some do since all it likely takes is the regrowth of a single clipped primary feather in this case to allow the bird to fly again and can cause balance issues and then they can crash into something.

If you never clipped your bird I suggest you take it to a experience avian vet, it doesn't cost to much, around $25 range depending on area you in.

Last edited by ParrotGenie; 10-03-2019 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:55 PM
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Re: Mild clipping?

This is the clip I get my 200 gram Hawkhead. With this clip she looks good and can fly quite a ways level but cannot gain altitude. Nike is a strong flier and sometimes even just getting feather P4 back enables her to fly anywhere in the house.

It's a delicate balance between clipping just enough and not clipping enough. I've recently decided to keep her clipped year round and that means 3 or 4 visits a year for her because feathers seem to return randomly...which I don't mind doing.

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Old 10-04-2019, 12:33 AM
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Re: Mild clipping?

Thanks for all of the useful information. Now when I am looking at her feathers, I can sort of see what was done in the past.

I don't ever see myself as one who would do the actual clipping. But I do like to at least discuss instructions with the vet before they do the clip. In order to discuss what I want, I needed more information and I got it here.

Thank you all for the replies.
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