Thoughts on wing clipping?

maddox

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Maddox is a green cheek conure
Hello friends! So when I bought Maddox he came clipped and has a while before he will need to be clipped again, but I'm not really sure I want to do that. I am still new to being a conure parent so I wanted to get your thoughts on the pros and cons of clipping wings and if it is a good practice or not.
 

Laurasea

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Hot topic warnings!!! ;)
I'm against it, I keep mine flighted. For health, their whole body and respiratory system, vision, speedy thinking on the wing brain, self directed Behavior and all.

A bird that has learned to fly well, will not crash into things, even when spooked( exceptions very low light , they don't see well in the dark) . You do have to teach them windows, lots if going to every window and hold them close tap on the glass, I also hsve out up some burd strike decals, mostly for the wild outside birds, but can help teach yours. Tours if home tap on walls and teach routes back to cage is also helpful. Once they learn they are really great flyers avoid obstacles. Example neighbors took tree down outside my window, dogs barking, chaos, alarm call burds, speeding laps around flying full speed, they don't crash into any windows, walls, anything.

Also flighted birds are less likely to panic in the first place, because they know they can move to safety.

A clipped bird can still escape and fly quite far, but have more trouble evading predators.

Your bird had a very sever clip, was over clipped. If yiu decides to clip, read up on proper wing trims, and get a more milder clip.
 

Henderbird

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Hot topic warnings!!! ;)
I'm against it, I keep mine flighted. For health, their whole body and respiratory system, vision, speedy thinking on the wing brain, self directed Behavior and all.

A bird that has learned to fly well, will not crash into things, even when spooked( exceptions very low light , they don't see well in the dark) . You do have to teach them windows, lots if going to every window and hold them close tap on the glass, I also hsve out up some burd strike decals, mostly for the wild outside birds, but can help teach yours. Tours if home tap on walls and teach routes back to cage is also helpful. Once they learn they are really great flyers avoid obstacles. Example neighbors took tree down outside my window, dogs barking, chaos, alarm call burds, speeding laps around flying full speed, they don't crash into any windows, walls, anything.

Also flighted birds are less likely to panic in the first place, because they know they can move to safety.

A clipped bird can still escape and fly quite far, but have more trouble evading predators.

Your bird had a very sever clip, was over clipped. If yiu decides to clip, read up on proper wing trims, and get a more milder clip.
Ooooh that’s all good to know!
I’m also against wing clipping as I think it just affects the little birdies 😫
I love what you stated about the window thing since it’s important for any flighted bird to recognize that “yus dat is window and window must be seen”
My aunt and uncles birds were unclipped I think? Not sure even though I lived there.
And if you want to clip then agree with Laura, let’s make that clip mild! Surely someone will jump in and mention some pros and cons of clipping as well!
 

texsize

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I am against wing clipping also unless.
If it's for the safety of the bird or humans in the house.

But I have to say I have a small disagreement with Laurasea.
My cockatiels are fully flighted and can fly quite fast.
Cockatiels are easy to become spooked and when that happens everything is go, go, GO and they don't care what they are aimed at.
Lucky has hit wall and window (windows he knew were windows) and so has Cheeky.

If your bird has not fledged (learned to fly when leaving the nest) it may be difficult to teach him how to fly.
 

Henderbird

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Hello friends! So when I bought Maddox he came clipped and has a while before he will need to be clipped again, but I'm not really sure I want to do that. I am still new to being a conure parent so I wanted to get your thoughts on the pros and cons of clipping wings and if it is a good practice or not.
I am against wing clipping also unless.
If it's for the safety of the bird or humans in the house.

But I have to say I have a small disagreement with Laurasea.
My cockatiels are fully flighted and can fly quite fast.
Cockatiels are easy to become spooked and when that happens everything is go, go, GO and they don't care what they are aimed at.
Lucky has hit wall and window (windows he knew were windows) and so has Cheeky.

If your bird has not fledged (learned to fly when leaving the nest) it may be difficult to teach him how to fly.
I love how you were respectful about the disagreement and stated your experience! One of the reasons I love this forum!
Gives me more insight on what to expect when I get a bird someday!
 

𝕾𝖙𝖔𝖗𝖒𝖞𝕻𝖎𝖈𝖆

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I'm against wing clipping. I have seen the difference in confidence of birds who were clipped versus not clipped. The difference is HUGE. Un-clipped birds are much more confident, are usually less frightened of new experiences, and most importantly, are very strong and fit.
 

Laurasea

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Links to great articles
" Thanks so much for accessing WPT for some advice and additional food for thought on what is, in my opinion, one of the most significant issues surrounding the keeping of parrots as companion animals. I am a major advocate of maintaining full flight capability of all parrots kept in captivity and I strongly feel that we need to make a fundamental shift away from 19th and 20th century paradigms of thinking about what is acceptable and not acceptable in regards to our expectations of companion parrots and develop a 21st century approach towards their care, training and management. Simply -- parrots are `built to behave' in a range of specific biologically functional ways. The foundation of that functional behaviour is the capability of flight. Indeed, it is when we start to attempt to modify the anatomy of our parrots or create expectations of them that are completely incompatible with the expression of their natural biological tendencies that we then experience `behaviour problems"

" don't subscribe to the common thought that wing clipping is `a personal choice'. A personal choice for the bird or the owner? If we are genuine and authentic about promoting relationships with parrots as pets built on a foundation of respect, trust and appreciation for accommodating them to the best of our abilities then such decisions should be made in the primary interest of what is ultimately the best for the bird -- not simply to cater for the limitations of the owner's environmental circumstance. A 21st century approach to companion parrot care embraces their flight capability and challenges owners to develop both the appropriate training skills to manage that successfully and to create an appropriate environment to ensure that flight is catered for safely. Ultimately, it's our expectations of our parrots as pets and the environment that we provide for them that need to be modified, not their wings. The justifications and rationale presented for wing clipping really don't maintain validity today. Flying into windows, getting stuck in the toilet or the frying pan, escaping out the door are all examples of problems with the management of the flighted bird -- not the capability of flight itself.:


 
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Laurasea

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Except from above linked article

" Parrots are built for flight.​


Before we can explore the physical and psychological effects of clipping wings, we must first discuss some basics of natural history and biology. The purpose of this discussion is to debunk the myths which claim parrots don’t need to fly, don’t want to fly, don’t like to fly, or are bad at flying. These myths have been reinforced within our culture because clipping wings is so common. When people see parrots sitting on perches, never flying, it promotes the incorrect assumption that “parrots don’t really fly”. Even more damaging to a proper understanding of the role flight plays for a parrot is when someone sees a parrot attempt to fly and it falls or crashes instead. The people witnessing these things for the first time often don’t know much about parrots; it doesn’t cross their minds that those birds might be clipped, or that they might have been clipped before learning to fly. Then, if they or someone they know comes to own a bird later on, the idea of clipping wings seems harmless enough (since they think that parrots aren’t very good flyers anyway), and the cycle continues. But this is a cycle we can break if people are given the correct information."
 
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Henderbird

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Munchkin the Sun Conure!

Parrots are built for flight.​





Before we can explore the physical and psychological effects of clipping wings, we must first discuss some basics of natural history and biology. The purpose of this discussion is to debunk the myths which claim parrots don’t need to fly, don’t want to fly, don’t like to fly, or are bad at flying. These myths have been reinforced within our culture because clipping wings is so common. When people see parrots sitting on perches, never flying, it promotes the incorrect assumption that “parrots don’t really fly”. Even more damaging to a proper understanding of the role flight plays for a parrot is when someone sees a parrot attempt to fly and it falls or crashes instead. The people witnessing these things for the first time often don’t know much about parrots; it doesn’t cross their minds that those birds might be clipped, or that they might have been clipped before learning to fly. Then, if they or someone they know comes to own a bird later on, the idea of clipping wings seems harmless enough (since they think that parrots aren’t very good flyers anyway), and the cycle continues. But this is a cycle we can break if people are given the correct information."
This is fantastic info!! 🥰
 

Laurasea

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I am against wing clipping also unless.
If it's for the safety of the bird or humans in the house.

But I have to say I have a small disagreement with Laurasea.
My cockatiels are fully flighted and can fly quite fast.
Cockatiels are easy to become spooked and when that happens everything is go, go, GO and they don't care what they are aimed at.
Lucky has hit wall and window (windows he knew were windows) and so has Cheeky.

If your bird has not fledged (learned to fly when leaving the nest) it may be difficult to teach him how to fly.
Penny was over 10 years old when I rescued her, she had always been clipped and I doubt was allowed to fledged .
It did take time an effort to get her flying. She Flys very well now...nothing close to my others who I got younger and let their first clip grow out. But she doesn't crash into anything or miss her landings.

So I think there is hope for the older clipped ones to learn to fly
 

Henderbird

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MayMaroa

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2 female budgies i have a green named tofu she is 1 years old(she turned one years old in April) and i have a blue budgie named sky she is the younger one she is younger then tofu by a few days
honestly, I am against wing clipping I feel that it's taking an ability away from a bird its like not being able to walk anymore so in my opinion its a really important ability that all birds love (almost all) That's of course if the bird is in need of wing clipping like a medical reason or a safety reason then a bird should be clipped if there is no other choice and that the bird is really in need of wing clipping.

I honestly do not see that your bird is in need of wing clipping, and also to mention it if you decided to not clip your bird it will be a hard process to teach your bird how to fly if it was clipped when it was young, so your bird will be crashing into things or landing in the weirdest places or having trouble landing so just to mention it's hard to teach a bird to fly and teach it not to crash on things but its really worth it !!!

So yaa thats my opinion on wing clipping
 
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fiddlejen

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Sunny the Sun Conure (sept '18, gotcha 3/'19). Mr Jefferson Budgie & Mrs Calliope Budgie (albino) (nov'18 & jan'19). Summer 2021 Baby Budgies: Riker (Green); Patchouli, Keye, & Tiny (blue greywings).
My Conure Sunny came clipped, as did my first two budgies.

Sunny's wings were unevenly clipped when I got her, and as her wing feathers grew back, they came in unevenly. When she started to fly, she would go crooked and crash into things. She would break the new blood feathers and I would take her for another vet visit & get her re-clipped evenly Again. It took almost two(?) years (maybe 1 1/2) before she was actually flying. She is Not clipped now, and does fly freely inside the house.

My parakeets also came clipped. Their little wings grew in relatively quickly and Jefferson was passionately Determined to Fly. At that point I had a medical issue, and also my house was not yet bird-safe (too much clutter, too many spots where IF they got caught, i could not get them without endangering them). So I clipped them... twice more I believe.

OHHH Jefferson-budgie was so angry about that! He sulked AT ME for several days the second time. THEN he decided, well, he did not care if he was clipped, he was gonna fly anyway. (Jump....furiously-flap-flap-flappity-flap....little-thud!)Oh so cute! But because of his passion, and my health issue resolved, I resolved not to clip again if I could avoid it.

As soon as Jefferson was gaining height, he passionately re-taught his mate to fly, and then invested lots of time trying to teach the conure to fly. He has even repeatedly tried to teach me to fly too. (!!!!)

Since then, I allowed the budgies to have ONE set of babies. (This, again, was motivated by my desire for Jefferson-Budgie's happiness...) The babies have never been clipped, they've always flown. Until just recently. The babies are various levels of NOT-tame, and have recently started fighting. Also they do Not understand "step-up" and are mostly Not food-motivated (for training).

At this point for the sake of flock management I've gotten one of the budgies clipped, and I may need to clip others as well.

My own view, is that it's better for birds to be clipped and have a Good Life, if clipping is needed for their safety, for the owner's health or safety, or for flock management. (Rather than spend their whole life confined-or-worse, just in order to keep their flying "ability.")

At one point, regarding Jefferson, my vet said something about, clipping can help with "attitude adjustment." Well, for Jefferson the answer is "NO." Then again, since he's been clipped before, I know how it affects his attitude. Jefferson will only ever get clipped again if absolute necessity.

However for another bird? IF clipping will make a bird handle-able, to give the owner Time to work kindly with the bird, to be able to lay the foundation for building a relationship? YES.

OR if clipping, even keeping clipped long-term, will allow a Loving, responsible owner to Keep a bird that might otherwise need re-homed? Or will allow that owner to give the bird out-of-cage freedoms when the bird might otherwise be permanent confined to its cage? Then ABSOLUTELY!!

But obviously the best choice, as far as possible, is to allow the birds to have flight and enjoy their wings. :)
 
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Briburd

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I am pro clipping….for the most part. I hate the term clipping because it makes it sound painful…I prefer to say wing trimming. If it is done right then it is just that, a trim. With that said I have a GCC who even with his wings trimmed he can fly…and really well. He is a small bird though and my vet said small birds even with trimmed wings should still be able to fly but not gain a lot of altitude. I also realize the importance of him knowing how to fly. I have other pets and I want him to be able to protect himself if ever he needed too but I love him and I don’t want to lose him and far too often I hear of peoples birds accidentally flying out and then getting spooked and flying too far to never return. Mojitos wings aren’t actually clipped at the moment because he had a blood feather coming in and the vet didn’t want to risk it trimming too close. I plan on having them trimmed once the vet feels his feathers have fully grown enough to allow for a proper/safe trim. Mojito is very bold but still easily spooked and has come close to flying into the ceiling fan. He is out almost all day and doesn’t listen the greatest and thinks he can just fly wherever and whenever and that worries me. So I do believe it is situational. I also believe it is important to allow your bird to learn how to fly as well as allow it to fly just not fully, unless you have an aviary.
 

kme3388

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There are so many great responses here. It truly is up to you! There are great arguments on both sides. I support both.

My conure isn't clipped, and I need her to fly as she has so much energy. It's a great way to get some exercise for her. I have her flight trained (indoors only).

My ekkie has a broken wing, and he feather plucks. He can't fly even if he wanted to. At some point he was able to fly is my assumption as he tried to do it a lot when I first got him. So even if you do clip your conure he may still try to fly. I put ropes, latter's, and perches all over the place to prevent my ekkie from trying to fly so he just uses these resources to get around safely. So far so good!
 

TiercelR

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Hello.
In falconry, a some falconers do use a piece of equipment named as the "brail" during the taming process.

This is a kind of a strap traditionally made of thin leather, which is used on one wing at a once time, and after a some few days this brail is interchanged from one wing to the other wing, for so the raptor can be able of to rest their previously restricted wing for a while.

The brail is used on the raptor only for a very few days until has passed their previous desire of to fly away from the presence of the humans and the hunting dogs.

But i do not know if the brail could work with the Psittacidae birds. Thanks, regards.
 

AnimaliaPrime

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I heard a parrot expert (Barbara Heidenreich) say it best, "You don't cut off a dog's legs to keep it from running away...." Fully flighted parrots are a true joy. They maintain a healthy weight easier, they are happy to be with you since you are their flock. Since they can fly, get more exercise which helps their mental health. Flying is a natural instinct and it needs to be fulfilled in thise not yet domesticated wild animals.
Recall training is a great idea and harnesses for outdoors. If your bird is bonded to you and knows how to fly, even if it gets outside by accident, chances are it won't go far and will come right back.
I had a Quaker parrot that I adopted from a rescue. He had his wings clipped (I didn't know any better at the time). He got outside one day. He was bonded to me--but he didn't know how to fly. He had NEVER had full wings--clipped when he first got feathers. So, he hit a wind current and rode it into a tree. And I called him and he screamed piteously, wanting to come back. But he never had any clue how to fly "down" and he knew he was too high up to "fall" to the ground. So he kept getting spooked and catching wind currents and going form tree to tree. ALL over the neighborhood. I was beside myself. I had several neighbors involved in the rescue. One guy was climbing trees to try and reach him. I climbed a very tall tree and it was very dangerous. But Twitch was too scared to come down even that far to reach where I was in the tree. It took almost 9 hours of following him around the neighborhood, until he came to place with a large open field and no trees anymore. He followed a wind current, ended up in the grass and RAN--and a friend of mine ran him down and popped a butterfly net over him! He was safe! He was thirsty and hungry and beyond tired. But not hurt.
And if he could fly, it might never have happened. Or maybe I would have been a LOT more careful of doors and such. Either way, it would have been better.
 

PyroParrot

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I am at that crossroads - my sun conure was clipped when it got her/him? And I had always thought for safety you clipped their wings. So- now I am really trying to wrestle with both sides! i go to safety for her not to fly into a window, the ceiling fan etc… But now I am figuring in her happiness and mental well being. I really think that since she has been able to fly some, and now today has done successful recall flights-oofff- she would be flat out pissed and depressed to have this new found skill taken away. I have decided I just need to take all precautions - I show her different windows in the house every day, so she is pretty aware there is something in between the ’outside’, and Im starting to work on flying down to me from a height. UGH!!!! It still scares the crap out of me tho!!!!! I worry worry!! But, I let my dog off lead in my (very large) fenced yard, with a GPS tracker, so I guess i need to let my little feathered companion have a little freedom as well. Just need to take all precautions- you can do your best, and your best is what you have to work with.
 

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