To Clip or Not to Clip

lplummer52

Member
Apr 19, 2016
386
13
Indialantic, FL
Parrots
"Birdie". Sun Conure
Wings that is. Birdie's wings have never been clipped, but I'm thinking about having it done. She loves to fly and flying is how she gets around the house and porch. She's only caged at night and if we leave the house. But she's ruined a lampshade and is making quick work of a wooden dresser. AND she's escaped twice. Both times she checked into nearby motels and we got her back. My dilemma is that I'm afraid it will change her personality. I think it would break my heart to see her trying to fly and fluttering to the ground. My Poodle, on the other hand, might like that A LOT! I feel like I'd be doing it for us, not her. As tame and people friendly as she is, she's still a bird. I feel like it's akin to de-clawing a cat. :orange:
 

Classy

Member
Apr 17, 2018
66
0
Arizona
Parrots
Lenny (Turquoise Green Cheek Conure)
This is one of the most controversial topics in parrot keeping, so expect many different answers. For me, I keep Lenny flighted. He seems to enjoy flying so much, and I wouldn't want to take that away from him. Most of the time when he is out with me we are together in my room, which is completely parrot safe. Maybe you could try parrot safeing your house or atleast a few rooms.
 

MonicaMc

Well-known member
Sep 12, 2012
7,960
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Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
Cockatiel - Casey 2001;
Wild Caught ARN - Sylphie 2013
So I'm seeing two issues...

1.) She's chewing on things you don't want her to chew on.

2.) She's escaped.


If we look at the first one, chewing on things you don't want her to chew on, then the question becomes, what do you want her to chew on instead? And how can you make that more rewarding? Does she have enough things to chew on? What bout foraging activities? And in what ways can you make it more rewarding for her to chew on her own things?


And the second, escape. This simply comes down to how can you make your home safer? What can you place across the doors that she can't fly through? Or perhaps setting up a 'safety hatch' with door in such a way that one door can't be open unless the other is closed?
 
OP
lplummer52

lplummer52

Member
Apr 19, 2016
386
13
Indialantic, FL
Parrots
"Birdie". Sun Conure
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Oh yeah, she's got lots of chew toys. But she likes drama, and goes for things that will get a big reaction. We've pretty much parrot-proofed the house...wires, outlets,etc., so damaging some things doesn't really bother me that my much. We'll have to be extra careful with doors I guess. Does anyone have experience with flighted birds being clipped after years of being able to fly?
 

brighterdaysaviary

New member
Jun 11, 2018
77
0
Florida, USA
Parrots
An Amazon Parrot and many Lovebirds.
In my opinion, I would not recommend it. If your bird has been flying for years and you suddenly clip her wings I think she would not be happy about that.

I always recommend people to supervise their birds at all times so they don't get into things they aren't supposed to.
 

EllenD

New member
Aug 20, 2016
3,979
30
State College, PA
Parrots
Senegal Parrot named "Kane"; Yellow-Sided Green Cheek Conure named "Bowie"; Blue Quaker Parrot named "Lita Ford"; Cockatiel named "Duff"; 8 American/English Budgie Hybrids; Ringneck Dove named "Dylan"
First of all, you should ALWAYS supervise your bird and what she's doing. Period. She can't be allowed to chew on furniture and such, no so-much because she's ruining things, but because she may start chewing on something that is toxic/poisonous to her, such as paint/stain/varnish on furniture, stain-proofing on carpeting, etc. It only takes a couple tiny flecks of toxic paint or wood stain to kill a little bird. So you need to make sure that when she is out of her cage flying around, you know where she is and what she is doing. And as Monica already stated, when you see her start to chew on anything that isn't her's, immediately give her something that is her's to chew on...

As far as her actually flying out of your house, i don't know how that's happening, as most bird-owners are not lucky enough to have that happen once and get their bird back, let alone twice...Three Strikes and You're Out is probably a safe-bet at this point, so please, try to figure out a system for not opening the doors to your house when she is out of her cage...Make signs that say "THE BIRD IS OUT OF HER CAGE" and stick them to every door to the outside when she is out free in the house, that way everyone inside the house will know not to just open the door, or even worse, to prop it open for some reason...That just can't keep happening, as I already said, you have no idea how extremely lucky you are...Take a look in the "Lost and Found" forum here and read the endless number of heartbreaking posts of members who accidentally let their bird's slip outside and have not ever seen them again...it's devastating.

***As far as clipping wings goes, we all here need to remember, before we post, that every single person has a different bird, in a different house, with different people in the house, all with different schedules and routines, etc. What is good for one person isn't necessarily good for someone else. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else. And clipping a bird's wings is a very personal decision for the bird's owner, and in my experience it's never an easy decision for the owner, such as in this post...if this was an easy decision for the OP they wouldn't have asked about it in the first place, they would have just clipped their bird's wings and that would have been it. So before being judgmental and just automatically telling the OP "Don't clip your bird's wings, it's not fair to the bird, they'll be much happier flighted, etc.", try to put yourselves in the OP's shoes. She's had her bird escape from her home twice, and been lucky enough to get her back both times...chances are she's not going to be so lucky a third time. And although "fixing the issue" as to how the bird is getting outside would be ideal, sometimes that isn't an option, sometimes the reason it's happening is unknown, etc. For one reason or another it keeps happening, and in the immediate, the most important thing is to keep the bird from being able to get out a third time...So maybe clipping the bird's wings and then using the couple of months that the bird can't fly to discover all of the issues and fix all of the problems is the safest solution for this OP.

The important things to know about clipping your bird's wings are that #1) Though it will most-likely cause your bird anxiety while it's being toweled and clipped, it doesn't actually cause the bird any pain at all, IF DONE PROPERLY AND CORRECTLY, #2) You must have her wings clipped by someone who knows what they are doing, either a Certified Avian Vet, a long-time bird Breeder, etc. so that your bird's wing feathers are not damaged in any permanent way, so that no blood-feathers are cut, and so that no pain is caused, #3) ONLY HAVE HER OUTER-MOST 3-4 PRIMARY FLIGHT FEATHERS ON EACH WING CLIPPED, any more is excessive, unnecessary, and can cause future issues, and #4) If the clip is done well and only the outer-most 3-4 primary flight feathers are clipped, your bird should grow her feathers back and be able to fly again in about 2 months or so...It's painless and it's temporary is done by a professional, so don't feel any guilt about those issues...

***The best advice that I can give you is to Please Utilize The Time While Your Bird's Wings Are Clipped To Train Your Bird And Make The Necessary Changes To Your Household!!! While I don't like to clip a bird's wings, I do feel that it is sometimes necessary, but only on a temporary basis. I do NOT think that a bird should be kept permanently clipped simply because it's owner doesn't want to be responsible for supervising their bird or making sure that proper procedures and routines are put into place in their home and with all of the people who live in the home in order to keep the bird safe and keep it from escaping to the outside. So please, if you do clip your bird's wings, utilize that 2 or so months while he cannot fly to make a plan for what you and the other people who live in your house will do after he can fly again...
 

Jottlebot

Member
Aug 29, 2012
507
14
Shropshire, UK
Parrots
Orange-winged Amazon - RIP Charlie,
Spock - Common Mynah,
McCoy - Alexandrine
I think you know you're doing it for you not her. I couldn't do it.
 

Skittys_Daddy

Well-known member
Jan 6, 2014
2,172
57
Lewiston, Maine
Parrots
Neotropical Pigeon - "Skittles" (born 3/29/10)
Cockatiel - "Peaches" (1995-2015) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sammy"
(1989-2000) R.I.P.
Budgie - "Sandy"
(1987-1989) R.I.P.
I honestly cannot see recommending trimming a sunnie. They are such active and social birds that trimming them, IMO, would likely create all sorts of behavioral problems including incessant screaming. Skittles was a major screamer for the first few years I got him. But the more I let him be out and with me, the quieter he became. He's free-flighted now and is the complete opposite of how he used to be.

They are very energetic birds and without the ability to fly, that energy gets pent up and comes out in negative ways.

Of course I've never been a fan of clipping to be honest. But I think its a very bad idea to have a clipped parrot in the same house as another animal (dog or cat). Without the ability to escape, uhuh, couldn't see that as doable.

As for the escape problem, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of escape. For me, I'd exhaust ALL possible options before I considered clipping.

But like others have said, this is probably the MOST controversial subject on this forum.
 
OP
lplummer52

lplummer52

Member
Apr 19, 2016
386
13
Indialantic, FL
Parrots
"Birdie". Sun Conure
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  • Thread starter
  • #9
Thanks everyone for the input. As far as supervision, she is always with us, so is always supervised. All the destruction has occurred when she's with my husband in his office while he's on the computer. We've agreed he needs to close the door to his office while he's working. Putting a sign on the front door is a great idea and I've done that already. When we know people are coming over, I always put her on the back porch (screened). Believe me, life in our house totally revolves around Birdie. She runs the show. And we don't mind in the least. She is a constant source of amusement and wonder. We will be extra vigilant from now on. Thanks again.
 

wrench13

Well-known member
Parrot of the Month πŸ†
Nov 22, 2015
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Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Salty is clipped. Until such time as my wife Geri regains a lot of mobility, Salty will remain so. Flight would allow him to perch in places ( and get into mischief) beyond her ability to retrieve him in situations where free flight might pose a danger or even a chance to fly out of a door ( ie during a Peapod delivery). Salty does not seem to share the experience of some, where clipping produces a higher level of screaming. He has his loud times and his quiet times, and his loud times are ot all hat loud ( mostly talking, singing, and some Amazon speak- which sounds like screaming).

Clipping IS one of the most controversial topics on any parrot forum. I believe it is up to the parront and the family situation the parrot is living in. No one should beat upon another for the decision made within each household.
 

DiscoDuck

Banned
Banned
Jun 9, 2012
405
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2
7
Wilmington DE - Landenberg PA
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Rudy - Hybrid Ruby Macaw Born 6/6/15 Scarlet Mother/Green Wing Father - Oliver BFA RIP 3/15/15 @ 34yo. Without you, I would not have Rudy. Thank you!
No one has commented on another option besides to clip or not to clip. Someone qualified needs to comment on this fact.

I have a macaw, his last 3 wing tips were clipped at a little more than 50% of the feather length. This was done at 4 months of age.

Now, he could fly then, albeit laboriously. Knowing what I know now of him at 3 yrs old. I sometimes think of trimming his feathers back. That's all I do now, just think about it. There may come a time when I will clip him, for example if he becomes too difficult to handle during our walks.
discoduck-albums-rudy-brandywine-picture19911-im-so-happy-i-can-fly.jpg
 
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IndySE

Active member
May 5, 2016
419
36
Southern California
Parrots
Kermit, ♀ GCC (Green Demon)
DiscoDuck, I assume you're talking about a partial clip? Yes I think those are a good option if you want to reduce the amount of power and speed in the bird's flight but not their ability. It's a great way to reduce the height they achieve as well as how hard they can smack into walls/windows. I used a partial clip for Kermit when she was learning to fly and I didn't want her to fly full-power in a house she was unfamiliar with -- it worked great for her. I think of it somewhat like "training wheels" for birds.

If sun conure's flight is anything like a green cheek conure's flight, a partial clip will likely take off 2-3 of the first flight feathers rather than the typical 5-8 flights in clips.
 

bill_e

Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month πŸ†
Dec 24, 2015
1,194
298
New Hampshire
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Nike a Hawk Head Parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus)
Two escapes! I would clip without hesitation. You can first try a show clip...leaving the outside two feather and then clipping the next 4-6 depending on the bird. If it's done right it will allow the bird to still fly around, just not gain altitude. This slight handicap is enough to allow you to react if an escape in imminent. Nike's wings are growing back in but she is still staying put more than when she was fully flighted.

Our issue is not chewing...it's the poop ;)
 

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