URGENT - Need help deciding whether to clip or not

Aug 21, 2021
9
27
Parrots
female Sun Conure
Hi so I have a sun conure that is going to turn 2 next March 20th that has been with me for 2 years next May and just got a baby crimson bellied conure born June 1st in September. Both birds are female and currently being housed in the same room but separate cages.

The breeder told me she did a "modified baby clip" but baby has been able to fly and land on ceiling fans (turned off) since day 1 so I doubt how much of a clip it was.

I've been hesitant to have birds out together because sun is fine until baby gets too curious and flies up to her and then she gets aggressive and defensive and a little fight ensues. Baby is main antagonist and will purposely go on top of suns cage to bother her and start a fight through the bars of cage so I'm also trying to discourage her going on top.

The only time sun will initiate aggression is if she is on my shoulder and baby flies to other shoulder. She's also done weird little dances that I'm worried are possessive/mating behavior regarding me.

My main question is I'm considering temporarily clipping baby (sun is flighted too) so that she can't just dive bomb sun and to maybe help with the bonding of two birds and baby to me but am worried because she has been flying all these months and I don't want her to hurt herself or be scared. We also have predators in house but they don't have access to bird room and there is always close supervision.

I will of course still continue behavior training and trying to get them to at least tolerate each other but I really think clipping might help. We are also having house work done (I'm careful with toxic fumes) so there are loud noises and she is just really flighty and I need to be able to grab her in emergency. (I know clipped birds can still partially fly.) Would clipping make her even more flighty because she thinks she can't escape?

other alternative is harness training but I fear how long that will take.
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Clip a couple feathers on both sides and see how that works. If not enough, clip more.

I don’t think she’d be more flighty. She sounds aggressive, not scared.
 
OP
Daiquiri the Sun
Aug 21, 2021
9
27
Parrots
female Sun Conure
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  • Thread starter
  • #3
Clip a couple feathers on both sides and see how that works. If not enough, clip more.

I don’t think she’d be more flighty. She sounds aggressive, not scared.
Thank you for advice. Would I tell vet to do small clip or try to do myself? If myself do you have any videos as I'm not experienced in this.

And yes she does seem to be aggressive. I'm worried I'm building the same toxic relationship with baby as I have with sun in that only associating with me because she'll bite my Mom's lips if mom tries to give kiss hard but is scared of my hands. It's very confusing because she started off so sweet and I think sun may have been trigger. But yeah she is aggressive to mostly just mom and will not bite brother or dad but they also don't try to do the kiss so I'm not sure.
 

Terry57

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There is too much risk to do it yourself because if you accidentally clip a blood feather they can bleed to death. Always use a vet for nail and feather clipping unless you know exactly what you're doing.

A light clip may help with your training. It also may make her even more scared, which could come out as aggression.
She sounds more scared to me, my Phoe was the same way. He was terrified that one of the others would attack him and his behaviour seemed aggressive, but it wasn't. It was because he was on high alert, all the time. It took a long time before he felt completely safe.

If you clip, they should never be out together for your baby's safety, and mental health as well. She will still be afraid of your Sun but know that she can't escape now. As long as she knows that the Sun will never get to her because you are there to stop it, she should start feeling more secure. Please don't ever let the Sun get on her cage. Her cage should always be her safe place.

Spend equal time with both birds, and make sure they both get the same amount of attention. I would always start with your Sun since she was there first:)

Clipping can depress a bird, please be aware of that. My Pionus was depressed when we clipped his wings, and it took a couple of weeks after he regained his full flight before he was back to normal. We never clipped him again.

Phoe also wasn't a fan of hands. He eventually stepped up on my finger, but in the beginning I had to use a perch for him to step up on. Several of our birds were like that.
Always give them their favourite treat when they do something you ask of them, and make a big deal of it. I always say Good Girl/Boy over and over and them seem to enjoy the over the top praise as much as the treat:)

Best of luck to you!
 

wrench13

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CLipping is a trigger phrase with many parrot owners. It should be a decision made after thoughtful contemplation. And doen by a pro, unless you are QUITE certain how its done and what feathers to clip. ANy clip job should only be engough so the parrot cannot gain altitude when flying, allowing a glide to the floor. Too much and they drop like a rock and that is dangerous!

Personally, we keep Salty's wings clipped at the glide level, let them grow out a bit until he can gain altitude and then clip again. So, maybe 3 times a year? We have a small house and an open floor plan, so its too dangerous to let him fly much ( kitchen is in the same large room).

When trying to establish the initial bond with a new bird, clipping can help in preventing him from flying away at your approach every time. If you're going to do it, best get it done right off the bat, as capturing him, transporting to the vet, clipping and then back again is a definite trust buster.

All in my opinion. Yours - you must make your own decisions.
 

Ldy_BlueBird

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Jun 10, 2022
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Bleu (m/rip) CAG
Hi so I have a sun conure that is going to turn 2 next March 20th that has been with me for 2 years next May and just got a baby crimson bellied conure born June 1st in September. Both birds are female and currently being housed in the same room but separate cages.

The breeder told me she did a "modified baby clip" but baby has been able to fly and land on ceiling fans (turned off) since day 1 so I doubt how much of a clip it was.

I've been hesitant to have birds out together because sun is fine until baby gets too curious and flies up to her and then she gets aggressive and defensive and a little fight ensues. Baby is main antagonist and will purposely go on top of suns cage to bother her and start a fight through the bars of cage so I'm also trying to discourage her going on top.

The only time sun will initiate aggression is if she is on my shoulder and baby flies to other shoulder. She's also done weird little dances that I'm worried are possessive/mating behavior regarding me.

My main question is I'm considering temporarily clipping baby (sun is flighted too) so that she can't just dive bomb sun and to maybe help with the bonding of two birds and baby to me but am worried because she has been flying all these months and I don't want her to hurt herself or be scared. We also have predators in house but they don't have access to bird room and there is always close supervision.

I will of course still continue behavior training and trying to get them to at least tolerate each other but I really think clipping might help. We are also having house work done (I'm careful with toxic fumes) so there are loud noises and she is just really flighty and I need to be able to grab her in emergency. (I know clipped birds can still partially fly.) Would clipping make her even more flighty because she thinks she can't escape?

other alternative is harness training but I fear how long that will take.
NOOoooooo!!!
Clipping ANY flight feathers only handicaps your bird and puts her at risk of serious injury! Especially if she is already flighted - she won't understand what is wrong and so will probably just try harder to fly, risking injury with every attempt. Not to mention you're doing a pretty big number on her trust and sense of security. Clipping can cause neurosis in sensitive birds who often NEVER emotionally recover and so give up ever flying again (my CAG never flew again after his previous person clipped his wings). Understand there is no "temporary". You're taking away her WINGS until her next major molt - for some birds that's up to a year!

I HIGHLY recommend you put some time and effort into recall training - which will be WAY more fun and WAY more effective for both of you in the long run.
 

Briburd

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Your crimson belly will most likely still be able to fly with clipped wings if he/she already knows how to. I don’t think trying a small trim will be detrimental but I don’t think it is the answer to your problems per se. In my opinion time is what it’s going to take. Good luck! Also post a pic because I want to see da baby😍
 

Kentuckienne

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Ah you have stumbled upon what passes for religious wars in parrotdom. You will hear everything from “always clip, my parrot died from hitting a window/flying out an open door/being snatched out of the air by previously friendly pet/hit ceiling fan/crawled under cover and was smothered” to “how dare you even contemplate doing such an immoral and unnatural thing to a beautify bird”. You will have to decide based on YOUR individual home environment and bird.

I will say that the very act of keeping a pet parrot is unnatural and wrong. Parrots are not domesticated animals. They are flocking birds, who form strong pair bonds, fly to escape danger, and forage for food all day while roosting together for safety at night. We disrupt that by preventing them from being in a flock of others of their species. We disrupt that by preventing them from forming a pair bond of 24-hour companionship by not being available to them every second and by having our own mates and families. They can’t escape us because we have cages. They can’t forage for food all day - maybe some of us provide foraging options for small bits of food. We feed them what’s convenient for us, mostly. We keep our houses artificially lit, and there’s no big flock of mates to sleep with. Everything about keeping a pet parrot is unnatural for the parrot and in some way goes against their natural instincts and behaviors.

But we have them, and the right thing to do is to keep them as happy and healthy as possible. If they fly, they may very well strike obstacles and die or escape. If they don’t fly, they may develop mental issues and suffer physical problems by not exercising their muscles and breathing systems. If they can fly, they may choose to avoid people and be difficult to tame. If they aren’t tame, they may lose their home. If they go from home to home, they may develop mental problems that make it less likely for them to find a place to be happy. Taking on a pet parrot is an enormous responsibility.

That‘s why it’s always best to adopt a parrot from a rescue and give it a home. Forever. Once you have the parrot, you have to make all these complex choices on its behalf. Clipping or not clipping wings is one of the smaller choices. A bird that can fly will get into things it shouldn’t like another bird’s territory, may chew on electrical cords, may find something toxic to eat, may get eaten. They will also be able to express a natural gift and instinct that is a marvelous thing: flight. Maybe if everyone kept parrots in bonded pairs in large aviaries? if you have a parrot, please do your best to see that it gets the best food, the biggest cage, the most freedom, the greatest security, and the most love you can give it. If you feel you have a dangerous environment, don’t get guilt-tripped into letting your bird fly around. If you have the means to provide an aviary, don’t get frightened into keeping your bird confined from danger.
 
OP
Daiquiri the Sun
Aug 21, 2021
9
27
Parrots
female Sun Conure
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
Your crimson belly will most likely still be able to fly with clipped wings if he/she already knows how to. I don’t think trying a small trim will be detrimental but I don’t think it is the answer to your problems per se. In my opinion time is what it’s going to take. Good luck! Also post a pic because I want to see da baby😍
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have pictures of both of my birds on my introduction post. Here is an extra pic of my Crimson though. Her red belly is just starting to come in and she's so pretty.
image000000_02.jpg
 

Terry57

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have pictures of both of my birds on my introduction post. Here is an extra pic of my Crimson though. Her red belly is just starting to come in and she's so pretty.
View attachment 46699
This picture of her is fantastic, you should definitely enter this in one of the POTM contests!!
I just want to mention to make sure that all the flowers are safe for her to chew on:)
 

HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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This picture of her is fantastic, you should definitely enter this in one of the POTM contests!!
I just want to mention to make sure that all the flowers are safe for her to chew on:)
Only thing I have doubts about are any lilies and if the bouquet was sprayed with bug killer.
 

Briburd

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have pictures of both of my birds on my introduction post. Here is an extra pic of my Crimson though. Her red belly is just starting to come in and she's so pretty.w
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have pictures of both of my birds on my introduction post. Here is an extra pic of my Crimson though. Her red belly is just starting to come in and she's so pretty.
View attachment 46699
What a beauty! Thanks for posting the pic. ☺️
 

bill_e

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I used to clip Nike ov ER the summer months when we take her camping but lately I've been keeping her flighted all year.
I have a big old (like 1760) house and when her clipping was seasonal she seemed to do a lot of exploring and if you weren't careful she would follow you out the door.

I have found that setting up perches in my living room (a total of 3) gives her some safe places local to the room and she really hasn't ventured out of there in over a year... just a thought.

When I do get her clipped we aleays leave the outtermost flight fathers and settled on clipping the next 5. She is a very, very strong flier and it doesn't take much for her to gain altitude after she's been clipped.

Here's the chart that we use when she goes to the vet for clipping
ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 19 09.01.gif
 

maddox

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For what it's worth, I am wholly against clipping wings, but it really depends on the situation. If you have any larger animals, like a dog or a cat, clipping his wings could inhibit his ability to escape a dangerous situation. I chose to keep Maddox's flight feathers so he can feel comfortable knowing that he can fly from stressful situations.
 

bill_e

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For what it's worth, I am wholly against clipping wings, but it really depends on the situation. If you have any larger animals, like a dog or a cat, clipping his wings could inhibit his ability to escape a dangerous situation. I chose to keep Maddox's flight feathers so he can feel comfortable knowing that he can fly from stressful situations.
Not an argument, just an opinion. I agree that a reason not to clip wings can be that other animals are in the house but based on my experience, none of my birds would every have been able to escape from a pouncing dog or cat.... birds are slow as compared to dogs and cats in a confined space like a room.
Having said that, my experience with clipped wings, which I do to the extent that they can't gain altitude or just safely glide to the floor creates exactly the circumstance that you need to avoid.
Even a flighted bird that misjudges a landing and ends up low enough for a cat or dog to get interested is at risk.

I currently have 2 cats and a Hound. Previously I had a rat terrier who would totally ignore the bird and the cats tend to be off in to her rooms in my big house so I was less concerned. Once I got a Hound things changed to the point that Nike went from being out from 10am-10pm daily to only evenings when I'm with her. If I'm in the house but not around then the dog is crated when Nike is getting some exercize as I don't trust anyone else to be as vigilent as I am. When I'm away on business, Nike remains caged.

My bottom line is, clipped or not, unsupervised birds and domestic pets is a recipe for a disaster.
 

DonnaBudgie

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Jan 24, 2023
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Windham, Maine
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Budgies. Lotsa Budgies.
Hi so I have a sun conure that is going to turn 2 next March 20th that has been with me for 2 years next May and just got a baby crimson bellied conure born June 1st in September. Both birds are female and currently being housed in the same room but separate cages.

The breeder told me she did a "modified baby clip" but baby has been able to fly and land on ceiling fans (turned off) since day 1 so I doubt how much of a clip it was.

I've been hesitant to have birds out together because sun is fine until baby gets too curious and flies up to her and then she gets aggressive and defensive and a little fight ensues. Baby is main antagonist and will purposely go on top of suns cage to bother her and start a fight through the bars of cage so I'm also trying to discourage her going on top.

The only time sun will initiate aggression is if she is on my shoulder and baby flies to other shoulder. She's also done weird little dances that I'm worried are possessive/mating behavior regarding me.

My main question is I'm considering temporarily clipping baby (sun is flighted too) so that she can't just dive bomb sun and to maybe help with the bonding of two birds and baby to me but am worried because she has been flying all these months and I don't want her to hurt herself or be scared. We also have predators in house but they don't have access to bird room and there is always close supervision.

I will of course still continue behavior training and trying to get them to at least tolerate each other but I really think clipping might help. We are also having house work done (I'm careful with toxic fumes) so there are loud noises and she is just really flighty and I need to be able to grab her in emergency. (I know clipped birds can still partially fly.) Would clipping make her even more flighty because she thinks she can't escape?

other alternative is harness training but I fear how long that will take.
I am not against very conservative trimming of the primary flight feathers. I hesitate to even call what I'm talking about "clipping" which implies rendering the poor bird unable to fly which is cruel. A conservative trimming allows the bird to fly but not too far and not too high for their own safety and to make him easier to handle and I do NOT want my birds flying high enough to land on top of my ceiling fan. But I would think that only trimming one of your conures would be kind of unfair to baby. Personally, I would lightly trim both birds or neither of them. Your sun needs to learn to get along just as much as baby does. Just my opinion and I'm sure others will disagree. I dont think there is any wring or right answer except I don't know of anyone on this forum who would recommend clipping a parrot's wings enough to prevent the bird from flying except when absolutely necessary.
 

DonnaBudgie

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Jan 24, 2023
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Budgies. Lotsa Budgies.
Hi so I have a sun conure that is going to turn 2 next March 20th that has been with me for 2 years next May and just got a baby crimson bellied conure born June 1st in September. Both birds are female and currently being housed in the same room but separate cages.

The breeder told me she did a "modified baby clip" but baby has been able to fly and land on ceiling fans (turned off) since day 1 so I doubt how much of a clip it was.

I've been hesitant to have birds out together because sun is fine until baby gets too curious and flies up to her and then she gets aggressive and defensive and a little fight ensues. Baby is main antagonist and will purposely go on top of suns cage to bother her and start a fight through the bars of cage so I'm also trying to discourage her going on top.

The only time sun will initiate aggression is if she is on my shoulder and baby flies to other shoulder. She's also done weird little dances that I'm worried are possessive/mating behavior regarding me.

My main question is I'm considering temporarily clipping baby (sun is flighted too) so that she can't just dive bomb sun and to maybe help with the bonding of two birds and baby to me but am worried because she has been flying all these months and I don't want her to hurt herself or be scared. We also have predators in house but they don't have access to bird room and there is always close supervision.

I will of course still continue behavior training and trying to get them to at least tolerate each other but I really think clipping might help. We are also having house work done (I'm careful with toxic fumes) so there are loud noises and she is just really flighty and I need to be able to grab her in emergency. (I know clipped birds can still partially fly.) Would clipping make her even more flighty because she thinks she can't escape?

other alternative is harness training but I fear how long that will take.
I would also place something on top of Sun's cage (a piece of cardboard if its flat topped, a towel if not) when Baby is out of her cage so Sun doesn't attack Baby's feet when she walks on it. Many birds take offense when another bird does that and Baby is liable to get her feet badly bitten unless you do something to prevent it. A conservative wing trim isn't enough to stop Baby from landing on Sun's cage.
 

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