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To Clip or Not To Clip...

To Clip or not to Clip...

  • Clip those suckers!

    Votes: 2 7.7%
  • Long and luscious!

    Votes: 24 92.3%

  • Total voters
    26

CupcakeKeator

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Hey everyone!

So quick question here. My little bird is a year old now and his wings have finally grown back from when the breeder clipped them.

1. How many of you keep your birbs wings clipped? and if so, what are the benefits you feel to keeping them clipped?


2. How many of you leave your birbs wings to grow and allow them to fly? And if so, what are your pros and cons with keeping them luscious feathers long?


(Please this was not meant to start an argument. I'm just trying to figure out if I personally want to keep them unclipped as they are and working on training him to come when I call. or... just keeping them clipped. I know there are pros and cons to both.)
 

fluffypoptarts

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Everyone is flighted in my house. There are both psychological and physical health benefits to birdies remaining flighted. Weight is healthier, fitness is better; independence and happiness. They love flying, and they love being able to fly to me, to their snack/play stand, or just to make joyful (f)laps around the room.

Also, if they ever escape, having the power of flight is likely their only chance of survival (even a clipped bird can get some distance under the right conditions, but after that, they’re stuck).
 

Mizzely

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Birds were meant to fly. Their entire physiology, from their bones, to their mental health, to the way they breathe, are all evolved to support flight.

They cannot get adequate exercise when they cannot fly. It would be like you trying to run a marathon on your knees. Because of this, birds who are clipped are at risk for health issues, specifically ones related to the heart. They are also at greater risk for unwanted behaviors like feather destruction and screaming.

I have kept clipped birds, and the amount of confidence that they get from being able to fly again is IMMENSE. To the point where even when I am being divebombed by my quaker, I don't consider clipping as on option.

Clipping does not keep them from flying away. My mother in law lost a cockatiel that was clipped. He had no muscle, no way of navigating, so when the wind picked him up off her shoulder he was at the mercy of the storm that night. He died.

If you have other pets in the house, flying also gives them a quick escape route.


I have lost a bird to the great outdoors too. Koopa, 3 years ago May 25th, flew and hit a tear in my screen door and I never saw her again. I still would not have clipped her.

The cons are the same as having birds in general - being mindful of doors, windows, etc.


The feeling of having a bird fly to you because they WANT to be with you vs simply stepping up because they are reliant on you is magical :)

I honestly don't think I could keep birds if I couldn't have them flighted.
 

Hankmacaw

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Unless you have a medical or safety reason to clip a bird - DON'T. @Mizzely is absolutely right - clipping a bird is bad for their physical health and mental health. Long, luscious and beautiful have nothing to do with it.
 

Garet

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2. I like leaving my birds unclipped. From personal experience, clipped birds are a nightmare to deal with;
  • My birds who were clipped all tended to bash into things.
  • Rough landings. Krem sprained his ankle and could have done much worse.
  • Constantly have to be on you to get anywhere. There are days when Krem wants to be out but wants to do it on his own. I'm essentially stuck being a helicopter parront and it frustrates him. So I have to figure out which is the lesser of two evils; denying him his independence and freedom or teaching him to be unnaturally attached to me for the rest of his life.
  • I nearly stepped on him this morning. This was entirely my fault, but if I had been walking just a little faster, his terrified squeak might not have alerted me in time, as I was momentarily distracted by another bird.
  • The birds know it's unnatural. My flock will pick on my only non-flighted bird, and it's hard on him.
  • Watching them try their hardest to fly only to crash is absolutely heartbreaking.
  • The bird has no choice but to trust you. It's kind of ruined my experience with raising a baby. I don't know how much of his trust I earned and how much is him giving in to being handled because he has to.
  • It's taxing. My other birds aren't nearly reliant on me.
  • If I want my birds not to be in a room with me, I can gently shoo them away. With him I have to grab him off my shoulder.
 
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CupcakeKeator

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Unless you have a medical or safety reason to clip a bird - DON'T. @Mizzely is absolutely right - clipping a bird is bad for their physical health and mental health. Long, luscious and beautiful have nothing to do with it.
I was just being silly when I said long and beautiful. My concern was safety and mobility. So many pros and cons to each.
 

CupcakeKeator

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I think I'm just going to have to focus more on training him with wings, It's just so hard when he gets startled and flies every which way.

I will say it was convenient when he was on my shoulder, needed to relieve himself, he flew off of me, went, and then asked to come back.

I'm just a worried Mom because he has flown into the window twice. It has internal blinds in the glass, so I've kept those closed, but he still decided to fly into it. I'm not sure what is so appealing, maybe he sees reflection? not sure. But I've read horror stories of snapped necks, due to smacking into the window or the wall. But I suppose as you've all mentioned, even when he was clipped he was able to hover to where he wanted as well.

I just hope he gets less clumsy with his flying... he's a total mess at the moment.
 

Garet

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That muscle mass point brought up is also very pertinent. Mims put on a lot of healthy weight as she started flying. Krem is tiny and his chest and shoulders have nothing to them. He looks like Mims did when I got her; chunky tummy with nothing up top.
 

CupcakeKeator

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Flying is a skill that needs to be practiced. They do get better!
Haha, I sure hope so. He is only a year, and just got his flight feathers back. Any suggestions on training them to come? I've been trying with his favorite snack, almonds. I hold out my hand and make the same small whistle sound with the almond in between by thumb and pointer finger. but... he just stares at me all upset cause im keeping the almond from him. no little wing flaps or nothing, doesnt even seem to attempt to come over to get the almond. only time he flies is when he is startled.
 

Brittany0208

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Java is fully-flighted even though his tail feathers broke off due to malnutrition. He's going through a molt now so I'm starting to see beautiful feathers. I thought about clipping him in the beginning for his safety since he is uncoordinated and very jumpy, but since Vasas are very strong fliers even with clipped wings, I'd have to do a really harsh clip, which I wasn't going to do to him. The vet recommended a light clip, but I knew better, so I declined. I've padded my walls and put a baby gate over my window since he's prone to flying into it. I've also covered my linoleum floor in colorful foam tiles so he has a padded landing if he falls. My room now looks like a daycare but at least he's safe. Of course there are pros and cons to clipping and keeping your bird fully-flighted, but birds were meant to fly. I would never declaw a cat, dock a dog's ears or tails, and I wouldn't alter a bird. It just means I have to be more vigilant and teach him recall. He has been a lot more confident since he realizes he can hover a bit, so I can only imagine how his confidence will boost once he learns to steer and land properly. I would only ever consider clipping him if it were medical, such as him going blind and flying sporadically into everything, but even then, I would work extra hard to help him learn to navigate without sight.
 

Hankmacaw

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Just like you and I as infants - if we never practiced, never fell, never got a scratch we would have never learned to walk - then our lives would have been greatly depressed and saddened.
 

Mizzely

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Haha, I sure hope so. He is only a year, and just got his flight feathers back. Any suggestions on training them to come? I've been trying with his favorite snack, almonds. I hold out my hand and make the same small whistle sound with the almond in between by thumb and pointer finger. but... he just stares at me all upset cause im keeping the almond from him. no little wing flaps or nothing, doesnt even seem to attempt to come over to get the almond. only time he flies is when he is startled.

Start with shorter distances, like 5 inches. Establish a word for what you want. Then when he is coming to you at that distance increase it slowly :)
 

Garet

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Flappies are a good place to start. Let him sit on your finger and slowly raise and lower your arm like one of those old action figures that come with karate chop action... in slow motion. That will stimulate your baby to flap and build up muscle tone. It can only do so much, unfortunately.
 

Zephyria

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I also prefer leaving my birds unclipped. I've adopted clipped birds but I find them to be more relaxed and they seem happier and more confident when they're fully flighted.

This may mean they can fly off and leave you during a training or bonding session....but patience is key to the game anyway, and you're bird letting you know they need a break isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 

Shinobi

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Wing clipping is a very contentious subject. The choice to clip your bird's wings is a personal decision. I disagree with wing clipping, but I can't tell other people what they can or can't do to their birds. But if it is to be done then it must be in the best interest of the bird, not the human. I believe that birds that fly are healthier both mentally and physically.
By clipping the birds wings you're forcing it to interact with you, You need to earn your bird's friendship and respect, not force it and if you read a lot of posts on training, there is one common theme "don't force the bird". Some people call wing clipping "forced helplessness' others call it "forced dependence". either way it's the same thing. The bird is now handicapped which makes it impossible to for the bird to successfully escape or control a stressful situation.

The belief that clipped birds are easier to train is questionable. However if your bird is flighted it will require more training which involves more time. I have read stories where people have clipped their birds and found the bird becomes well behaved and compliance. Then they let the clip grow out and the well behaved and compliance bird becomes a little demon. Why? it seems that the bird was dependent on the human for it needs, but when the bird regain the ability to fly, the human becomes surplus to requirements because the bird isn't dependent on the human anymore.

I don't think it's safer for a bird to be clipped, has some hazards are eliminated, but new hazards come into play. Safety inside the home is another reason why most bird owners choose to clip their pets. Indoor life poses perils that birds do not normally face in the wild. The purpose of the training wing clip is to restrict the flight of the bird within the home. However, a ‘training’ wing clip does not prevent, stop or guarantee that your bird will not fly. Especially outside, a gust of wind can give the bird the lift it needs to fly away. If you want to take your pet outside, train it to accept a bird harness.

Reducing the risk of escape (e.g. by flying quickly through an open door). But a clipped bird can still fly.:headsmack:
Reducing risk of injury (e.g. flying into windows, ceiling fans, ovens, doorways, sinks, and toilets.) in free flying household birds. But a clipped bird can still fly.:headsmack:
Injuries from crash landings (particularly damaged chests, cuts near the vent and broken bones, blood loss from breaking blood feathers,). But a clipped bird can still fly.:headsmack:
Enabling birds to play more safely outside of their cage, but the opposite is true if they need to escape from other pets and children. But a clipped bird can still fly.:headsmack:

Reducing aggression in a dominant bird. The theory of a dominant bird is a myth.
phobias and feather picking - Yes psychological issues.:bignono:
inability to escape predator attacks. But a clipped bird can still fly.:headsmack:


Birds with ‘butchered’ wing clips fly like a rock.
 
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Lwalker

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That muscle mass point brought up is also very pertinent. Mims put on a lot of healthy weight as she started flying. Krem is tiny and his chest and shoulders have nothing to them. He looks like Mims did when I got her; chunky tummy with nothing up top.
I have two GCCs.

Cricket, I got as a baby and he is fully flighted, brave, cocky and has strong muscles and great flying/landing control.

Watson is the same age but I rehomed him at age one and he was clipped. I don't think he ever flew. He has been fully feathered for over a year but cannot fly. He flutters weakly and has no strength for lift or landing control. He is so much lighter than Cricket and is limited to places he can climb. He can only flutter downward but cannot take off from a low place.

The physical difference between them is sad. I had hoped Watson would learn but not so far. He flaps a lot but without the muscle he gets no results. The vet thinks he was clipped too soon and too often by his previous owner so he didn't develop properly
 

webchirp

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I have a foster cheek who is not tame and has stress seizures. She wants so badly to be out with the others but she is an instigator of fighting to boot. The only thing I can think of to allow her out of cage time and keep her in one spot is a clip. Plus I do not want her flying in fear around the room. I don't think her little body could handle too much stress.

I had done a light clip on Giggie years ago. She was crazy flying and crashing into corners. Dr. O clipped just a few flight feathers that made her work a bit harder...once her flight grew back out, she was over corner crashing. It was kind of a weird episode in cheekie land.

I have a friend who adopted two Akron cheeks. He clips because he takes them everywhere...the store, work, etc.
 
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