Should I Clip My Bird’s Wings
Are you a new bird owner? Perhaps you are unsure about what kind of regular care your bird will need. Of course you need to feed and love it, but did you know that many bird owners choose to have their bird’s wings clipped? Wing clipping is one of the most controversial topics in pet bird ownership. In this article, we will discuss how wing clipping is done and what information you need to know before making this decision.
Although the thought of clipping a pet bird’s wings is horrendous to some bird owners, clipping is a very common procedure done to pet birds. It is done to prevent the bird from flying away and from flying into harmful household objects like windows and ceiling fans. The idea behind wing clipping is to cut the “primary feathers”. Primary feathers are the long feathers that are closer to the wing tip. These feathers are very important for the bird’s ability to fly and to steer while flying. Some people will clip (cut) only one wing. When this is done, it is believed that the bird will not be able to fly, but will instead float down to the ground in a spiral. The other option is to clip both wings. People who prefer to clip only one wing believe that if both wings are clipped, the bird may end up crashing to the ground if it attempts to fly. This is very often not the case; in fact many veterinarians may argue that trimming only one wing sets the bird off balance and actually increases the risk of injury.
Most veterinarians will choose to cut the primary feathers closest to the end of the wing. There are different clipping techniques that may or may not leave the last two feathers on the wing to make the clip more pleasing to the eye. Either way, the feathers are usually cut about a half to one centimeter from the base. Another thing to keep in mind is that the feathers should always be cut in a way that protects the “blood feathers”.
Blood feathers are the immature growing feathers, which have a good blood supply running up the center of them. These feathers are delicate, and damage to a blood feather is an emergency. If your bird breaks a blood feather and is bleeding from its wing, it will need to see a veterinarian immediately. It is possible for a bird to bleed out and die from a broken blood feather.
The number of primary feathers that need to be clipped depends on the size of the bird. The lighter the bird, the more the primary feathers need to be clipped. You have to be careful because some very light birds may actually still manage to fly even with their primary feathers cut.
How old should your bird be when you start clipping its wings? Most people choose to wait until their bird is mature before clipping the wings. Allowing a young bird to fly will help build up its muscles. They will also learn to land properly and safely, which will be important if you decide to clip their wings.
How long will a clipping last? This depends on your bird. Remember that feathers naturally fall out, so your bird will eventually lose those clipped feathers, and new, full feathers will grow in their place. It can take anywhere from weeks to months for your bird to need another wing trim. It is highly recommended that you take your bird to the veterinarian to have its wings clipped in a manner that is safe and designed for your bird’s needs.
Keep in mind that many people choose not to clip their bird’s wings. They may have different reasons, such as the thought that we are taking away one of a bird’s most natural behaviours. Other owners may have their bird in a setting which will not allow it to escape.
Wing clipping is a very personal decision. You need to take into account your own needs, your bird’s needs, and your veterinarian’s opinion. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works with your bird. Always keep in mind that clipping your bird’s wings cannot be a substitute for proper observance and care; a bird with clipped wings can still escape!