Wing Trim

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     The information that is given here is to be used at your own discretion.  We will not be held responsible for injury that you may cause your bird or the loss of your bird.
We Highly recommend that before you try clipping your own birds wings, that you visit a breeder, a reliable pet store or an Avian Vet to have them show you the proper way first.

They can Still Fly!

Even though your birds wings are clipped they can still fly.  You are not preventing them from flying only getting great height and being able to go a long distance.  They can still fly some and glide with their secondary flight feathers.

There is many different ways to trim a birds wings.  I start clipping my babies wings at 7 weeks of age.  I do let them take a first flight.  I like my birds to know how to fly.  I find that birds that have never flown take belly flops to the floor.

     Birds can still get in to danger even with their wings clipped.  They can glide off of your shoulder into things.  So never have your bird on your shoulder when cooking or adventuring outside.  I have heard of people loosing their birds because they were on the owners shoulder and were able to get enough height to make it to the trees.

If you would like to take your bird outdoors Please place him in a harness.

     There are many ways to clip your birds wings. You can clip all of the flight feathers or clip just a couple of them.  I prefer to clip all of the flights.  I like the way the bird looks afterwards.  My Avian Vet has told me that too many people over or under cut the feathers.  He has told me that the way that I trim my birds wings is right, so I feel that I am able to give proper advice and training to others.

Familiarize yourself with the Wing of a Bird

The main feathers that I want to point out are the Primary feathers.  The Primary feathers are the feathers that you will be trimming.  The Secondary feathers you will not trim.  Many people make the big mistake of trimming them.  The Primary Coverts you do not cut.  They are very important for re-growth of the feathers.  The Primary coverts will cover the primary feather shafts as they re-grow.  This is very important because many feathers can become damaged in the re-growth period causing pain and discomfort to the bird.

How to clip a birds wings
Before you attempt to try this have a breeder, a reliable pet store or an Avian Vet show you first.

1.  Place the bird in a towel.  Use a small hand towel.  Also try to use a soft colored towel.  Towels that are bright like red will frightened the bird.  I use a light blue towel.  

2.  Holding the bird in the towel and place him in the palm of your hand with his back resting in your palm place your thumb under his beak and on the beginning of  his wing.  While the bird is covered by the towel gently pull out one of the wings. Holding the wing out with your fingers that are behind the birds head and your thumb.

3.  You may want to have one person hold the bird and the other person cut the feathers

4.  Cut the desired feathers with a pair of Cat or Bird Clippers. If you do not have clippers you can use a sharp pair of  blunted ended scissors.  You want to cut the primary feathers high up near the shaft underneath the primary coverts.  The primary coverts will protect the shafts and new re-growth of feathers.  Be very careful not to trim blood feathers.  Blood feathers will appear different then the other feathers.  You will be able to see blood in the shaft. Smaller birds like Lovebirds and Cockatiels sometimes need all their Primary feathers cut.  Larger birds like Macaws and Amazons may only need a few primary feathers cut

Small Bird Wing Trim Trim all Primary Feathers

Large Bird Wing Trim Trim the inner primary feathers and leave a few outer primary feathers, Between 2-4 feathers.

5. Repeat steps for other wing.  You want to cut both wings identically to prevent any injury to the birds.   

6.  Test-fly the bird to make sure that it can glide to the floor with out injury, not able to get great heights or able to maintain long distance flight for any length of time.

     Make this a fun experience.  Tell the bird how good he is and after the wing trim give him play time out of his cage and special treats.  At this time do not over handle him.  

Over time your bird will become use to this.  With my babies, I do not need to use a towel.  Their daily training involves the manipulation of their wings to a clipping position.  My male cockatiel, I place on my chest and pull out each of his wings to clip and I find it less stressful then using a towel on him. 

If you find that your bird seems to be stressing out (signs:  open mouth breathing, wings held out to side, or rolling of eyes) Stop immediately.  Return the bird to its cage and watch from a distance for the bird to return to normal breathing.  Try to trim its wings tomorrow.  If the bird becomes stressed the next day, take the bird to a Vet or a breeder that knows how to clip wings.  Breeders and Vets that have been doing wing trims for a long time they will do it quickly and cause less stress for the bird.  If you find the ride to the Vets or breeders will cause stress ask the vet or breeder to come to your house.