Do you clip your bird’s wings? What about your bird’s nails? I have done this in the past yet had bad outcomes that resulted in bloody wings and nails cut too short. Ouch! Nearly all exotic birds entering the pet trade have their wings clipped very early in life. This teaches them in a roundabout way their wings don’t work and not to rely on them.

Trimmed birds tend to be more docile than unclipped birds because they are unable to make independent choices about where they want to go and when. They are essentially captives to their perches.

Wing clipping is done primarily for safety reasons, though — not to intentionally alter the attitude of the bird.

A clipped bird is far less likely to maim or kill herself by:

  • Flying into a wall during a fight-or-flight response
  • Landing on a hot surface in the kitchen like a pan of boiling water
  • Flying into a ceiling fan after being startled by a loud, unexpected noise
  • Gliding right out a door or window left open inadvertently
  • Flying into a closed window when, for instance, a tornado siren sounds

The goal of clipping is to reduce your pet’s flight to no more than a downward glide. Proper trimming will dramatically reduce his ability to fly vertically or horizontally.

I recommend you have a professional do the trimming since cutting the secondary feathers or converts by mistake can cause your bird balance problems and other health issues as well. If you want to trim your bird’s feathers yourself, you should learn the proper technique from an avian veterinarian or other avian professional before attempting it on your own. There are a number of risks associated with wing clipping, among them the possibility of cutting a blood feather or causing an injury through improper toweling.

The most important reason, in my opinion, not to trim your bird’s wings yourself is that it can break trust in your relationship. Imagine, from your bird’s perspective — the person he loves most and depends on suddenly rolls him in a towel and does something that is very stressful to him. The result can be that your pet will become nervous around you, fearing the next time you come at him with a towel.

Let someone else be the bad guy!  Does your bird have a grooming perch? These work very well! As the bird perches, the nails are filed.


Perch and Groom Perch

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Clipping Wings and Trimming Nails

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