Wing Clipping
Shown below are photos
Nail Clipping

Many parrot owners think that their parrot loves them and they would not fly away, but that's not true at all.  When birds fly out the door or window they get excited and their adrenalin gets them going, they have no idea once they are high above you flying around, their perspective view point is totally different from what they are use to seeing from the ground up, therefore not knowing their way back to you.  Generally speaking your parrot will not fly a long distance from you soon after you loose sight of them.  They will usually be in a small radius from you. If it has been several hours or days it is possible that they may slowly venture further away.  For the most part they seem to remain not far from the area that they left from.  I had two different birds get away from me before and it turned out they were only a block or two away.  You can immediately let others know around you that your bird is on the loose and may be it will help to find your bird.  It's a real empty feeling when you see your bird fly away from you, you have no control in calling the bird back to you as they will not listen to you. A bird will sometimes get in the tree and he sees you and hears you but they just take of flying again.  After all this is their moment of feeling free.

Before you on take on this procedure of Wing clipping or Nail Trimming, be sure you know how to do it.  If uncertain have a Veterinarian instruct you on how the procedure is done. It must be done in a timely matter in order not to over stress the bird.  If you are not sure that you can do it, then take your bird to a Vet or a well known place that does wing & nail clipping.

Most birds stress out over the fact of having the wings clipped or the nails trimmed.  Most of the birds I have they put up a fight on having it done. Some even recognize the scissors or nail clippers and soon as they see the scissors they put up their guard.  It is not always an easily done task.  It is for the bird's safety as pets that they stayed clipped so that they don't fly away, so many people loose their pet bird due to them flying away out an open window or door.  There are many pros and cons of having wings clipped, but for the most part its safer for the bird's sake. You use your own judgment.

  • Larger parrots typically require fewer feathers to be clipped.

  • Smaller birds have greater lift and need more feathers clipped.

  • Primary coverts, secondary feathers and secondary coverts are not clipped.

  • Clip primary feathers on BOTH wings.

  • Clip both wings to give bird proper balance. Do not clip just one side.

  • Restrain head, both feet and the opposite wing.

  • Be careful NOT to restrict chest.

  • Hold wing at base.

  • Clip first 4 to 7 primaries at the base of the shaft, below feathered area.

  • Do not clip feathers with blood shaft (blood feather).

  • Shown is a drawn diagram, showing before and after on which feathers to clip.

  • My Experience is to clip about four flight feathers from each side and then do a test flight in the house, you want the bird to have a nice downward glide without dropping hard to the floor.  If the bird can still fly or gain lift then take another feather from each side until you get the desired downward glide.  Please do not clip only one side of flight feathers, it is dangerous causing  the bird to be unstable.

   Shown in real photos below; is the left wing of an Orange Wing Amazon.
   Showing  a blue cut line in the photo on right , this is where you cut.
   Photo on left is showing what wing would like like before cutting.
   Cut about 4-7 feathers from the most outer wing edge in towards the center.
   You can stop just at the last feather of where the pretty colored feathers start. 
   Watch for any new blood feathers growing in.
   It is vital that you do not cut into a blood feather.
   Being careful not to cut into the upper row of feathers which are called
   the dorsal major primary coverts.



                            Read about some quick reference on Feathers

Nail Clipping

Nails can be trimmed when wings are clipped, or they may be trimmed separately.
If your bird gets upset from wings being clipped, then trim nails later after bird has rested. Nail trimming is important so that you won't be scratched by the bird and also proper length is important, if nails get to long it's not good on the bird, they have a harder time perching or walking around, plus they are apt to get nails caught.

  • Restrain the same as in a wing trim, except each foot should be held separately.
  • Perform short cuts.
  • Each nail should be cut individually by holding the toe gently.
  • Examine each toe for bleeding after you have released the toe.
  • Have a Styptic Powder readily available incase nail should bleed, if it does
    apply powder to bleeding nail and apply some pressure to nail with powder.
    If bleeding persists keep applying powder until bleeding stops.



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Updated: Oct. 5, 2013

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