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Wing Trimming?

IMG_9885-2I am often asked about clipping or trimming birds’ wings. Personally speaking, I support this practice. All my pet parrots have their wings trimmed, for safety. Birds are fast flyers, and small budgies can whip around a room at a very surprising speed! Windows and mirrors are like magnets, and untrimmed birds have been known to slam into them, in their innocence. Most of the time, the bird is a bit stunned, but recovers quickly. Other times… the neck can break.


Baby budgies need time to learn what their wings are all about! At first, they go through the “helicopter” stage of holding tightly to a perch and flapping as hard as they can! They learn the wings help them balance when another chick, still in the learning process, crashes onto the same perch and knocks the first chick off its balance. It is such fun to watch them… like toddlers in nursery school. Trimming the wings keeps the pet bird relying on the pet owner to go places… whether riding on a hand or a shoulder, birds love to move about the house… there’s more to see, that way!  Trimmed wings do not prevent the bird from flying if it is done correctly! The bird should be able to flutter and fly but not gain great altitude. This gives the pet owner control. Try getting a budgie down from a curtain rod when it does not want to come and can laugh and fly away from you!


Budgies tame easily. They are very social birds and truly want your company! My first pet budgie, Perkins, would follow me around my apartment, talking his tiny head off. He became so tame, he would lie on his back while I trimmed his wings and toenails. Linnies are practically born tame! They are super sweet and while a bit shy, do not seem to fear the human hand. I keep my pet Linnie trimmed, so no harm will come to her. Her name is Alice!


Your baby bird has come to you, accustomed to my hands. However, babies become toddlers and they want to experience their big world! I recommend your new pet does not have its wings trimmed until he/she has learned to fly inside its cage, by 8-10 weeks of age. In the meantime, gently handle and hold and caress your bird so it is very accustomed to your hand. If you want to allow the bird to come out of the cage, first take the cage into a small room, such as a bathroom, and close the door (and cover the mirror!). Patience is very important.


If you prefer to allow your pet to remain fully flighted, it will still love you! One of my customers has Oliver… he is a budgie who spends most of his day out of his cage, flying around and landing on his owner’s hair, shoulder, eyeglasses… that’s a budgie for you! There is no wrong answer. Some people keep the wings clipped until the bird is fully accustomed to them, then allow the cut feathers to grow out. The right answer is that you do what suits you and your pet the best! Be certain you understand what/how to trim the wings before attempting to do so, though!

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