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Monday, March 17, 2014

Clipping Flight Feathers or Not

Your able to go online & discover many writings about the subject of to clip wings, or to not clip wings. Many opinions are valid. The way I look at it is, we keep parrots as pets and those pets will most likely not be reintroduced into the wild. Do what works best for your parrot family to keep them safe & happy. I don't feel a bird has to fly to be truly happy, any more than a dog needs to run the neighborhood to be happy. If you don't live out in the boonies, I feel it's unsafe to allow your dog to run loose on his own.

I'm at the point once again of deciding who's wings I'm going to clip, and who I'm not going to clip. It usually depends on what my plans are going to be for each parrot. I have a patio with 4 cages and 3 play stands. I like to give my parrots as much freedom as possible. I leave the cage doors open and let them play on top. Many people may say "that's not safe". That  kind of reply is logical, however I know my birds and pay attention to what's happening around us. I would suggest making sure you know your birds, before allowing your parrots this type of activity.

Every year since I've had Nemo our 6 year old B&G Macaw, his wings have been clipped. Nemo is a strong parrot and could fly off if spooked. Tangy the Moluccan Cockatoo has most of her flight feathers, and most likely won't fly off. She has a bum foot and is a bit clumsy. She runs around fine on her cage, however Tangy has not shown a huge desire to fly off so far. Of course she could if she really wanted to. I guess it's a risk I sometimes take. When Tangy has her wings clipped she looks  ratty. Molly our Senegal  will be getting clipped soon. When we first acquired Molly my husband was not thinking, he walked outside with her on his shoulder. Something spooked her and off she few. Molly was gone for an over nighter and my husband felt horrible.

 Now my B&G Macaw who is 14 months old at this time of writing, will not be having his wings clipped.  I may want to learn how to free fly him in the next few months. You can always clip them later, but you most likely won't be gluing the feathers back on.  Another parrot  I will not be clipping flight feathers on is Nipper, the Ringneck Parakeet. Nipper was rescued from an abusive household. He cannot fly due to a broken wing. Yes, some humans are cruel to animals and this stuff really does happen.

 Baretta  our Citron/Bare eyed Cockatoo is a different story.  She is my shy non trusting bird who  allows only me to hold her. Almost all of Baretta's flight feathers are grown back. Being able to fly around the house and get to where I am, has brought Baretta out of her shell this winter. Still a nervous bird, but better. At this point she fly's to where I am and lands on my head. I then put up my hand so she can step up, and be put on my shoulder. That for Baretta  is fun, with a bonus of getting her exercise indoors. I was advised by someone who I believe to be a reliable source, to either clip the birds flight feathers, or don't clip. None of this, leave them flighted for the winter and clip in the spring. I needed to make up my mind.   The decision I have made is to leave Baretta's wings alone  and put  her in a cage for outdoor time.  Baretta has flown off 4 times, with her wings clipped. One time she flew off, it was an over nighter. Baretta  is light in body, has a good size wing span  and is an excellent flyer. Even when her wings have been  clipped, she has flown off.  When clipping a parrot fitting Baretta's description, I would clip the first 5-7 flight feathers  real short to help deter a parrot from flying off.

 I don't like hunting down a parrot. It is time consuming and you don't always get them back. I've just been lucky or, I really do look hard. I let my neighbors and everyone imaginable know I'm hunting for my parrot. I have my other parrots outside so they can be heard by the escaped parrot. I walk on foot  calling the birds name and listen. Get others to help look if they are willing, and don't give up. There are other things you can do if you cannot find your bird. A few examples are putting up flyers, posting an add on Craig's List or other advertising places. Call around to the Humane Society, pet stores, bird clubs, rescues and any other place you can think of.

 I take into consideration many different factors to decide what parrot I'm going to clip, and what parrot not to clip. I don't want large birds flying around "my house" as I don't think it's safe. I don't have a huge house with lots of open space. There you have it.  A post on Facebook about going to the park turned into my view of, to clip or not. Please note this is not a professional opinion. It's what works for me at this time.

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