that are allowed to fly freely are generally more physically fit
and healthier than those confined permanently in a cage. If the
wings are clipped incorrectly there is a greater chance of the
bird crash landing and injuring itself. If flight is restricted
the bird is less able to escape from danger if it needs to.
When is it a good
• To reduce the chance of escape: eg when there is a risk
of doors and windows accidentally being
left opened when the bird is loose.
• To limit access to potentially hazardous household items
• To prevent injury from flying into mirrors, windows and
• To make training and taming easier by limiting mobility
• To prevent dominant behaviour by preventing the bird from
reaching a higherperch than you
• In an aviary situation where a dominant bird is persistently
aggressive towards others clipping the aggressive birds wings
allows the other birds to escape
Will clipping stop
Clipping will not prevent the bird from trying to fly. Nor will
it stop the bird from being able to fly altogether. The aim is
simply to slow down and reduce the amount of lift the bird has
so it can’t fly as high or as fast. Some strong flying species
such as budgies and cockatiels may still be quite mobile. These
birds, even though clipped, may still escape if taken outside.
Always do a test flight at home each day for the first few days
after the clip to allow the bird to adjust to its altered mobility.
One wing or two?
Both wings should be clipped evenly to allow more balanced attempts
at flight. Clipping only one wing can throw the bird off balance
resulting in crash landings and severe injury to the beak, keel
(breastbone) or legs.
How should the wings
The type of wing clip used needs to be tailored to the individual.
It is important to discuss with your vet what your requirements
and expectations are. There are certain feathers on the wing that
should not be clipped. If you wish to clip your birds wings yourself
please ask an experienced vet to show you how first.
Is the procedure permanent?
No.New feathers will replace the cut ones at the next moult. When
the bird is moulting it should be treated as fully flighted.
Usually a full wing clip will be required
approximately 8-12 weeks after moulting starts. If you are unsure
of timing the bird can be brought in every 2 weeks during the
moult to have the feathers that have regrown trimmed.