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Clipping The Wing PDF Print E-mail
Written by; author Russ Braaten   

Supplies needed before you start:

bullet Towel -- Always "towel" the bird
bullet Clipping Tool -- Scissors, Cat Nail Clippers, Diagonal Cutters
bullet Styptic Powder -- Just in case you have to stop some bleeding
bullet Pliers -- Just in case you have to pull a feather
bullet Second Person -- It makes clipping easier

Before you start... Always use a towel to wrap up your bird. There are way too many things that can go wrong even with the best birds. An example would be that you could hit a blood feather which will make the best bird freak because it will hurt. If you don't have the bird secure your bird can start flapping and "pump" a lot of blood out of the injury. Wings have also been broken because birds have not been secured. I have seen people just hold out a wing with scissors and clip them while the bird is standing on a perch. Please do not do this. One bloody episode and possible death will stop you from ever doing it again. Read all the instructions and have a clear picture of what you are going to be doing before you start.

How to clip parrot wings

Now for the actual clipping... Here is a diagram to show you how to clip a birds wings. I always clip both sides although there is debate about clipping one or both wings. When you are clipping always look at the top of the wing as you clip. You may clip it too short and hurt the bird if you don't. Looking at the top of the wing allows you to see the next layer of feathers up ( violet ) and use them as a guide.

In the picture you see a green arrow. There is a change in the feather angle here. This is where you start. Actually you may want to start one feather farther out. The feathers closer to the body often contain blood. If you leave one flight feather it protects the blood feathers. Clip off the green feathers just longer than where the tips of the higher feathers ( violet ) are and follow along the tips to the end of the wing. ( red line ) If you clip flight feathers shorter then where the next higher feathers ( violet ) end you may damage the wing. You can use any sharp scissors or use cat claw clippers and snip the shaft of each feather one at a time. It leaves a frilly edge and looks really nice!

You can stop clipping two or three feathers from the end ( so the birds look prettier when their wings are folded back. With heavy birds like Macaws, Amazons and Greys you may first try stopping earlier and leaving 5 feathers at the end of the wing (gold feathers) and test the bird. If it can still fly well then clip one feather at a time until it stops flying. You want to keep it from dropping like a rock and hurting it's breastbone. Some birds are strong enough to fly with these feathers and you have to clip them all. Never leave just one feather on the end (gold feathers ) because it is too fragile by itself and may break and bleed.

If you ever have a feather bleed for any reason never try to stop the bleeding on the feather itself. Always yank out the feather (pliers help) and the bleeding will stop. If it is still bleeding check the feather you pulled out to see if the quill (tip) is complete. If a split piece of the feather is still in the wing you need to yank it too. A bleeding feather will kill a bird fast. If you have any questions about doing this please contact us.