It may appear difficult to clip your bird’s wings, and doing so requires time and skill. When done incorrectly, wing clipping can be dangerous, cause a bird to fall to the ground and sustain injuries, or result in bleeding feathers, which is an emergency. However, if you have a steady hand and are competent at following instructions, you ought to be able to reduce any risks and do the task well.
How to Clip Your Bird’s Wings
You may learn to properly clip your bird’s wings at home by following a few easy steps, saving you from having to make frequent trips to the vet and from having to pay to have it done for you. If you are confident that you can accomplish the task yourself, continue reading for step-by-step instructions and suggestions. Always put safety first, though; if you aren’t sure you can restrain your bird securely, clip its wings securely, or if you start to feel uneasy while trimming, it’s best to stop and take your bird to an avian veterinarian to have the procedure done.
Get your bird’s first aid kit because it’s better to be safe than sorry even if you know you’ll do everything in your power to reduce the danger of injury to your bird. Get your first aid equipment for birds and have it close at hand before you start trimming your bird’s wings. It will be helpful for you to have quick access to your bundle of medical supplies in the event of an unexpected emergency, including flour or cornstarch to stop any bleeding incidents.
Choose a peaceful area: By picking a peaceful area to clip your bird’s wings, you may keep your pet as tranquil as possible. Choose an area that is away from your bird’s cage, any loud, unexpected noises, and household traffic. Your bird will be less likely to jump or struggle while having their wings clipped if you remove them from their regular surroundings, so a quiet space like a spare bedroom or bathroom is perfect.
if required, enlist assistance: It’s a good idea to have a friend or family member help restrict your bird for you while you do the trimming the first time, and on future occasions until you are certain that you can handle the job yourself.1 By having a companion assist you while you are learning, you can greatly reduce the chance of accidents that result from attempting to operate on birds that are not securely tied.
Use a towel to restrain your bird: By “toweling your bird,” you will position your bird so that you can examine the wings and trim the required feathers without worrying about being bit or scratched, while reducing the possibility that your bird will be able to jump, twist, or lunge. This greatly increases the safety of the wing clipping procedure for all parties.
Only remove the first three to five major flying feathers from each of your bird’s wings. While different people prefer various wing clipping techniques, this is often the most universally accepted, successful, and efficient approach. Start with clipping less and observe how your bird flies. If they are still flying nicely, continue cutting each feather until you achieve the desired result. Your bird is at risk of harm from unintentional falls if you take too many at once and it can’t gently glide to the ground.
Trim the feathers about halfway up their length, not higher. Make sure to use sharp scissors and avoid cutting into feather shafts that appear to be dark in color when trimming the feathers. A blood feather, which can cause major issues if broken or sliced, has a dark feather shaft.2 If a blood feather does get caught between your blades, see here to learn how to mend a broken blood feather.
After you’ve finished trimming your bird’s wings, put it back inside its cage and give it some time to relax. Giving pet birds some time to unwind and regain their stamina before any further interaction is crucial because wing trims may be extremely distressing for them.
When you notice that your bird is resuming full flight, you can re-trim its wings as needed. This typically happens every six months to a year on the primary flying feathers when old feathers molt away and new ones grow in.3
Clipping Birds Wings. Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital, 2020
Keep safety as your primary priority each time, despite growing more assured in your ability to clip wings. You’ll have a lot more enjoyable times with your bird if you do this.