Trimming Wings


If you’ve never done it before, don’t try to clip your bird’s wings yourself. Before attempting the technique on your own, have an experienced individual demonstrate and guide you through it. Many pet bird owners have their birds’ wings trimmed by a bird groomer, the retail shop where they acquired the bird, or an avian physician. Your bird will have to be restrained to have its wings clipped, which may be distressing for the creature. Some pet owners would rather their birds be unhappy with a third person than with themselves.

If you want to clip your bird’s wings, you’ll need a towel, blunt-tipped scissors, cauterizing powder (such as Kwik-Stop, flour, or cornstarch), and needle-nose pliers.

Because your bird will most likely panic when confined, you must act fast and softly. To begin, one person should tie a towel over the bird to restrict it. Only its face and the wing being trimmed should be visible. With the thumb and index finger, the person controlling the bird should have a tight but not too hard grasp around the back of the bird’s head, behind the eyes. Maintain a strong grasp on the towel at the bird’s lower torso as well. Never hold the bird around the chest.

The second person should extend the exposed wing, focusing on the section of the wing closest to the bird’s body. To keep the other wing out of the way, keep it wrapped in a towel. Examine each quill before trimming to avoid cutting any feathers that are still developing. Because there is still blood in the shaft, these feathers are known as blood feathers. This shaft will begin to bleed if you cut it. Birds cannot afford to lose a lot of blood, thus it must be halted right away. If your bird’s blood feather ever breaks, use needle-nosed pliers to take the whole damaged feather shaft straight out of its follicle. Then, apply pressure on the follicle using a paper towel. If the bird continues to bleed after numerous applications of pressure, take it to an avian doctor right once.

Begin trimming with the major feather on the outside. Remove the outer nine main feathers. Stout birds, such as Amazons, will not need as many feathers to be cut to prevent them from flying (trim from five to nine feathers). Cockatiels and other long, streamlined species will need more. Make careful to trim the feathers on both sides of the wings, not just one. If your bird falls from its gym or cage top or is scared into flight, it must have adequate balance to regulate its landing.

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