To Clip or Not to Clip: That is the Question

I opened the paper today and my eyes caught the Lost & Found section of the classified. “Found Cockatiel in Hermosa SD.” “Found Cockatiel in Rapid City.” I answered the phone one afternoon last week to a very distraught person who had just watched his beloved Cockatiel fly out the door. Why, if we love our pet birds, don’t we clip their wings? There’s a 100 per cent chance that there will be a problem. Why do we take the chance that they might fly out the window to death by starving, death by the neighbor’s cat or dog, death by freezing. The list goes on! Why do we leave them flighted in the house to death by boiling water, death by ceiling fan, death by toilet? The list goes on and on!

Clipping a bird’s wings is a very controversial issue. I myself am on the clip side. A flying bird is a wonderful thing to see. A bird can be lightly clipped so he doesn’t drop like a rock but can lightly flutter to the floor.

Often a flighted bird can develop an attitude problem as it tries to become the leader of the flock. Some can become unhandable to the extent of attacking and biting.

There are a few good reasons not to clip your birds but not many. Breeder birds in flight cages should be left flighted. Some handicapped birds need to be flighted to help them get around. Show birds need to be flighted. In this writers opinion the good reasons are few and far between.

There is a right way and a wrong way to clip wings. Improper wing clips can cause injures. Improper wing clips can cause feather picking. Never take a scissor and just cut the wings straight across! Learn to do it correctly or take your bird to an Avian Vet or to a skilled and knowledgeable breeder.

It’s beautiful to watch your bird fly inside. It is heart wrenching to watch your bird fly outside.

Please folks, think about being responsible pet owners. I don’t want to read about your pet bird in the classified.

Patrick & Barbara Paur
Mt. Rushmore Birds
605-787-7788

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