My Parrot's Wings...Should I Clip or Not? The Pros and Cons of Clipping Revealed


One of the decisions you’ll have to make when adopting a parrot is whether or not to clip their wings. Some owners will stress the importance of clipping their parrot’s wings, while others will say it's inhumane or even cruel. It's a short process that most experienced avian veterinarians can perform in just a couple of minutes.

Contrary to what some people may believe, clipping a parrot's wings does not cause any pain or discomfort. However, there's still a long-running debate regarding this issue. This often leads to some confusion amongst new parrot owners.

If you’re still on the fence about clipping your parrot’s wings, keep reading and we’ll go over the pros and cons, revealing the truth about this highly debated process.

Advantages of Clipping a Parrot's Wings

The main reason why owners choose to clip their parrot’s wings is to prevent them from flying away. There are countless horror stories of pet parrots who've flown away after escaping their cage never to come back.

If you care about your parrot and want to keep them safe, then clipping their wings is generally a good idea. Whether your parrot stays inside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or not, the bottom line is that you don’t want your parrot to fly away where they can get into harm’s way. In another post, we discuss 4 fun facts on how to raise a healthy macaw.

Once a parrot has their wings clipped, they will no longer be able to fly around at 100%. Yet, some parrots can still glide in the air for short distances, but they won't be capable of taking flight. It's all too common for unclipped pet parrots to fly out of an open door or window never to be seen or heard of again.

Watching this happen to your pet parrot is a depressing sight to say the least, which is why so many owners have their parrot's wings clipped.

If you are worried or fearful of your pet parrot taking flight and flying away, you should have their wings clipped on a regular basis. Doing so is a simple and effective way to keep them bound to your home.

With that said, you should only clip their wings if you are fully committed to raising them. Clipping a parrot's wings and then sending them off to live somewhere else will place more stress and emotional strain on the bird.

Disadvantages of Clipping a Parrot's Wings

Although the good usually outweighs the bad, there are a few notable disadvantages associated with clipping a parrot’s wings. When a parrot has their wings clipped, they won't be able to exercise as much. Sure, they can still flutter a couple feet into the air, but they can’t fly around like before; therefore, their muscles may grow weak.

If you decide to clip your parrot’s wings, make sure to take them out of their cage often to help burn off some of their built-up energy.

There's some belief that wing clipping causes discomfort or even pain. The truth, however, is that it's completely painless when done correctly. If you are worried about hitting a blood vessel or clipping your parrot's wings down too far, don't be afraid to take them to an avian veterinarian or groomer for a professional wing clipping. They'll be able to safely and accurately trim your parrot's wings just enough so they are no longer able to take full flight.

Is It Painful?

A lot of owners are under the assumption that clipping their parrot’s wings causes extreme pain and discomfort. After all, you’re removing part of their body, so common sense should tell you that it’s going to hurt, right? Actually, when the wings are properly clipped, your parrot won’t even be able to feel it.

Wing clipping isn’t like declawing a cat where a part of their bone is removed. There are no nerve endings or tissue to cut through, as it’s all feathers.

Most experienced parrot owners will agree that wing-clipping is a painless process that may prove to save your parrot’s life one day. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't hurt, so there’s no need to worry about injuring your parrot during the process. Just take them to a professional bird doctor to have the procedure down in a professional setting.

Once you see how it’s done, you can probably do it from the comfort of your own home next time. There are a lot of factors to help keep your parrot healthy on top this, too.

Depending on what type/species of parrot you own, their wings will likely begin to grow back within 1-2 months time. Therefore, you must get into the habit of taking your parrot back to the veterinarian or groomer to have their wings clipped on a regular basis.

Most reputable veterinarians and groomers will work out a deal that allows you to bring your parrot in for a wing clipping every so often. Just remember to only have this procedure done by an experienced professional who's done it before.

Note: wing clipping is typically done every 6-10 weeks.

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  • I am afraid of clipping my parrot’s wings because I don’t want to take away it’s ability to fly.

    Quineysha on
  • I was on the fence about clipping my Eclectus’s wings until this morning when he flew over my neighbor’s fence into a yard that usually has a large dog in it. He easily could have kept going into the next neighbors yard where a dog was or the two houses behind where dogs currently are. I have never jumped a cement rock fence running to get into a neighbors yard until this morning. He is safe now but I think this answered my “to clip or not to clip” question. Yes, birds should fly but when they are that fast they can become a danger to themselves in a pet environment.

    Audrey Han on
  • Well, we have birbs, all clipped and all extremely happy. I think as long as a bird owner is a good, and loving one, then the care of that bird is up to them. Do not guilt others, about how they are choosing to care for their feather babies, we all have the right to do what we feel is best.. :)

    Sunshine on
  • I clip my little conures wings. At least once a year so far. Right towards the end of his molting season. When I got him, he wasnt clipped. It was fine until, he ran in the wall, he flew into a dark bathroom into the shower curtain and fell. He would also dive down the sleeping cat and my dog. With that, I have parents who dont close doors when they come over even tho I told them to never do that with my bird out of his cage. They still do.

    I am on a lot of forums and see how many loose their birds due to them flying away. Some people find them, others dont. I even saw a person macaw get shot as it was flying because someone close by was shooting.

    I clipped his wings a couple months after getting him. It works. I am not worried about him. I can’t cook, clean and even have my parents forget to close doors and not have to worry about my little guy.

    Eevee on
  • Yeah so I have a sun conure and my biggest concern about clipping her wings is if she’ll get depressed since she can not fly like she used to

    Shande Camacho on

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