Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2332. This is a followup to #2331.

Date:Sunday November 14, 2004 11:22:04 am MST
Subject:Re: Wing clipping
Message:Yvonne wrote:
> could someone please advice me as to whether or nor i should have my
> conures wings clipped or not as i have read conflicting items about
> this.

I think you'll find conflicting views anywhere you go with this issue. And even worse is the fact that if you decide to clip, there are four or five different techniques people use.

I think the argument for not clipping wings comes from what's natural for the bird. Birds are supposed to fly; that's what they do. A flighted bird will get quite a bit more exercise than a clipped one (unless you make a point to give the bird an exercise regime). There's more ease getting from one place to another and getting away from household predators (ie; the family pet or the children).

However, ease of getting from one place to another isn't always a good thing. Flighted birds are more likely to find themselves in toilet bowls, in hot stovetop foods/pots of boiling water, and in dangerous places you just can't reach. They're more likely to accidentally make their way outside and to get lost in the big blue sky. In my opinion, the safest way to go is with clipped wings; I don't feel strongly enough about this to actually argue with anyone who doesn't clip wings, however. I think both sides have reasonable arguments, and you have to do what makes sense in your situation. (I live in a basement; the toilet bowl is always closed because of dogs, we can't cook downstairs, and there is no door to the outside from here. I think an unclipped bird would be safer here than elsewhere, though I do still clip.)

The style of the clip has been the difficult point for me. I love my Nanday's colorful primary feathers, so the aesthetic clip (leaving the outer-most flight feathers) makes me happiest to look at. However, this clip leaves the feathers prone to injury since they don't have much support from surrounding feathers.

Some people just cut feathers from the outer-most edge of the wing toward the bird, right at the level of the greater coverts. How many feathers you cut depends on the flight ability of the bird. I like to leave some flight in my Nanday, but not enough to really get any air.

Another style is clipping in a gentle curve down the wing. Starting from right under the coverts on the outer-most feather, take the cut at an angle to the bottom of the wing (so you're cutting less and less from each of the next feathers). This cut is supposed to have the same effect as the others, but with a little more of the aesthetics.

I've heard that the former cuts are uncomfortable in that they leave pointy feather shaft ends to poke our birds. The people reporting this problem suggest a slightly different cut. Rather than cutting at the covert level, this cut is done where there's no longer any "feather" on the shaft. Supposedly, this will prevent the uncomfortable pointy ends.

So there are quite a few options past just the initial clipping question. My Nanday has all his primaries cut at the greater coverts on one side. It's a terrible clip; he's lopsided and can't do a whole lot of flying; this is the clip he came from the pet store with. Once he grows new feathers, I'll have to decide which clip I'd like. I definitely think I'll stick to having them clipped though; I'm too worried about losing the little guy.

This was probably much more than you were looking for; good luck in making your decisions. I'm sure you'll get many more responses on this board to help you out!


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