Wing Clipping in Parakeets

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Can't decide whether or not to clip your parakeet's wings? Learn the benefits and costs of wing clipping in this free pet care video.

Part of the Video Series: Caring for Parakeets
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Video Transcript

In this clip we're going to be talking about wing clipping in budgies. I'm going to demonstrate how, if you're going to clip your budgie's wings and you feel up to doing it yourself, in just a minute. I want to talk to you about some pros and cons. The pros to letting your budgie be able to fly around is that it can kind of choose where it wants to be, you know, whether on top of your ceiling, you know, like curtain rods, or you know, just hang out at your desk; gives the bird good muscle growth to be able to flap and actually fly; it's a good cardiovascular exercise for the animal, as well as putting on some pectoral mass, they can get some atrophied muscles in the front if they don't get enough opportunity to fly. It's a very natural behavior for these birds, so any natural behaviors that you can give them in captivity that they would normally have in the wild will generally give you a happier pet all around. Some reasons you might want to have their wings clipped: these birds can get into a lot of trouble. The same thing that gives them the freedom of flight can also allow these birds to fly out your window and you'll never see them again; it can allow them to fly into a boiling pot of water; it can allow them to fly on, again, onto your curtain rods and then poop on everything they land on. So you can confine where your budgie goes a little bit better by having clipped wings and keep them a little bit safer if you're going to have them loose. If you have a bird in a cage and it doesn't get out, something like this, and they're going to fly back and forth, it's probably not necessary to clip their wings just because, you know, they're not going to get into trouble if they're staying in their cage. Just again, you need to be very careful when cleaning their cages that they don't get startled or that the cage door isn't open or that you don't drop the cage and the bird flies away if they're not clipped. So if you're going to go about clipping your wings, this is a very tame budgie here so I'm just going to use my hands to grab it, but if you don't have a tame budgie you can use a small dish towel or paper towel to just come over the back of your budgie and cup it, and what you want to do is put your little fingers on either side of its head, just like this, you just kind of stabilize their head. And they'll chirp and they'll complain, but they generally won't do any damage. These guys generally can't bite hard enough to draw any blood. So I'll just stabilize our little bird here, and here's his wings; and these are here, his flight feathers. So on the flight feathers these are secondary flight feathers here, and the primary flight feathers here. It's very important you do not cut these secondary flight feathers because these secondary flight feathers are covert feathers and they cover up the bones in this little bird's hand. So you want to be very careful, you want to make sure that there is no bone or skin attached to these lasting feathers. Some people will clip the feathers leaving these two outermost feathers for cosmetic reasons; I don't recommend doing that. These guys are such strong fliers that if you leave those outer two covert feathers a lot of times these guys still have enough power to fly and fly away. So you'll cut the first six - so one, two, three, four, five, six - these six feathers, and you'll cut them right where these covert feathers end. So you'll cut them right here, right at that yellow line, and clip those off with a pair of scissors, and you would cut right here. This is a baby, who I'm still trying to learn how to fly, so I don't want to clip his wings right now, but that's where you would cut. There's no bones there, you can see right through those feathers if you have any question about it, and if you look at the underside of the wing here you can see the bone structure that would be on that part right there. So that's the way you would clip your bird's wings if you needed to. You can see the bird's no worse for the wear. And just make sure that you cup your bird gently when you're holding or restraining them for clipping their wings. Don't apply any pressure to their chests, they need to expand their chest to breath. So, it's very safe to just grab them on either side of the head and then just cup the rest of their body holding their feet away from their body if you need to restrain your little bird. OK.

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