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Clipping Your Bird’s Wings

January 1 2015

Have you ever wondered whether or not you should get your pet bird’s wings clipped? Wing clipping is a very common practice with our feathered friends, though it does have its pros and cons. In this article, your local veterinarian Cherry Hill discusses clipping your bird’s wings.

Why Clip

Safety is the main reason for clipping a pet bird’s wings. A bird with clipped wings is less likely to injure herself by flying into a window or fan. It is also often done as a precautionary effort to keep birds from escaping, as a bird with clipped wings can’t fly away. Birds also do tend to be somewhat more docile if their wings are clipped at a young age, perhaps because they learn to rely on their owners more than their wings. Wing clipping also reduces the likelihood of your furniture sustaining damage, or becoming soiled by droppings.

Clipping Basics

When a bird’s wings are clipped, their ability to fly upwards is severely limited. They are still able to land by gliding in case of a fall. Wing clipping is basically the avian equivalent of getting one’s hair trimmed. The process is temporary, so, as long as it’s done correctly, you don’t have to worry about causing permanent damage. Polly’s feathers will grow back!


There are many different styles of clipping, including quill clipping, every-other-feather clipping, and show clipping. Also, different types of birds require different methods for clipping. Parrots, for instance, need fewer feathers cut than smaller birds.


The main argument against clipping is that it’s inherently unnatural. Birds are creatures of the sky, and are meant to fly. The ability to take wing does offer your pet an extra measure of safety. If your cat keeps trying to get at your bird, for instance, Polly may be safer with all her feathers. That way she can fly to safety if Kitty gets too close.

Clipping Your Pet’s Wings

You can clip your feathered buddy’s wings yourself, but if you’re a first-timer, we strongly advise against going it alone, at least at first. To play it safe, schedule an appointment with your vet to get Polly’s haircut.

Does your pet bird need her wings clipped? Please contact us at any time to make an appointment. As your local vet Cherry Hill, we are here to help with all of your pet care needs.

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