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caron-j

Is wing clipping always unkind?

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I know that the issue of wing clipping is a much debated and divisive issue and I have always been VERY much of the anti stance, considering it to be unnecessary to effectively 'cripple' a creature whose very essence is the ability to fly. However, recent experience has caused me to question my views and I'd be interested to hear other people's views on this.

 

I recently adopted Gilbert, a 20 year old male, B&G Macaw who has come to be rehomed permanently, with my other four Macaws. Gilbert is a very steady, confident and happy bird, in perfect feather and has obviously been exceptionally well cared for by his previous owners who had him since he was a chick, but are now very reluctantly, unable to keep him any longer.

 

Many years ago, Gilbert escaped and was missing for a day or so, which was a hugely distressing experience for his owners who sought his breeder's advice and consequently had him single wing clipped. My initial reaction was that he would be allowed to grow his feathers back here, and be fully flighted, as all of my other birds are.

 

His owners feel that this would be unfair on him as he has always enjoyed the freedom of pottering about their house and in the summer, exploring the garden and sitting under the garden tap! My Macaws also enjoy a lot of freedom, but outside, they are limited to the play aviary or harness.

 

Today has been quite a pleasant and sunny day so I decided to drag a few cages onto the patio for a good wash down. As soon as I opened the french doors Gilbert was very obviously keen to get outside too, so I perched him on a bench while I got on with the cages and put the other birds into the play aviary. He sat there, very obviously content and enjoying the surroundings, watching me work and climbing down for a stroll around the garden now and then.

 

Now perhaps it's just me, but I did feel sorry for the other Macaws who were looking out from behind the bars as if to say "how come he can have a wander about and not us?!!" The issue is somewhat compounded by the fact that although my Macaws are all fully flighted, it's extremely rare that they ever attempt to fly, preferring to walk, run and climb to wherever they want to be unlike my Cockatoos, Greys and smaller birds who fly a lot.

 

This being the case, I do question whether a wing clip allow my other Macaws the extra freedom Gilbert obviously does? Considering, they would never be outside unsupervised and the fact that a predatory sparrow hawk would be unlikely to tackle an Macaw (there are no cats nearby either)

 

 

 

 

 

:?

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OOOHHH a nice debate ...... well we had bob clipped when we first got him and like gilbert he enjoyed many a sunny afternoon in the garden with us he is fully feathered now and potters about the house but i often go out in the garden to see bob looking at me thru the glass. Jess is fully feathered and she never flies eva literally eva in the tme we have had her not once has she used them wings unless she is on jays lap and he throws her into the air to her cage she walks everywhere like a human up the stairs even too jay is concidering clipping her so she can come outside and enjoy the weather when we get it.

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@ CW I should point out that all of my Macaws are adults at youngest around 10 years old. Personally, I don't think clipping a young Macaw's wings is a good idea, as mine certainly did a lot of flying about when they were younger, which I believe strengthens their muscles and at least gives them the opportunity to learn that they can fly.

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hi on the debate of clipped wings my african grey is clipped and he wont come out his cage i got him in january and he has ventured out once can anyone help me encourage him to come out thanks

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Suki was clipped when i first got her, she love being outside with me, but after time and more having a more indepth knowledge, not to mention the though of getting another bird that may be fully flights. I thought it only fair that she should have her gift of flight etc. Not to mention I nearly lost her in the first few months the house after getting spooked! :shock:

 

My attitude toward clipping has completely changed over the last several years, especially when I found out how clipping a young bird could affect the flight muscle development.

 

I think it would be unfair to take away the gift of flight if the birds is used to flying. I origally though it ok if done early as the bird would know nothing different? Obviously that has changed.

 

I do believe clipping can also cause behaviour problems.

 

I am now going through a massive expense of building an outside flight so my birds can still enjoy being outside and clipped. If they want to explore further then that's where my harness comes into play :D

 

All said I think depending on the bird it's still personal choice and and educated guess. Just remember no matter how much your bird prefers to walk around, it just takes one thing to spoke them and they may be lost forever.

 

Oh and Suki is now an extremely proficient flyer lol, God help me! :shock: She runs rings around me lol, can't turn your back for one minute, her chest is so much broarder too! I'm sure she visits the gym when I'm out :lol: Coco is still the boss though :roll:

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hi on the debate of clipped wings my african grey is clipped and he wont come out his cage i got him in january and he has ventured out once can anyone help me encourage him to come out thanks

Hi nerb, you might want to start a new thread, otherwise your question will get lost?

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i dont think i will have bob clipped again cause he is such a light bird he can fly around the house easily and dodge stuff but with billy and jess they dont fly they prefer the floor billy whereeva i put him he goes straight to the floor and walks around the house aswell as jess maybe this is due to there size ? dunno

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I do think that the size of the bird and wingspan is a major factor influencing whether they will fly about indoors or in a relatively confined area. Although my Triton, Angel flies all over the house, but the Macaws go by foot unless really pushed to use their wings! Considering that in an ideal world they would be flying for miles through rainforests, realistically, even an aviary the length of my garden wouldn't give Macaws anything near a good flight.

 

I suppose, like everyone here, I just want to do the best for them and give them as good as life as I can.

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yeah this has been the debate in our house recently when we move do we build a huge avairy for billy and jess (not to share) taking up half the garden which still wouldnt be anything of the size they would need or do we build somewhere where they can com eout in the garden and perch and bask in the sun and climb about on ropes and use the floor etc etc and perhaps just build a smaller sized avairy for bob in the garden to fly about in

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Guest thebirdman

Never cliped any birds as i feel it hampers the birds natural instincts such as a fright it takes of and flies from predators also etc

also the physical apperance of the bird is different due to the lack or use of tissues etc

i remmebr a seminar/meetign several years ago i attened and they were all against in general to wing clipping

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I used to always always scour at people who clipped wings .... that was until I felt the need to clip my amazons. I think it is purely personal choice and the reasoning for the same.

 

If you want ur other birds to enjoy freedom, could u not harness them and they can walk around the garden?

 

My Amazon was a rescue bird. He was originally caged, then he was put in an aviary over winter months (???) and then his first mate died and he was pining which is why they wanted to re home him. Due to his ill treatment when he was caged (kept in the attic room (was a converted bedroom in the attic), he was caged in a teeny tiny cage with his mate ... never had fresh food or water). Understandably when he came to me, he was very wild. I really wanted him to have the freedom to fly around but on a couple of occasions i let him out, i couldn't get him in again. The only way was by towelling him w hich is completely not nice!

 

I decided to clip a wing purely so he could have some freedom and time out of the cage. Obviously he could only fly a certain height and this proved to be the best thing ever done because during the time his wing was clipped and the feathers grew, so did his confidence with me and his new surroundings.

 

He is perfect now out of the cage.

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hi guys i am against clipping wings as i agree it takes the freedom of flight from the bird but my african grey had his wings clipped when i got him in jan age 15 months how long do they take to grow back as he doesnt seem interested in venturing out his cage and it open most days

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Did he have both wings clipped Nerb? normally just one is done. It takes a few months for the feathers to grow back. They will probably know when they flap their wings in the cage that they dont get any lift so he probably wont venture out right now.

 

It could be a good time to get him tame while he can't fly (thats if he is not already). And if he is, u could perhaps teach him some tricks?!

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be aware a bird can escape clipped or not! a gust of wind and adrenaline can take them far and get them to danger

 

why not harness train the birds you wnat to sit out of cage?

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Caron i can understand what you are saying and yes if it was just Gilbert then a harness would be the way i think,but 5 clipped Macaws wandering around the garden hands full :lol::lol: You like me have an outdoor play aviary which would be cruel to put one macaw in[eg Gilbert]but as you have 5 i believe what you do now is best

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@ Nerb - The wing clipping of your bird at such a young age has probably made him quite unconfident, as he will feel nervous and vulnerable at being unable to fly and escape quickly from any perceived danger. I had a similar problem with a young disabled Macaw who was extremely reluctant to leave the safety of her cage when she first arrived here. I'm sure with lots of patience and time spent building his trust in you, he will make moves towards his cage door. You could try leaving it open while sitting alongside and gently talking to him. Perhaps slowly introducing a favourite treat to coax him towards venturing nearer to you and the wide world outside his cage.

 

@ Marion - Yes, I agree, all five running around the garden at the same time would be a handful :D The birds that will tolerate a harness do have time out of the play aviary but Kiki, my Greenwing would rather stand on his head than allow me to put a harness on him :D

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i have tried to get close to cage and at moment he is just not having it i am sitting by his cage constantly and useing a soft voice and trying to persuede him with his favourite treat hopefully he will learn to trust me in the long run and will he be able to fly once his feathers grow back i hope so

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@ Marion - We have a full house here of 15 fids, ranging in size from Kiki, the Greenwing to Jazz, the Fischers Lovebird.

 

Currently in the process of building an extension to the birdroom, for a purpose built playroom and another attached outdoor play aviary. :D

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It's a difficult decision to make I think. I used to have an Amazon that was clipped on both wings, he was out in the garden every summer, in the trees the lot & he loved it. At that time clipping wings was always the way to go for me, I had read various books who had advocated the clipping of wings saying that it was safer to the bird so it couldn't fly away & be lost or worse die from being lost!

 

Then I got on this forum & found a whole lot of info, some on the subject of wing clipping. I have now changed my mind on the matter, I have a baby grey who I plan to let keep his feathers. That's not to say that in the future I may change my mind, who knows. I think it's down to personal decision & what suits you & your birds lifestyle best.

 

If it's an older confident bird that doesn't fly much anyway, then it might be the thing to do so they can have some freedom in the garden.

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First thing, clipping just one wing is totally wrong and unbalances the bird.

 

Sitting in a tree is not half as much fun as being able to climb and fly (if they choose) around an aviary. Along with being out and having fun with the other birds.

 

Birds that come in clipped act far differently than flighted birds, they do not climb or play with as much ease and abandonment as flighted birds, they are not as sure around other birds, and if the need arose for the fight or flight response they would have to chose fight as climbing down and running away is not an option when adenalyn hits.

 

Once clipped birds have their feather back and they have learnt to fly again, you often see a far happier and more contented bird, who can fly if he wants and can flap his wings and show off to the other birds ( as they often do) the full beauty of his wings.

 

I never clip, I have 8 macaws with amazons and a gray living free in the bird room that never fight, some of the birds fly everywhere (in and out of the attached aviary) some never do, but they all can if they want.

 

9 other Macaws live full time in aviaries and the ones that live in cages go out in an aviary during the day.

 

Ben my Ruby macaw is a liberty bird but he is far happier in an aviary than being free outside where he is always watching the sky and I have to worry that while chewing branches or walking around that he might pick up a disease from the wild birds that could lead to his death. :cry:

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