Cutting my birds wings..

How should I cut my birds wings? I’m not really sure how.

My grandfather said it’s really easy, but he won’t do it because his hands are always shakey now. And he won’t even explain it to me. Help.

Answer #1

Clip them, I mean. To cut the tips of the wings off so it won’t fly off when I take it out.

Answer #2

Okay, thanks harley. :)

Answer #3

You can clip you birds wings, but I would take it to the vet’s and let them do it the first time around and they can show you what to do. We have a regular client that comes in to get wings clipped, nail trimed and beak filled. just some other things for you to think about, It is not that dangerous once you know what you are doing, but I would let it up to the experts for now. OH and make sure you say clipped not cutting, vet may think you cut the wings off. that would not be good.

Answer #4

I AgReE W/ThE VeT SuGgEstIoN,, because mY MoThER TRiEd CuTtInG HeR BiRD’S WiNgS HeRsElF & EnDeD Up rEAlLy hUrtiNg tHe pOoR tHiNg.. wELl iTs nT A ThInG Bt yEw nOe what I mEAn.. LOL

Answer #5

You can seriously damage the bird if you aren’t sure how to do it. Ask your vet to do it and show you. cause if you clip them too short the bird could bleed to death. It’s like cutting a nail, you cut to short, they bleed.

Answer #6

Do not clip them yourself. Drop him off at the vets to do it.

Answer #7

btw, my dad who isn’t a vet or anything clips our birds wings, but he got shown how to do it first by a vet. So go the first time and next time you’ll know how.

Answer #8

That is NOT something that you should be doing at home by yourself. You can seriously hurt or damage your pet. Take it to the vet.

Answer #9

Internet is not a good source for info. Go to a vet.

Answer #10

Once you get the hang of it, clipping a bird’s wings is a simple, safe procedure. My family has hand-raised cockatiels for many years; we’ve always clipped our birds’ wings. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a bird ENJOY the process, but there’s no reason you can’t clip wings as effectively as a professional groomer does.

What I would most definitely NOT recommend is for owners to try it out themselves based solely on reading any of these editorials. There are several ways an inexperienced owner can hurt their pet trying to do this. Ideally, you should assist a groomer, breeder, or experienced owner clip wings. This will give you valuable hands-on experience and allow you to see the correct ways hold and clip your bird. If for some reason this option isn’t available, then I would recommend a book that outlines the procedures using PICTURES, especially ones that point out the parts of the wings safe to clip.

Here’s how I do it (this is cockatiel-specific, larger breeds may require different methods; all the more reason not to “Wing It” [ha ha] the first time!):

Get a partner. One person holds the bird’s body; the other holds and clips its wings.


Capture the bird using a glove or towel. I don’t recommend using bare hands for several reasons. The only way to really hold the bird securely enough for clipping is with your palm against its back, fingers curled around the body. Most birds detest being held this way, with their wings confined - hence use of the word “capture”. In this mood even the tamest bird can bite, sometimes drawing blood. While there are many ways to securely hold a bird bare-handed while keeping it’s beak under control (for example curling the index finger over the top of the head and down the beak from behind while running the thumb and middle finger along the underside of the “jawline”), using a towel or glove is easier for beginners.

More importantly, you don’t want your pet to associate your hand with negative experiences. Believe it or not, your bird can easily learn to love that face it looks at every time it’s on your shoulder but detest the evil hand that always makes bad things happen. Have fun trying to get the little devil on your finger when you have to be somewhere and it’s time to go back in the cage! Avoid this by making the bird hate that glove or towel instead.

Capturing your bird can be delicate, because if you are reaching into a cage with that glove or trying to toss a towel on a stubborn pet, it WILL try to fly. This can put you into a potentially dangerous situation where you could put unnatural pressure on the bird’s outstretched wings when trying to “refold” them onto the body. A bird’s wings are delicate, especially when outstretched, and those joints and tendons are only meant to work in certain directions! This situation is more easily remedied with the gloves option due to the greater dexterity they afford. If using a towel, you have to be deliberate, delicate, and CAREFUL when manipulating a bird’s wings. Use a light touch; remember you are much stronger than it is. If you have to use any effort at all to put the wings back against the body, you may be bending the wing unnaturally! When in doubt, it is always better to release the bird and try later after it has calmed down.

If your bird is finger-trained, there is an easier, safer method of capture requiring some deviousness on your part. Get the bird on one finger and calm it by speaking softly and minimizing unnecessary distractions (abrupt or jerky movements, kids/pets running through the room, etc.) All the while, your other hand is quietly wriggling into your glove or grabbing the towel which is out of sight of the bird. Now calmly but QUICKLY bring the glove/towel up from behind the bird and hold it, hand wrapped around its body from behind. Little Polly’s mood will quickly change from contentment to righteous indignation, but hopefully you will have a good hold on her and, more importantly, will have avoided manipulating those fragile wing joints!

After capture, bring the bird to your clipping area (a towel spread out somewhere), where your trusty partner waits, scissors in hand. The hard part is over for you . . .


Have the Holder manipulate his or her hands so that you can get at a wing. Grasp the wing near its tip and GENTLY pull it away from the body at a 90-degree angle. Spread the wing as straight as you can.

The wing can be visually broken down into three parts. First, you have what I call the flight feathers (this may not be the term straight out of the Veterinarian Avian Handbook, though!). They are the long, straight feathers at the end of the wing. I usually clip them up to two-thirds of their length from where they meet the rest of the wing. Next comes a dense patch of feathers. These begin where the wing joins the body and end where the flight feathers join the rest of the wing. These are the main part of the wing, where most of the bone and muscle are. I never cut in this area. Lastly, you have a ruffled area directly aft (towards the bird’s rear) of the dense patch of feathers. These are more sparsely spaced and “fan out” when the wing is outstretched. You can clip a good portion of this part, but stick to the tip areas of these feathers and avoid getting too close to where they meet the body or the dense part of the wing. If in doubt about how much to cut, err on the conservative side and see how well the bird flies after.

When you’re done with a wing, gently fold it back into place and repeat the process on the other one. When that’s complete, release the bird! Depending on how tame it is, it will do one of three things:

  1. Flap wildly away, not getting very far.

  2. Stand there very tensely, blink a few times, and then decide that everything is all right again.

  3. Go right for your eyes, Hitchcock style!

If you cut the feathers too close, the quick (the hollow shaft of the feather) can bleed. This is bad. If I remember correctly, birds have a harder time dealing with this type of bleeding than we do with, say, a paper cut.

Another problem with clipping those wings too short is severely reduced flying performance. While this is, in part, the goal of clipping a birds wings, it still needs to have better aerodynamics than a cinderblock to avoid hurting itself. I like to have mine capable of level flight or perhaps a slight descent. My goal is not to have a bird gripping my shoulder with fear because it is afraid of heights! Instead, I simply wish to force the bird to work very hard to fly, but have it still capable of a gentle landing flare. So instead of trying to fly up to that curtain rod or out the door, it will decide not to bother. Make your bird WANT to be on your shoulder by spending time with it and building trust in short increments. I disagree with those epinions that promote wing-clipping as a way of “Hobbling” your pet.

That’s about it. It may sound a little intimidating at first, but if you see someone else demonstrating wing-clipping, it all comes together. After a few tries on your own, you’ll be very comfortable with the whole process.

Answer #11

why would anyone cut off their birdss wings?

Answer #12

I say that you shouldnt clip em… but if you realy want 2 go 2 a vet. there the pros =P

Answer #13

Um, yeah, thanks for the help. :/

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