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Clipping Budgie Wings: Is It Cruel? How To Do It?

Clipping Budgie Wings

Budgies have 10 primary flight feathers on each wing. If these feathers are lost or damaged, your pet bird may be unable to fly. 

Because of this, you might be curious to know, is clipping budgie wings cruel? Trimming your parakeets’ flight feathers is not a cruel practice. First, the process is painless since you only trim at the edges. Also, it does not involve clipping all the feathers but just a few. Therefore, your birds can still fly, flutter, and glide at low heights.

But how much does it cost to clip your bird’s wings? Below is a guide on how to trim your budgies’ feathers and everything else you need to know.

Is Clipping Budgie Wings Cruel?

No, because it does not physically harm your pet bird. It is like trimming your hair or nails, which is painless. This is because you only cut the ends of your bird’s feathers without touching the blood vessels. Besides, the goal of clipping your bird’s wings is not to stop them from flying but to keep them safe.

Budgie Wings

Typically, clipping budgie wings involve trimming only 2-5 of their flight feathers for safety reasons only. Consequently, this helps prevent your parakeets from flying far and taking off through an open window or door. It also helps limit your birds’ access to dangers like:

  • Hot stoves and ovens
  • Ceiling fans
  • Sinks and toilets
  • Toxic plants or household products

This means your budgies can still fly but not as high or far as if they had unclipped feathers. In other words, your clipped birds can still take off for shorter distances before safely landing on the floor. This is because budgies may have difficulty maintaining their balance in the air longer without their long-flight feathers.

Is Clipping Budgie Wings Cruel

Another reason clipping budgies’ wings is not cruel is that the process is not permanent. Your budgie flight feathers will grow back as long as the trimming is done correctly. This happens during molting when your parakeets shed their old plumage and develop new ones. 

Should I Clip My Budgies Wings?

Yes, but only if it is for safety purposes. This is because your parakeets risk getting injured by structures like the windows and fans due to flying high. In addition, these birds will not likely go into dangerous places like open toilets. Clipping some of their wings lets them fly low.

Should I Clip My Budgies Wings

Another safety reason for trimming your bird’s feathers is your budgies will be less likely to go missing via an open door. And if the birds manage to escape from your house, they will not go far. This makes it easier to locate them. Additionally, it is easier to handle and retrieve a clipped budgie in the house.

Do Clipping A Budgie’s Wings Disable Them?

Yes, to some extent. However, it only disables the birds partially since trimming their feathers usually limits their mobility. This means your budgies cannot fly as efficiently as they would if their feathers were not cut. They can only fly a little bit and for a short time.

Do Clipping A Budgie's Wings Disable Them

The good news? The clipped feathers usually grow back during the molting stage. Therefore, your birds can still fly as before after shedding the old wings. 

Can A Budgie With Clipped Wings Ever Fly Again? Can It Disable Them?

Yes. After trimming budgie flight feathers, your pet birds can still fly. This is because the process involves cutting a few flight feathers, yet these birds have approximately 10 flight feathers per wing. You just clip your bird’s first 2 to 5 primary feathers on each wing.

Can A Budgie With Clipped Wings Ever Fly Again

In addition, you don’t clip the entire wings but only the birds. Your pet birds can fly but not as high or far as before. However, the process does disable them to some degree since it restricts their movement.

How Much Does It Cost To Clip Budgie Wings? 

The cost varies based on the bird’s size, location, and the number of budgie flight feathers to trim. Keeping this in mind, you can expect to pay between $30 and $60 to have the wings cut in a pet store. This is because professional vets typically perform other checkups before doing the clipping.

How Much Does It Cost To Clip Budgie Wings

However, in some vet clinics, you can pay $5 to $15 for the service alone. But if you decide to trim yourself, it will cost you nothing. You just need to buy razor-sharp scissors and a first aid kit. 

See also:  How Often Do Budgies Lay Eggs? Do Budgies Lay Eggs Every Day?

Also read: Toys For Budgies

Does Petsmart Clip Parakeet Wings?

PetSmart stores don’t clip budgie’s wings unless you ask them to on the day you buy the bird. In addition, not all stores offer this service.

Does Petco Clip Budgie Wings?

Yes, they do. If you buy budgies from the Petco store, your birds will come with clipped wings. The store is known to routinely clip parakeet’s feathers at the vaccine clinics. However, it is advisable to call the Petco store near you to inquire if they do clip budgie wings. 

Budgie Wing Clipping Diagram

If you are unsure which budgie wings to clip or where to cut from, below is an illustration to help you.

Budgie Wing Clipping Diagram

In the diagram above, you can see that you should only trim the primary budgie flight feathers. You can clip up to 5 feathers per wing to ensure your bird does not entirely lose mobility. 

How To Clip A Parakeet’s Wings?

You can clip their feathers at home if it is impossible to take your budgies to a vet clinic. This option is even cheaper. But how do you do it? Following is a guide to help you.

How To Clip A Parakeet's Wings

Step 1: Get the right tools

Before you start clipping parakeet wings, gather the right tools for the job. These include razor-sharp scissors, a towel (optional), and a first aid kit comprising gauze, styptic powder, and first aid tape.

Step 2: Restrain your bird

Next up, get another person to help you hold your budgie safely in one place. Alternatively, you could also use a towel to restrain your bird. Using the towel, you simply hold your budgie around its neck and back using one of your hands.

Step 3: Locate the primary feathers

Parakeets have two types of flight feathers, including primary and secondary. However, you should not trim the secondary wings.

Locate the primary feathers

So, start by identifying the primary budgie flight feathers. Then, gently extend your bird’s first wing using your other hand.

Step 4: Trim the wings

Using scissors, carefully cut the ends of the first 4 primary feathers on both wings. Just make sure not to trim the feathers too close to the shafts or the blood feathers. This will hurt your budgie, and it could bleed profusely.

Step 5: Check if budgie can fly high

After clipping the first 4 feathers on both wings, release your bird to see if it can fly high and longer distances. You must cut the fifth primary feather to limit its flying ability if it can still fly. 

Below, you can watch how to clip your parakeets’ wings correctly without hurting their blood feathers:

Budgie Bird Behavior After Wing Clipping

Sometimes, your budgie bird may develop behavioral and psychological problems after wing clipping. This happens, especially if you hurt your bird’s blood feathers or over-trim them.

Budgie Bird Behavior After Wing Clipping

Additionally, if you leave sharp ends, they may lead to discomfort and irritation to your budgie. Due to the irritation, some parakeets may develop feather-plucking behavior. Your bird may also become stressed due to the trimming and exhibit behavior like biting and screaming. This occurs once they realize it is impossible to fly as efficiently as before.

Does It Hurt To Clip A Budgie’s Wings?

If done correctly, it does not hurt. The whole process of clipping parakeets’ wings is painless. After all, the edges of the primary feathers, which is what you must cut, don’t have blood vessels or skin.

Does It Hurt To Clip A Budgie's Wings

However, if you accidentally clip the new growing plumage or the blood feathers, this will hurt your budgies. Due to the pain, your bird may panic and flap its wings, causing more blood loss.

Is It Cruel To Trim Budgie Wings?

It is not unless you do it for the wrong reasons. Budgie wing clipping is only done for safety purposes. This is because if you don’t trim the feathers, they can fly away via any openings in the house, including the windows.

Is It Cruel To Trim Budgie Wings

And when this happens, you may never find your birds. Unfortunately, the chances of your captive budgies surviving in the wild after escaping are low.

See also:  Can Budgies Live Outside in Winter?

However, it is cruel to clip all your bird’s feathers, making them unable to fly even a little bit. This is because, after trimming the feathers, your budgies should still be able to fly but for shorter distances.

Do Clipped Wings In Budgies Grow Back? How Long Does It Take

Yes, they do, since the process is not permanent. When all the feathers have regrown, your birds will start flying as efficiently as they used before having the wings trimmed. But sometimes, your budgies may have to relearn how to fly.

Do Clipped Wings In Budgies Grow Back

But how long does it take for the feathers to regrow? This may take between 6 and 18 months. But if your budgies molt shortly after the wings clipping, they may take less than 12 months to regrow.

When To Clip Budgies Wings and How Often?

The right time to clip the wings of your pet birds is when your budgies have already learned to fly well. Generally, at the age of 4-5 weeks, budgies are usually fully feathered and can fly. Therefore, most recommend you trim your birds’ wings when they are 6 to 8 weeks old.

When To Clip Budgies Wings

Regarding how often to trim the feathers, vets recommend you do it between 1 and 3 months. This should be after the beginning of every molt cycle when the new feathers grow back. However, some budgies may require trimming the feathers more often.

Alternatives to Wing Clipping

If you decide not to clip your bird’s wings, that’s perfectly okay. But how do you ensure the safety of your budgie in this case? Check out these alternatives to wing clipping.

Alternatives to Wing Clipping

Bird-proofing the house

You need to get a room dedicated to your budgies where they can fly as much as they need. Then, you should bird-proof the space by ensuring the windows and doors stay closed when out of the cage. 

Use a harness or carrier

If going outside with your bird, you should ensure it has a harness or put it in the carrier. In other words, you should not leave the house with your budgie if not restrained.

Getting an aviary

You can buy or build an aviary and place it outside your house. This will allow your bird to exercise safely without the risk of flying away.

Alternatives to Wing Clipping

Taming and training your bird

Another alternative to clipping budgie wings is to tame and train your bird various commands like stay, come, and stop.

Monitor bird at all times

If you don’t want to clip your birds’ feathers, you must monitor them all through when they are not in the cage.

FAQs

Want to learn more regarding whether or not trimming the feathers of your bird is a cruel practice? Check out these frequently asked questions.

1. Do budgies feel pain when clipping their wings?

No, unless you accidentally clip the shafts of their new growing feathers. Cutting the primary flight feathers does not hurt since they lack blood vessels. However, trimming the feathers too much may lead to injury and can be painful for your bird.

2. Can you clip budgie wings at home?

Yes, you can. You just need a pair of sharp scissors and someone to help you restrain your bird. You need to also know how to identify the primary feathers and at what point to clip. This way, you don’t over-trim the wings.

3. Is clipping budgie wings permanent?

No. The clipped feathers usually grow back after the molting cycle. During this time, your bird sheds its old feathers, forming new ones. Typically, it can take up to 18 months for the wings to regrow.

Related: What Do Budgies Eat And What They Don’t?

Conclusion

Overall, the pros of clipping budgie wings outweigh the cons. Because first, clipped feathers usually grow back. In addition, the process is not painful. Not to mention, your birds can still fly after their feathers have been cut.

However, whether or not to clip your bird’s feathers is a personal decision. After all, there are several alternatives to trimming the wings. 

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Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of Birdsauthority.com. As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts