Wing Clipping



The following are comments taken from Cockatiels (Weiros) Australia Facebook group. They represent views from cockatiel owners. They do not claim to be factual or correct. Please take this information as a guide only and consult with an avian vet before deciding whether to clip your bird’s wings.



Wynter M you should only cut the primary feathers a little below the coverts.. clipping too far can injure your bird, and remember to always clip both wings!

Meg B If you clip them pop the straight on the floor and leave them there until they have few attempts at flying. This way they are aware of what has happened before you lift them up high.  Even a clipped Weiro should not be taken outside without a harness. As Michelle said a breeze or a fright and they can often go further than we expect. They also adjust to their clipped wings and over time can fly well. Some people re-clip one more feather each side once this happens.

Meg B Check and see how many feathers have been clipped before you do the other side you don’t want him falling too hard. I don’t know why some people choose to clip just one either. I always do both.

Walter S some birds will be able to fly away if the wings are balanced, many a bird has been lost, you only need to look at the classifieds. If you keep him inside with doors and windows closed, no probs clip the other and let them grow.

Walter S Please remember, no matter how tame and that they stay with you while inside, they fly away when outside , even with clipped wings a gust of wind will take them away. My wife hand rears these great little birds and we have lost a few over the years. Have fun.



Kali N I think you should take her to a vet if you are not comfortable and familiar with the practice. Have them show you how to do it properly, it should only be 2-3 feathers clipped on each wing. PLEASE do not clip only one wing!

Michelle E I’ve heard to clip both wings evenly, otherwise it’s quite cruel. In case you don’t know, cockatiels are excellent at flying and (same as any bird) only need a slight gust of wind to elevate them so they can actually fly. All clipping wings does is prevent them from taking off by themselves. This means if they escape (which happens far too often) they are able to fly far, far away, but once they land they’re unable to fly away from predators unless another gust of wind comes along. It’s a very personal choice and sometimes clipping is necessary for the bird’s safety, but I personally choose not to clip my birds’ wings as I feel better knowing that if they did escape they could fly away from attackers. Best to go to a vet for it if you’re not certain – I believe they charge about $15 but not sure

Meg B Wing clipping is a personal choice and there are many arguments for and against so do some reading. If you choose to do it you can go to a vet or get someone to teach you. I can teach you how if your interested but you would have to drive to Gosnells. There are a few good youtube videos and diagrams.

Michelle E I’m pretty sure (clipping one side only is) so they don’t go far. I think the theory is that they’ll just fly around in circles so they are less likely to crash into things. But they still do. I also feel it’s a bit mean and weird, but you’ve been given good advice. Even if he had both wings clipped he would still crash into things, unfortunately it’s just part of the learning & growing process. It’s so scary to watch, but they are stronger than we think. So probably give him a couple of weeks and then maybe even it out (for it might be best to take him to a vet or someone who knows what they’re doing)

Elizabeth H (I’m) not sure about the wing clip thing, I always think this is their survival and once clipped we take that away… Just something to consider

Michelle E If he is already very tame he will *want* to come to you. They form such close bonds, sometimes you’ll be wanting him to go away haha! Mine are free to fly around in my room, and my apartment when I had one, but most of the time they want to be where you are. You do have to keep an eye on them though, they are like children – if you don’t hear noise then be concerned

Michelle E I like to have mine grown out, I feel so guilty when they’re clipped. A bird’s greatest feature that we all envy is their ability to fly, I couldn’t take that away from them. (But I don’t look down on anyone who does!) I found that when their wings were clipped and growing out my two would crash into everything – only with them fully grown out do they not fly into anything because they have complete control. Not once since they’ve been grown out have they crashed/flown into anything

Cec R Better clipped for me at least safe and won’t flew away if accidentally left the door open

Meg B Definitely personal choice. Consider your household and your birds safety. As long as they are loved and well cared for either way is fine. I choose to clip mine lightly. Slows them down but does not stop flying. it’s important not to lip too harshly or too much at a time. Only clipping three or four feathers will stop falling injuries.

Shauna B If I were you, I would clip both … and just take about 4-5 off each side while leaving the first two primaries there to give the impression of unclipped wings when they are not in flight. This also helps them glide through the air pockets and stay balanced in flight. Clipping all is cruel as is clipping just one wing because the birds try to correct to adjust their trajectory, but it does not work of course. … When you think you have clipped enough, give your bird a test flight or two, just to make sure you have taken enough to stop them getting the lift they need to get up into the thermals and get away. Wind gusts are responsible for many pet birds being swept up accidentally. That is why I never take mine outside without their cage. Also a fright from another bird or animal can cause them to react and their usual is to fly straight up to avoid the danger. Often, they cannot get home again. Vets prefer both wings clipped with a minimum number if possible and make sure you do not clip shorter than the end of the secondary flight feathertips.

Jodie H I love it when they fly. It feelz like therez a genuine trust when they fly to you

Kylie G Some grow them back out and tend to find that they prefer to fly back to the owner at all times so I think it’s important for the bonding process

Michelle E I’m anti-wing clipping. I think it’s ok when you first get them and are building your relationship with them, but once you’ve had them for a while I like to just let them grow out.
Sometimes it can take a while for them to learn to fully fly properly. I think it took mine a good 6 months before they stopped crashing into things completely?  Mine have a joy flying around every morning, it’s like they’re playing a game…. We always say “I wish I could fly like a bird”…. and here we have birds and we’re taking away that amazing ability from them



Ayla M I hope I can just remind you all to never assume your birdy won’t fly away while you’re changing their food or cleaning their cage, even with their wing clipped they can fly far enough away out of sight

Leah W The breeder … chopped every single feather on one wing to this level and didn’t chop any on the other side. (It) left her flying “drunk” and she’s very sensitive of her wings and crashes a lot when flying.

Cara L I almost lost my little Peli today. She flew out the door for the first time ever. New wing feathers I hadn’t gotten around to clipping. She was being chased by magpies when my fiance caught up to her. I am so strung with emotion my goodness. I just want everyone to keep their babies safe! “I’ll clip them tomorrow” is something I’ll never say again!

Kirsten M I keep my babies clipped, only because I had an incident where my little girl Lola had flown into the side of out tele and she crashed really really hard to the point where a cloud of feathers were floating in the air… I love them being able to fly around as they please, but it’s so scary when something like that happens, so I keep them clipped to avoid accidents

Jill L I never had Hagrid clipped, he would fly around the house but my new girl Olympe came to us clipped and to be honest it works better for us that she is. I feel safer knowing if we accidentally leave a door open she isn’t going to get out

Deanna J I clip, as my boy flew out the door ask I was taking out bin “I found him safe 12hrs later” soooo lucky. I clip yes (its dangerous both ways,If they only fly off the lounge or top of cage they can crush their chest bones etc) I googled this after I’d clipped him. Good luck

Chevvy B I would clip (both wings). I hate how they do one wing:/ what’s the point of it?  They should be more balanced but also if you literally just got him you have to give him time to get used to his surroundings. He’s going to be stressed and scared so his flying is going to be erratic anyways.

Alicia S My bird had one wing heavily clipped. I trimmed the other one because he would not be able go control his directions and crash into things hard. When i clipped the other one he was at least able to control the direction and glide/ fall less heaviy down. I let the wings grow back after he settled in and got used to be handled.

Danielle G It upsets me seeing him try to fly and he can’t, so I think we will allow him some flight once his wings grow if we still feel confident in keeping him safe.

Chevvy B … So happy I didn’t clip his wings again, he flies perfectly now. And he flies to me too XD

Susan E Personally I found my birds much happier and more confident when fully flighted. I would not have a bird with wings clipped. However I understand people have different feelings on this and will disagree for their own reasons. Your birds will get used to flying and not crash after some practice. I have noted with my own birds that flying gives them so much pleasure.

Leah W Definitely clip both wings, same feathers trimmed on each side. I say this from experience. My bird Ange came with one wing clipped from breeder and it really affected her movement and balance, and nearly 12 months later still has not grown back properly and she’s not confident moving around.



Meg B In this link it is the green and yellow feathers you want to trim only no shorted than the next row of feathers. This is the top of the wing in the diagram. Start with just three of four feathers on both sides. Then test you bird to see how much flight it has. Only take one feather at a time from each side. After that and test flight in between. I find four feathers either side on a cockatiel enough to give them a gentle flight downwards but no lift. Some younger birds three is enough.



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