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Let's Talk About Clipping

Chat about general parrot care and parrot owner lifestyle. Bird psychology, activities, trimming, clipping, breeding etc.

Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby shiraartain » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:28 pm

Swinging by to say that I love this thread! I've met people on both sides of the fence and there is so much knowledge to gain by listening!

Will catch up and pitch in my two cents after finals end, but for now it's back to the books for me.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby seagoatdeb » Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:52 pm

Wolf wrote:I think that everything that we talk about has quality of life ramifications for our parrots.


And for us to, because the parrots add so much to our lives too.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby Pajarita » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:00 pm

Seagoatdeb, the studies were not all on ducks, there were zebra finches, shorebirds and sparrows as well as all birds in general. And the fact that ducks fly over long distances has nothing to do with predation danger (which is mostly present when they are in the ground) and its relationship to take-off speed and height achieved -which is what the studies are about and why I posted them. They just address the 'safety' issue.

I know your point is that mild clipping can be used as an enhancement to quality of life because, in your personal opinion, owners would take their bird more often out of the cage if the bird is clipped than if it isn't but I have never found a single person who says they clip for this reason and I've been 'doing' birdsites for many years now. For what I have read in postings and without actually doing any real research on the exact numbers, I would say that 95% of the time they cite 'safety' as their reason (they have dogs or cats, they have children that come in and out and leave doors open, they have family or room-mates that would not follow rules, etc) - the other 5% is because they can't control the bird otherwise or they want to assuage aggression. And, in my personal opinion, of these three, a mild clipping only addresses one: the 'human in control' argument.

By the way, a thread on quality of life is a great idea.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby seagoatdeb » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:26 pm

Pajarita wrote:Seagoatdeb, the studies were not all on ducks, there were zebra finches, shorebirds and sparrows as well as all birds in general. And the fact that ducks fly over long distances has nothing to do with predation danger (which is mostly present when they are in the ground) and its relationship to take-off speed and height achieved -which is what the studies are about and why I posted them. They just address the 'safety' issue.

I know your point is that mild clipping can be used as an enhancement to quality of life because, in your personal opinion, owners would take their bird more often out of the cage if the bird is clipped than if it isn't but I have never found a single person who says they clip for this reason and I've been 'doing' birdsites for many years now. For what I have read in postings and without actually doing any real research on the exact numbers, I would say that 95% of the time they cite 'safety' as their reason (they have dogs or cats, they have children that come in and out and leave doors open, they have family or room-mates that would not follow rules, etc) - the other 5% is because they can't control the bird otherwise or they want to assuage aggression. And, in my personal opinion, of these three, a mild clipping only addresses one: the 'human in control' argument.

By the way, a thread on quality of life is a great idea.


Most of the people who dont take their parrot out of the cages, because they are afraid of bites or can't get the parrot back very rarely post. A mild clip can enhance quality of life, it prevents feather damage and allows the parrot to get health benefits. Also how many do you think will post that they can only manage their parrot clipped?.....of course many of those will say safety. I am trying to address the reality of the cage prisoner parrots, as well as the house bound prisoners. I am only presenting another alternative. Can you seriously tell me that a full clip is the same as a mild clip to those parrots? By presenting a mild version, I am hoping many will begin to find a clipping alternative that is better for the parrots than what they are now using. these people are not at your level of expertise. My point is that mild clipping can help quality of life, and I would like to see more qualtity of life posts, and more support to the members that need it the most. I am saying that small steps toward quality are better than presenting too much info at once that is overwhelming for some people to achieve. I know you have often said, that people like that should not even have parrots, but the reality is that they do and they need help, like all of us, but even more.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby Pajarita » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:41 am

I am getting a bit confused by your answers so let me recap what I understand and we will take it from there. We have already establish that a severe clip is a complete no-no - there is no question about that. We have also establish that, when we talk about 'to clip or not to clip' we are not talking about a temporary measure or a learning curve issue but a husbandry choice.

Your contention is that a mild clip would ensure a better quality of life for the bird because, for certain owners, it means the difference between taking the parrot out of the cage or not but (and correct me if I am wrong) you also state that these owners don't admit to this so (and I am not trying to be difficult or facetious) how do you know this to be a fact? Because, going by your post (which I could be misunderstanding), it seems to me that you are basing your entire premise on an assumption.

Now, I would enjoy threads on quality of life as a whole; whether information to newbies is better in bits or in a longer, more 'holistic' way; what is the best way to help cage-bound parrots and even whether parrots should be kept as pets at all but let's finish one subject before we go on to others, shall we?
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby seagoatdeb » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:51 pm

Pajarita wrote:I am getting a bit confused by your answers so let me recap what I understand and we will take it from there. We have already establish that a severe clip is a complete no-no - there is no question about that. We have also establish that, when we talk about 'to clip or not to clip' we are not talking about a temporary measure or a learning curve issue but a husbandry choice.

Your contention is that a mild clip would ensure a better quality of life for the bird because, for certain owners, it means the difference between taking the parrot out of the cage or not but (and correct me if I am wrong) you also state that these owners don't admit to this so (and I am not trying to be difficult or facetious) how do you know this to be a fact? Because, going by your post (which I could be misunderstanding), it seems to me that you are basing your entire premise on an assumption.

Now, I would enjoy threads on quality of life as a whole; whether information to newbies is better in bits or in a longer, more 'holistic' way; what is the best way to help cage-bound parrots and even whether parrots should be kept as pets at all but let's finish one subject before we go on to others, shall we?



Mild clip leaves most parrots with more flight than a moulting parrot so yes it does leave them with the same or similar quality of life to a fully flighted parrot. I do not favor complete clipping but will help anyone who still does this anyway, as long as they are handling their parrot, feeding it well and giving it a good life. I use how healthy and "happy". the parrots life as a guide for the quality of life. I believe everyone has the right to make their own choice. For example an owner could have a fully flighted parrot, and not give it enough natural sunshine, all the way down to neglecting, so not clipping alone is not any way to judge quality of life.

I base my belief that, most clipping is done so that owners can handle the parrrot better and usually some safety feature is there, ex. parrot is getting into things it shouldnt. My belief is on over 20 years of expereience. Clipping is an active thing, so most cage bound parrots are fully feathered, neglected parrots that need attenttion and are better with an owner who improves their conditions, than in a shelters that are overflowing.

I do not favor over pushing unclipped to newbies. Rather, let them know other options and give them choice.

Anything like mild clipping or outside time improves quality of life to me they are related and I may talk again about that. After all, arent we stating our views on clipping becasue we believe it is better for the parrrots life.
Last edited by seagoatdeb on Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby Wolf » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:51 pm

As long as there are two humans and a parrot or other animal, or even just two people there are going to be differences in opinion and some of them can be resolved one way or the other, some of them can't.

Clipping a birds wings is one of those things that is not likely to be resolved one way or the other, there are just too many variables involved. Perhaps one day when there is scientific research done on the long and short term effects of the different forms of clipping, then their will be a definitive answer. Because there has been no research into this, there is no definitive answer.

I, personally against the clipping of a birds wings, but I do recognize that regardless of what I believe that there are currently no studies on this that provide all of the answers and for that reason, I am here to learn and am not trying to prove that my belief is the only true and correct way to keep a parrot. I also think that for most of those who do use clipping that it is meant to be a short term thing and not a constant, but we will never know if we o not at least listen to them.

So far, Seagoatdeb has been the only person to come forth with her belief that there are times that a milder form of clipping can be used in a way that is beneficial to both the human and the parrot. I am certain that there are many more peoples of similar beliefs on this and I for one would like to hear from them.

As far as I have been aware of not one forum that I have found has succeeded in having a meaningful discussion of this topic and I would really like to be able to listen to the evidence that those who believe that some forms of clipping might be used to benefit the parrot. Would it be possible for us to not treat those that are in favor of clipping as enemies to be squashed at the earliest opportunity, and instead take the time to listen. If in the end we who believe that clipping a birds wings is bad for the bird in all circumstances that it is not required to be done due to a medical reason are correct in our beliefs there is plenty of time to prove this if we can and so we can afford to listen on this thread to the other point of view. But on the other hand can we afford to not listen and have science eventually prove that we are wrong and that some clips may actually be beneficial in some circumstances and miss out on learning more now about something that may help the human/parrot interactions and relationship? The biggest complaint that I keep hearing from those who do use clipping is that those of us who believe otherwise will not listen and allow them to present their side of this subject and in the end this in itself prolongs tis as an unresolved and hot topic. We need to listen to these other views. These are not people who are trying to harm these birds and they do deserve the opportunity to speak their piece just the same as the rest of us. This is how we learn, so let's be patient and create an atmosphere conducive to hearing both sides in full.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby Pajarita » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:29 am

I personally think that we are doing very well on this thread, Wolf. I just wish there were more people contributing to the debate.

Personally, I don't think that people that clip are aware of the fact that, if the bird gets lost, the fact that they are clipped compounds the danger they are in which is why I provided the links to studies that prove it. I also don't think that it's because of a lack of expertise in handling because, for what I have read, people who clip as a lifestyle choice just keep on doing it even after they've had the same bird for years and years.

In my personal opinion, clipping will become a thing of the past and I base this on what I read posted on birdsites. There was a time when EVERYBODY clipped (and we had terrible clips like the unilateral and the harsh standard) or kept their birds in cages (and tiny ones at that!) more as ornaments that anything else but, nowadays, you have more and more people who don't, who see their birds as beloved companions, complex sentient and feeling beings that deserve better treatment than a plant.

As to better quality of life for the bird... well, I think that this is something that has been and will continue to change - an evolving paradigm shift in bird husbandry, if you will. People are now much more aware of their birds needs -both physiological and psychological- and more effort, time and money is put into improving their living conditions from housing to light to diet to toys, etc. But I think that the most important change has been that whereas before we used to think that some birds were bad, period, we now try to understand the reasons behind their behaviors and correct what is making them act up.

As to not treating the people who don't agree with us as enemies, well, of course we should not! But, on the other hand, we need to remember that if it wasn't for the people who advocated (and argue :D ) for better conditions, all these improvements wouldn't have happened so fast or in such a large scale. Change only happens when there is force behind it and peer pressure or acceptance of a particular behavior is a huge factor. Seagoatdeb talks of the 'reality' of pet parrot life but reality is not a static, unchangeable state. It changes as perceptions change. What was reality to us 20 years ago in terms of what proper bird husbandry was is not the same reality we have nowadays. And this is what gives me hope.

In conclusion, I hope that people who think they are insuring their bird's safety with clipping realize they are not - same as people who feel they can only handle a bird if it's clipped will realize that a bird does not need to be clipped to be handled, that utilizing proper techniques for bonding and training, anybody who wants to put the time and effort into it can learn to do it.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby Wolf » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:58 pm

Not argueing with anything that you are saying about clipping and I think that in time this will become a thing of the past but probably not until we can sit down and listen to each other first. Unless people feel safe in opening up and talking then this will not happen . Yes you are putting the most effort into advocating for this change at least on this thread and that is not a bad thing. but I would like to hear from more people on this topic than just you , seagoatdeb and myself. I want to hear from the people themselves about how and why they are clipping as well as what they hope to accomplish by it.

I am not attempting to muzzle you or anyone by this and I am not speaking as a moderator in this other than that I started this wanting to hear from those who practice clipping. There is not much use in my presenting a lot of scientific evidences or anything else until I hear from the other camp. There is more to this than just scientific evidence, which anyone can find and read at anytime, but I don't know what it is. There are many questions in my mind about this and unfortunately you don't have the answers. They are the type that I can only get from them. I just want to hear from them about this.
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Re: Let's Talk About Clipping

Postby seagoatdeb » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:42 pm

I dont think it will ever become a "thing" of the past. I have seen groups that favor clipping and come down on members who dont clip. Thats the reality. I am in the middle, using clips if needed and very mildly, so as to retain the health benefits. But the cliping issue is really not the biggest issue with the parrots. It is the realtionship between the parrot and person, that will change each parrots life for the better if we support that.
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