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How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

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How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Michael » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:45 pm

Ok, I am really pissed off. Someone posted an interesting question (don't remember who but you know who you are) about getting a clipped parrot flying again. I spent a long time writing a thorough answer and then when I hit submit the question disappeared and I couldn't even go back to retrieve the answer I wrote because it said topic doesn't exist any more. Finally I had to hack the forum for a moment to spit out what I put in so that I could get my answer posted.

This is a two part question. Part I is about physiology and part II is about psychology. There are things we can do to improve each of these but there is only so much we can do.

Firstly the parrot needs to grow back its feathers which in itself is a challenge. Kili used to be clipped, grew back some feathers but broke others. Right now she's down to just a single primary on one of her wings because every single other primary feather broke. She can barely fly any more. I'm worried they will start breaking again when they grow back without the protection of additional feathers.

Next there could be muscle atrophy, this will be exercised gradually over time as you work on the psychological exercises. The parrot naturally doesn't want to fly as it has learned to live without flight through habit over all this time. What you will need to do is start out by developing motivation and training routine (if you haven't already). Start with basic target training. Next buy my parrot training stands. :mrgreen: Sorry the website is still incomplete but they are available. You don't have to buy them but honestly this is what I used and think it's the absolute best tool for the job but you can try using some chair backs or play gym if you'd like. The beautiful thing about the stands is that the height is adjustable and they can be positioned at progressively further distances.

Teach the parrot to walk from stand to stand by targeting back and forth for treats. Progressively increase the distance. Eventually it will get large enough that the parrot will refuse to come. Make it back a little closer. Keep going back and forth (remember this can take minutes, days, or months before you see results). Eventually the parrot will slip as it's going across the almost impossible to walk over gap and it will reflexively flap to get back up. This is when the real learning begins. You cannot force this. The parrot has to come to this conclusion itself. Keep going and the parrot will start to learn to flap as it's going across and now when you increase the distance some more it will hop and fly. This will become both psychological and physiological exercise. This can take a very long time but slowly the parrot will build up muscle and confidence. The beautiful thing is that you can soon convert this to recall and since the parrot is not previously flighted, it can learn to fly to you before anything else. You have the opportunity to shape where your parrot will choose to fly to. By making it a habit of putting on certain places and having it fly to certain places, it will mostly stick to flying to just those and not others in the long run. Here are articles I wrote about doing this process with my parrots:

http://theparrotforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=228

http://trainedparrot.com/index.php?bid= ... +to+Truman
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Michael
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby skeetersunconure » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:52 pm

thanks soooo much michael! im in this situation pretty soon so thanks!
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Azure Hanyo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:07 am

Shoot that was me! :( Sorry, I thought no one was interested and my question was stupid. TYVM for the reply!!!
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Azure Hanyo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:14 am

Michael- My question was kindred to... I have an 8-year old black-headed caique who I recently adopted. He was previously cage-bound and had clipped wings, and as far as I know has never flown. We have been working on our bonding and I was wanting to let him fly when his feathers grow in, as I think by that time we will have bonded sufficiently in order to start training.

And before anyone asks, my cockatiel was clipped when I adopted him as well, and his feathers have grown yet he doesn't fly either no matter what I do to encourage him. I want my birds to fly! Waah... :violin:

LOL I hope I didn't piss you off too much, I honestly just thought my question must have been asked before and was dumb.
:?
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby bmsweb » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:17 am

Azure Hanyo wrote:And before anyone asks, my cockatiel was clipped when I adopted him as well, and his feathers have grown yet he doesn't fly either no matter what I do to encourage him.
:?


That's interesting because both my Budgies were clipped and so was my Cockatiel. Both budgie could fly perfectly once their flight feathers grew back and my cockatiel's feathers have only just grown back now and he can also fly OK. He is still a little clumsy when flying, like landing on my head, but all in all no probs at all.

Just wondering how long has your Cockatiel been clipped? I can only imagine if the bird has been without flight for a number of years then this could be a problem.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Azure Hanyo » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:47 am

bmsweb wrote: Just wondering how long has your Cockatiel been clipped? I can only imagine if the bird has been without flight for a number of years then this could be a problem.


Archimedes was nearly 2 when I got him from the pet store, and he was clipped then. He is now nearly 3 and I haven't clipped him at all. I'm not sure if he CAN'T fly so much as he just doesn't care to? The most he has done is fluttered down from his cage to land on my shoulder. He has never flown upward, only fluttered down. He currently has all of his feathers, and just won't fly- once I even tried lifting him into the air when he was perched on my hand and then gently tossing my hand up a little, and he flapped his wings and fluttered down to the ground.

Let me say that my last cockateil was also clipped when I got him, and he flew just great after his feathers grew in. I almost wonder if Archimedes has something wrong with his wings? He doesn't appear injured or anything though, so I don't know. :?
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby bmsweb » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:17 am

That's an interesting problem. I hope you get him over it. I love the sound of my Cockatiel's wings when he is in flight as it sounds so much better than the flutter of my Conures.

I was at Bird Breeders home last week and he had a parrot that he had adopted. He had the bird on his hand and he would drop his hand, not so the bird would come off and fly, but just to the point where it would flap its wings. He mentioned it needed to condition its wing muscles because it hadn't flown for a number of year.

I honestly wasn't really paying too much attention to what he was doing with this bird as I was more interested in breeding, but you might want to look at this and see if it has any merit.

Good Luck
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Kim S » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:46 am

Whether or not a bird wil fly again after the wings grow back has a lot to do with when they were clipped the first time. This probably wont fly for all the parrots (sorry for the punn) but I have seen this a lot in my circle of birdfriends.
If a bird gets clipped before he learns to fly theres a good chance he doesnt want to when the wings grow back. That is becourse he never learned how to fly. When the birds I sell should be clipped I always make sure they know how to fly before I clip them.

Rapidly lowering the bird and making it flap is something I do with Kika on a regular basis. Usually when he has had a shower to speed up drying. But the added bonus is the building of muscles for when he can fly again. But he does attemp to fly.
Yesterday Kika was playing on his treebranch we have hanging in the room. I went outside the room for a bit, and when I came back Kika was skipping over the floor towards me. I have no idea what his idea was, but he will drop like a brick if he tries to fly and he knows that. But then again, he will risk a 6 ft fall to come walking over to me.

Thanx for posting the reply anyway Michael. It will give me a guideline when Kika will be at this stage.
Kika: Senegal Parrot.
Guus: Cockatiel, Yellowcheek, cinnamon, pearl, pied.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Michael » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:19 am

Yes, exactly. The birds that easily took up flying after the clip was terminated probably fledged properly at a younger age whereas the ones that don't fly are the ones that were clipped before they could fly. Kili was like this and so are most pet-store birds because they don't want them flying. It took a lot of work to get Kili flying but luckily I did it fairly early and it all worked out. Still she'll never fly as well as Truman.
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Re: How to get clipped parrot to start flying again

Postby Azure Hanyo » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:25 pm

UPDATE: Galileo still won't fly, but since this post she has fluttered a total of 3 times!! :) Once she made it from the shower-rod to the toilet, lmao. Another time she was perched on my knee and flutter-flew to the floor of the next room, and the other time she fell off a table and fluttered down. So not bad!

Archimedes has been improving too, with using Michael's tecnique of strengthening his wings! (I don't have perches, but he goes from my hand to a chair and we've been increasing the distance- we have about a foot now of him flying, which is so much better than what he's ever done. His best flight was from his cage (which is up high on top of a dresser) and he fluttered to my bed, a good 6 feet away, and then flew UP to a nearby chair!!! :D
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