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Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Discuss indoor freeflight and managing freeflighted birds around the house. How to live with a flighted parrot.

Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby pennyandrocky » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:12 pm

my :gcc: was clipped before i got him at the age of 2. to see him now you would never guess he is a pro flyer, he just landed on my shoulder. i don't think you have anything to worry about yours is still very young.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby Eurycerus » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:16 pm

I agree. I am supposedly the first person to allow my Senegals feathers to grow out and she can fly quite well. However i did have a cockatiel that never learned how to fly properly after being clipped by the breeder.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby Jenny » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:14 am

I have a 21yr old white-capped Pionus that I adopted from a rescue organization. She had a (sloppy) wing-clipping at some point before I got her. It is my intention to allow her feathers to grow out & see if she can learn to fly. My vet theorizes that she's always been clipped, as her keel is as defined & sharp as a knife, due to the fact that the muscles on either side of the keel are severly atrophied. So, although I remain hopeful, it's possible that she'll never fly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she molts this spring & then we'll see what happens! In the meantime, we do some flapping excercises every day in an attempt to have her a little stronger when (if!) she molts.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby marie83 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:20 am

Jenny wrote:I have a 21yr old white-capped Pionus that I adopted from a rescue organization. She had a (sloppy) wing-clipping at some point before I got her. It is my intention to allow her feathers to grow out & see if she can learn to fly. My vet theorizes that she's always been clipped, as her keel is as defined & sharp as a knife, due to the fact that the muscles on either side of the keel are severly atrophied. So, although I remain hopeful, it's possible that she'll never fly. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she molts this spring & then we'll see what happens! In the meantime, we do some flapping excercises every day in an attempt to have her a little stronger when (if!) she molts.


21 years is quite old to be learning to fly, she may only ever make a poor flier if she has been clipped all her life but rest assured she will build those muscles up bit by bit.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby Jenny » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:46 pm

Even if she never learns to fly, I would think that once all her feathers come in, over time she will come to realize a bit more confidence in her ability to move around on her own, & thus a bit more emotional health. I'd be happy just to see her hop & flutter around like my flighted tiel does.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby pennyandrocky » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:14 pm

my :amazon: was caged for almost 20 years and had wing atrophy. you might have to teach your bird to fly like i did. my :amazon: couldn't fly farther than my neighbors yard but he did learn. i encouraged wing flapping by having him on my hand and gently raisning it up and down until he built up enough muscle to take off.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby Jenny » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:45 pm

now that's encouraging! I'll tell my Pionus there's hope for her yet!! :D
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby Andromeda » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:37 pm

To some degree whether or not one clip causes permanent damage depends on the bird.

My GCC (who is a rehome) was not allowed to fly until he was 3 1/2 but he is an extremely good flier. He does not have noticeable damage from being clipped. I live in a two-story house and he follows me around, flying, all over the house. He can turn a complete 180 on a dime and sometimes he will fly from the living room downstairs up the stairs and into the den (or vice versa) all in one flight which not only is a good distance but requires flying up or down as well as two really tight 180 degree turns. It's hard to imagine that he could be a better flier than he is because he is excellent at maneuvering but in reality if he were always flighted he'd be even better.

However, I have another bird (a rescued brown-headed parrot) who has suffered permanent damage from being clipped, both psychologically and in regards to his ability to fly. He had a severe clip when we adopted him and had no ability to slow himself when he fell, so he would fall hard and he was a terrified bird who fell constantly. He was also in the middle of a molt and he would constantly break blood feathers (his primaries). When we went to go visit him in the rescue as soon as we entered the room (before we even had a chance to approach him) he fell and broke a blood feather just from seeing us walk through the door.

We let his wings grow out and I have been actively trying to re-fledge him for over a year but he doesn't want to co-operate; he is just not motivated to fly even extremely short distances despite being on food management. He doesn't have the confidence. He has had the ability to fly for 3 1/2 - 4 years now but the only time he flies is when he's startled. Over the course of several years of just flying face-first straight into walls, doors, cabinets and furniture he has gained a bit of control and he can slow himself down before landing and generally does not fly into obstacles anymore. Sometimes he does a few loops of the room before he lands.

He plucked for a little while and I think it was psychological and had roots in all those falls he had when he was younger combined with the fact that he feels powerless over his environment due to his inability to fly to get where he wants to go. His fearfulness is radically better than when he adopted him but he is still a cautious, somewhat fearful bird with a very strong "bite" instinct and his entire personality seems to be shaped by the clip(s) he had before we adopted him.

If you have any control over the situation do not permit your bird to be clipped.
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Re: Clip Once = Permanent Damage?

Postby pennyandrocky » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:17 pm

like andromeda said your bird won't fly perfect the first few times, so to avoid injury and loss of confidence pick a room to practice and hang some blankets on the walls to give her a soft place to land.
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