To Clip or Not to Clip Your Budgie’s Wings? (That is the Question!)

It’s the age old question: Should you or shouldn’t you clip your pet budgie’s wings? Do a little asking around, and you’ll find that the concept of clipping a budgie’s wings (or any bird’s, for that matter) is quite the controversy, similar to that of declawing a cat. Many people are of the opinion that it’s acceptable to wing clip, while others firmly believe the opposite.

It is important to note that the act of wing clipping should only ever be done to limit your budgie’s ability to fly, not to remove this ability completely. Birds rely on their wings to get them from place to place, even if it’s just from one perch to another beside it. Strip them of their wings and you strip them of their mobility, which is not the purpose of clipping.

So, to clip or not to clip? That is the question… let’s find the answer!

To Clip:

  • Safety – Budgies with clipped wings are safer from certain dangers around the home such as flying out of an open window or door, flying into a ceiling fan, or landing on a hot or dangerous surface.
  • Bonding & Training – It may be a bit easier in the beginning to bond with your budgie and to train them if they aren’t able to get away as easily. Clipping their wings severely limits their mobility, and may teach them to be more dependent on their owner.
  • Temperament – Some believe clipping leads to a more even tempered and docile bird, similar to the personality changes often associated with having a pet spayed or neutered.
  • Cleanliness – A flighted bird can and will decorate the home with droppings, anywhere and everywhere. By wing clipping, owners are more able to control where these droppings fall.

Not To Clip:

  • Biology – It is in a bird’s nature to fly… why else give them wings? Nearly all species of birds have the ability to soar, and though your budgie may spend its life inside your home, having the ability to fly is still an important of what makes your bird, well, a bird. Flying is what they were born and created for, even if it’s just around your house.
  • Health – Flying is an excellent form of exercise for your pet budgie; if not the only form. And we all know how important exercise is to overall health, not just for humans, but for animals too. Allowing your budgie the freedom to exercise (a.k.a. fly) will potentially lengthen their lifespan.
  • Distress – Feather plucking is a serious, self-destructive behavior that many birds with clipped wings engage in. As birds were born to be creatures of the sky, one can only imagine the mental anguish a bird might be going through who is unable to fly at all.
  • Danger – One of the major reasons birds have the ability to fly at all, is to quickly and easily escape danger. If you clip your budgie’s wings, you could potentially be putting them at risk of harm, especially if you have other pets in the house.

Though these reasons for and against clipping are important to consider, it is ultimately up to YOU as your budgie’s owner to decide which is more suitable for your particular bird and situation. But if you are going to wing clip, it is best to have it done by a professional if at all possible. There’s been many a horror story of a wing clipping gone wrong, leaving the bird to suffer for it.

If having their wings clipped by a professional is not possible, make sure you do your research thoroughly before attempting to do it yourself. The risk of injuring, disabling, and/or mutilating your bird through improper wing clipping is very real.

Some Quick Tips to Clip:

  • Choose a quiet area to perform the task, as it will help to keep your budgie calm throughout the process.
  • Gently restrain your budgie during clipping with a soft towel to minimize any movements that may put them at risk for injury, as well as any biting or scratching you might endure as a result.
  • Only clip the primary flight feathers and make sure to avoid any that appear particularly dark in color, as these may be “blood” or “pin” feathers that will bleed when cut.
  • Clip the wings even on both sides so as not to affect your budgie’s balance.

So… to clip or not to clip? Well, the answer is up to you and what you decide is best! As with any important decision in life (and clipping your feather baby’s wings is definitely one of those important decisions!) you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible to make the most informed decision you can.

My personal opinion is to let my budgies go au naturale. I do not clip the wings of my budgies, however, I don’t judge those who do. What is right for one household, might not be right for another. Every parent parents differently, whether it’s the parenting of a human child or that of a beloved pet.

Enjoy your feathered friend, and as always, here’s to finding your budgie bliss!

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