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Re: Why you shouldn't wing clip yet more info

Posted by Emma on 6/01/05
(82) Comments

    > I would like to clarify, this was not written by me, but
    > by someone who wholeheartedly shares my opinion on this
    > topic. Please read my last post under Birdie Welfare for
    > my opinion.

    I'd never clip my birds - flying is SO important for their
    health both mental and physical! I know It's seen as 'best
    practice' in the US, but I just know you'll all look back in
    10 years time and think - can you believe we used to do

    I know you're doing it out of love for your birdies, and
    concern for their safety. But couldn't you use that love to
    make their environment safe, and put in the training to have
    a well behaved, fully flighted bird?

    In the UK wing-clipping is not the automatic norm, and my
    avian vet assures me he does not see a string of birds with
    flight related injuries...
    Birds were designed to fly, it's a physiological and
    behavioural NEED. It strengthens their cardiovascular and
    respiratory systems in a way that NO OTHER FORM OF EXERCISE
    can replicate. And frustrating behavioural needs results in
    displacement behaviours and/or steriotypies - some of which
    can be extremely negative (feather-plucking, excessive
    screaming etc)

    There is nothing quite like the beauty and joy of a bird in
    full flight!

    Of course I have windows too (and a big glass door), but my
    parrots are quite able to learn where and what they are.
    What I did when they arrived in their new home, (and still
    do every time they are visiting somewhere new) was: walk
    around with the bird on my hand and go up to each window. I
    would then move the bird closer and closer to the window,
    until - bump - their beak touched the glass! Then I tap the
    glass with my finger and say 'look window!'. I go round each
    window in turn following the same procedure. Then, for the
    first couple of weeks, I leave a sticker in the centre of
    each pane (you can get pretty ones that aren't sticky, but
    just peel off easily when you don't want them any more).
    Anyway long story short - it works, my birds understand the
    concept of a window... (and mirror).
    They also don't crash into any objects (I have pillars,
    hanging lights, etc. etc) - They are confident flyers! when
    they were still learning, they took shorter flights, and
    there were some crash landings, but only in a clumsy and
    undignified 'oh I landed on my tummy instead of my feet'
    way, and nothing worse than you'd get with a wing-clipped
    bird. Remember these birds fly about in the jungle, far more
    obstacles and dangers than in the average house...

    My two can turn on the spot in a corridor not much wider
    than their wing-span, and practically hover on the spot!
    It's amazing and beautiful to watch
    I know people clip their parrots wings out of (in my opinion
    unfounded) safety concerns, but I think another reason is
    fear of losing control of the bird. 'If he can just fly
    away, then why would he obey me?' Well… he will, but not
    because he has no choice - and is completely reliant on you,
    but because he trusts and respects you, and has so much fun
    with you and wants to be with you!
    (I'm not suggesting that your birds don't have fun, want to
    be with you etc. etc., I'm suggesting they do - and don't
    need to be permanently grounded to want to spend time with

    As regards the escaping thing - I think you're more likely
    to become 100% vigilant if you KNOW your bird is flighted.
    many escaped birds are wing-clipped to some extent, and it
    has either grown out, or their owners didn't realise how
    much flight they were capable of despite the clip. If the
    incentive is good enough, even severely clipped birds can
    fly enough to escape despite the fact that they have NEVER
    been seen to do so up to that point! Some birds even 'run
    away'; if you can lose a toddler in the park - imagine how
    easily you can lose a parrot in your garden! The real
    problem is that once a wing-clipped bird has escaped, it is
    effectively a disabled bird and at the mercy of predators.
    Can you imagine how much lower the survival rate of a
    clipped bird is than that of a flighted escapee? Most
    escaped birds will find 'someone' to look after them within
    48hours - and are therefore often returned to their
    owners... But not if they're eaten by a cat first!

    Think of it this way - parrots have a similar intelligence
    to 2-4 year old human children. Now if you could get special
    trousers that would prevent human toddlers from walking -
    they would be much safer, you would avoid any risk of them
    falling down the stairs or sticking their fingers in a plug-
    socket, or putting their hand through a window pane
    (incidentally I did both the latter when I was a child).
    But no! that would be completely cruel and unethical,
    imagine how it would effect the child's mental and physical
    development - who would even consider such a thing???
    Quite on the contrary - we encourage our children to play
    sports, ride bicycles, and climb on the jungle-gym - despite
    the fact that hundreds of children die every year doing
    these things. Why do we behave in this irresponsible and
    foolhardy manner? It's because we know that there is such a
    thing as an acceptable level of risk - without which the
    quality of our lives would decrease to an unacceptable

    Of course we must take reasonable precautions, and try to
    minimize risk, but ultimately for me it boils down to this:
    Is it ethically acceptable to disable an animal (by taking
    away it's most important means of locomotion), in order to
    make it fit in better with your lifestyle? To me it isn't, I
    don't disrespect anyone who comes to the opposite
    conclusion, as long as they’ve given it proper thought and
    are not just looking for an easy life (which I know doesn’t
    applie to anyone here).

    Stick a fork in me, I’m done!


    I totally agree with you on this, and i am sure everyone
    else does too. I agree there may be times that it is an
    acceptable option to take, but on the whole, i feel birds
    should have the freedom to flight, for both their mental and
    physical needs.

    To me, having a bird clipped for fear of it escaping should
    not be neccesary. If sensible precautions are taken, it
    should not be a problem.

    Your comment about the kids is justified, and in the same
    way, we worry about our dogs escaping, but so long as we
    make sure doors are shut, gates are locked, this is not a
    problem, we do not go around chopping their legs of, or even
    clipping them to make life easier as we see that as cruel,
    and would probably end up in prison for this! So why
    therefore is it acceptable to do this to a bird? Are we
    saying they do not have the same rights as any other
    household pet?

    Will the next big idea to be never to let the bird out of
    it's cage for fear it might run away?


    I would have thought it would be easier for a dog to get a
    bird if it was walking on the floor, or easier to get hit by
    a car if it walked in the road. If someone can't handle a
    flying bird them don't keep them, stick to a cat or dog.
    Many Vets in our country won't even clip birds wings.
    Funnily enough someone on this site visited an American
    site, told them her parrot was fully flighted and she
    was "attacked" as you put it. Was that just because she was
    English then?

    Well now you see why I do not think wing clipping is a good
    idea. It is not the done thing here and the birds are the
    better for it. Now please, tell me I'm talking rubbish, as
    I'm sure most of you will.