Should I clip my budgie's wings?
Wing-clipping: yay or nay?
Many people say wing-clipping is just a decision you have to make for you and your bird. I'm not going to come to your house and wag my finger at you, but please read the following reasons I think wing-clipping is just as bad if not worse than de-clawing a cat.
We've already taken the sky away from them, restricted them to a cage or a room. How can we also take flight from them? If there is one thing I have learned, having flighted birds it is that birds get great JOY from flying.
Several of my birds were clipped when I got them (some as babies, others as adults). ALL of these have had mobility problems and emotional/psychological issues.
Sweetpea (a Bourke's parakeet) was clipped when we brought her home. As a result, she launches herself into the air only to crash over and over again. Her continual crashes have led to her flights never growing in on one side.
Waldorf (an English Budgie) was clipped young and kept in a too-small cage and his wings never worked right. He too would see the other budgies and birds flying around, try to fly and crash. One bad crash led to internal injuries that killed him.
Dubbins (a cockatiel) was clipped when we got her and has never learned to fly or land correctly. She gets overly-excited and flies too fast and ends up smashing into the wall really hard. Our other cockatiel, Henry, has never been clipped and is the most elegant and graceful flyer and lander. He is also extremely confidant and brave and happy while she is bashful, shy, and reticent.
If a bird is unable to do the one thing a bird is meant to do best (FLY), they can become like Dubbins, fearful and unconfidant.
It's ironic to note that because of Dubbins wing-clipping when young and never learning to fly and land correctly, the only way to keep her from dangerously crashing into walls and things is to give her a light clip of her last 3 flight feathers so that she cannot get up to the fast speeds.
Sugar and Plum (English Budgies). We just got these baby English budgies and unfortunately, they are clipped. They want so badly to fly but they can only flutter and bonk into things. I am very worried because it is this time of their life that they should be building strong muscles and gaining confidence in their flight. I don't like to bring them out of their cage as much because they will break any new flights coming in.
Several of our other birds have never been clipped: Henry (cockatiel), and the budgies Cloude, Skye, Dandelion, Dilly, Galileo, Cricket, Star. They are healthy, happy, muscular birds who absolutely adore flying. They are amazing fast acrobats and are amazingly graceful and beautiful. It makes me so sad and angry for the other guys, who had this taken away from them and have been unable to enjoy this aspect of their lives. It has affected them personally and makes them far less confidant in all aspects of their lives.
I have heard many instances of people stepping on clipped birds, having them get outside and get swept away by wind. A clipped bird outside can easily be swept up and away by the wind, but does not have the ability or often musculatur to survive. They cannot easily escape predators or find their way back home. An unclipped bird can quickly escape predators, can fly away from oncoming feet, etc.
If you want to clip your birds wings because of windows or doors or other things in the room that are unsafe, instead, why not take the time to make the room bird-safe? Would you swaddle a toddler in order to keep them safe in the kitchen, for example? No, you would child-proof your home. Keep your birds in a room that is bird-safe. Keep windows and doors covered. Keep big open areas of water closed so they cannot drown. Keep caustic chemicals out of the room. Supervise your birds while they are out of the cage. Make sure they get at least several hours of flight time outside of the cage each day. If you cannot do this, at least get them a big flight cage so that they can fly when you are unable to let them out.
Please, unless your bird has a condition, such as Dubbins - where he does not fly well and flies too fast and crashes, in other words, if flying presents mortal danger to your bird, DO NOT CLIP YOUR BIRDS WINGS.