General Husbandry of Caged Birds

Wing Trimming
To be safe, caged birds should have their wing feathers trimmed. However, when raising them from hatch, it is considered wise to allow them fledge normally to learn to fly before their feathers are cut. The decision to deny a caged bird free, unrestricted flight (as in the wild) is subconsciously made by each bird owner at the time the bird is made a captive pet in the home. Wing trimming can make this confinement safer for the bird. Flight feathers of both wings should be equally trimmed. If the bird takes flight for any reason, its descent to the floor is balanced and relatively controlled. Trimming the feathers on only 1-wing results in a precarious and unbalanced descent to the floor, often injuring the bird. Another disadvantage is that many birds with only 1 wing trimmed can fly as soon as 1 2 feathers have grown out on the trimmed side.

Some bird owners prefer not to trim the wings of their smaller caged birds (parakeets, cockatiels) because their flying brings the owner great enjoyment. These small caged birds have a smaller turning radius in flight than the larger ones. Consequently, the smaller birds can usually fly about most homes and apartments safely. One other advantage of not trimming the wings of these small birds is that it allows them to escape when in danger and | threatened by any pet cats, ferrets or dogs in the home. However, generally it is advisable to keep your pet bird's wings trimmed at all times, except for the specific circumstances detailed above.

Trimming the wings is like trimming your fingernails. If performed properly, the bird will experience no bleeding or discomfort. Trimming the wings makes taming the bird easier and usually shortens the time for taming. Further, this procedure changes the bird's appearance very little. Have an experienced veterinarian or veterinary technician perform this task and teach you how to properly do it.

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