How To Trim Your Cockatiel’s Wings

Clipping your birds wings can be tricky at first, but with practice it is quite doable.

Before you begin to trim or clip your cockatiel’s wings, you will need to get some tools together and find a quiet and well lit place to work in.  You will need a towel or facecloth to wrap your bird in,  some small but sharp scissors, needle nosed pliers, and flour or corn flour to stop bleeding in case a blood feather is cut.

Working in a quiet but well lit area is also a must, as you must be able to see what you are doing, and your cockatiel must be kept as calm as possible, or it will wriggle and flap and make your job extremely difficult.

First drape the towel over your hand and catch the bird with the toweled hand.  Grasp your bird by the back of her head and neck and wrap it firmly in the towel.  Use your thumb and index finger to support your birds head and keep the head covered with the towel, as this will help to calm your cockatiel and give it something to chew on if necessary.

Lay the bird on its back and be careful not to put any pressure on her chest.  Birds unlike us do not have diaphragms to help them to breathe.  Spread the wing out gently and look for blood feathers, which are the ones that are still growing.  They can be identified by their tight and waxy look and dark centers.

If there are a lot of blood feathers, rather put off trimming for a couple of days.  To trim your cockatiels feathers, separate each one away from the other flight feathers and cut individually.  Use the set of feathers above the primary flight feathers on your birds wings as a guideline to monitor how short you can trim.

Cut the first six to eight flight feathers starting from the tip of the wing.  Trim an equal number of feathers from each wing.

If you do happen to cut a blood feather, don’t panic.  Remove the blood feather with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.  Grasp the broken feather’s shaft as close to the skin of your bird’s wing as you can.  With one steady motion, pull the feather out completely.  After removing the feather, put some flour on the spot and apply direct pressure for a few minutes to stop the bleeding.  If you can’t remove the shaft of the feather, contact your avian veterinarian for further help.

It is important to remove the cut blood feather, because if the feather stays in, it will be like an open faucet that will let the blood out continuously.  Once the feather is removed, the wound on the birds skin will close and no more blood will be lost.

You will need to trim your cockatiels wings about four times a year minimum.  Keep an eye on this, as you would hate your cockatiel to fly off by accident.  Rather be safe than sorry.

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