To Clip or Not to Clip? That is the Question

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I will be completely honest, I blame clipping of my Galah Cockatoo’s wings to be the cause of her death(Will be a storytime on our Youtube channel). Overall, she felt incomplete as a bird and because she barely had learned how to fledge at that time, she never understood the importance of her wings hence her breaking them every time they grew in. A lot of people clip their birds’ wings and justify it for different reasons, I don’t argue with anyone. I listen and understand their point of view but you know what my thought on it comes down to?!? THEN DON’T GET A BIRD!!

A bird is meant to fly, are you still a bird if you can’t fly?? I think that makes them a chicken or a turkey or a rooster but definitely not a bird…. I will never tell someone they are wrong for clipping but is it not selfish to clip a bird because you can’t take the proper precautions to keep them safe? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them in the pet store or at the breeder’s house so someone who doesn’t have to risk their “winglyhood”, for safety can take them? I’ve heard about many accidents with parrots who have flown away or flew into a fan, etc :(. But couldn’t those have been prevented?  Such as making sure windows and doors aren’t opened when the bird is out or by turning off that fan? Maybe I just don’t understand as I’m not in those situations to have to make those type of decision but regardless let’s think about the bird.

To Clip

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Part of a bird’s anatomy is their wings just like humans, it’s their legs. Let’s say someone broke my legs and said no worries it will fix, it’s only temporary. In that time frame I’m paralyzed, I can’t move like I want to – I am at the beck and call of others. I have to rely on others as I can’t do for myself like I normally would, this is the same for clipped birds. Now some people may say nope! It’s not like that. Clipping wings is more like getting a haircut as it doesn’t hurt the bird and it will grow back. Yes that is all true however it is still temporarily paralyzing them from making the decision to flight or fight.

I have clipped birds but they are only clipped because they came to me that way so I patiently wait it out until their wings grow back in. I used to clip my parrots’ wings all by myself, I have also went to the vet to get it done. I never thought anything more about it until I started watching and observing my birds and realizing how BEAUTIFUL it was to see them spread their wings and fly. I love it! I haven’t clipped my African grey in 4 years and although he barely flies whenever he does, I feel like a proud mommy.

Wings

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A lot of behavioral issues can arise from having a clipped parrot because of the lack of exercise. Flying is so important to parrots, it’s how they release all that built up energy so if you add flying plus foraging plus training and the perfect diet – YOU CAN ACQUIRE THE PERFECT PET! But without the flying aspect, what exercise can you give a parrot that would release the same amount of exercise that flying for 30 mins a day would help them release? One thing I used to do when Grayson’s wings were clipped is have him come out of the cage, I would hold on to his feet and tell him to flap his wings. He was great at it but it definitely was not releasing the same amount of energy that flying would have.

Once, I clipped Piper’s wings because people said it would make him easier to train and manage. Well let me tell you – I received a MONSTER from that. He went from never biting to always biting. He was miserable being clipped and now that he isn’t clipped anymore, he is back to his normal self. Yes, he flies from me but I understand that is his way of communicating to me to let me know he either had enough or is bored with what I’m doing etc….

There will always be pros and cons to clipping and not clipping your bird’s wings. It truly comes down to a personal preference. Do what’s best for you and for your parrot so you can both enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

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5 yr old Grayson

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Parenting Parrots!

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Boss – Peachfaced Lovebird

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Boss

Boss was born in our home, she was never handled, just locked in her cage unless she found a way to escape. Boss looks exactly like her dad and until recently we thought she was a he.

Name: Boss

Type of Parrot: Peach-faced Lovebird

Sex: Believed to be a female (Thought she was a “he” until recently)

Birth Date: May 2015

Wings Status: Lightly clipped – wings are growing back

Favorite food: Spray Millet

Noise Level:  LOUD

Training progress: She only knows step up

Tricks: She can step up

Talking ability:  “peek-a-boo”,”poo-poo”

Favorite toys: She loves this bag looking toy that has Popsicle sticks sticking out of it. (when I buy another I will post a pic)(If you look at the bottom of her cage you will see this green thing that was the toy lol)

Fears:  She is the boss! She will just lunge after anything that might scare her

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies

Treats: Sunflower seeds,   Spray Millet

cage Size:  This is the closest cage I could find to the one I have the lovebird in.

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Boss’ Cage

Last Vet visit: August 2016 – visual examinations – Everything looks good

Next Steps: Getting her to do the turn around 

Parenting Parrots!

Piper – Quaker a.k.a Monk Parakeet

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AUGUST 3rd WEEK IMPORT 168

Piper

So…. Do you think Piper is a girl or a boy?!? Post a comment and let me know…

We purchased Piper from a family that had an ad on kijiji.ca, they had quite a few birds. Piper was in a cage with pineapple sided conures and sun conures. I honestly was not going to take any birds from them as the cages were unkept. It was my son’s birthday and he wanted us to add another bird to the flock, I agreed and that’s how we ended up at this house. Junior Jay liked how Piper looked and got all excited. I tried to talk him down but he was eight at the time and was barely hearing my reasons. Anyhow I decided to go ahead and get Piper despite my better judgement. Piper was not tamed and to my poor ears VERY LOUD! I worked from home at the time so I had to get the noise level under control. Well it’s been two years and Piper is still here talking off our heads lol. Piper is still loud however definitely not as loud as when we first came home with our quaker.

Name: Piper

Type of Parrot: Quaker parrot a.k.a Monk Parakeet

Sex: Unknown…

Birth Date: 2014

Wings Status: Clipped – letting wings grow back

Favorite food: rice and spray millet

Noise Level: Loud

Training progress: Loves training sessions

Tricks: Can step up and currently doing the Turn around trick

Talking ability: “Piper”, “step up”, “peek-a-boo”,“hi Piper”, “hello”. Sings bits and pieces from the song, “stuck like glue” by Sugarland. Loves attention so will talk around people.

Favorite toys: Are toys that can be shredded ex. ball full of paper

Fears: Afraid of a lot… Handheld perches, unknown objects – cage territorial

Diet: Harrison’s Pellets with fruits and veggies. Eats table food – Chicken, rice, pasta…

Treats: Spray millet and sunflower seeds

Cage Size: Playtop cage. 24 x 22 height is 34.5″ not including the stand or the playtop. With the playtop it is 54″. With the stand it would be higher.

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Last Vet visit: August 12th, 2016– Wellness check – Dna test – avian bacterial and viral – fecal gram stain =  Everything clear! Healthy parrot! *Found out Piper’s gender but want to see what you think first… I will share piper’s gender on Oct. 1st, 2016*

Next Steps: getting used to the handheld perch and perfecting the turn around trick

Parenting Parrots!

Nyx and Boss go to the Vet

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I decided with Lola passing and the new parrots we got recently, that it would be a good idea to have everyone checked out. So on Monday August 8th, 2016 (my son’s 10th birthday) I called my original vet but they had no openings until that Friday, so I turned to the internet. Since I don’t have average birds, I can’t just bring them to any type of veterinarian. When looking for a vet you have to find an exotic birds/Avian vet. I live in Toronto, Ontario so the only vet for parrots I knew about was The Links’ Road animal Clinic and The Hospital of High Park. From researching, I have found many more. This just goes to prove how far along parrot ownership has come over the years. Anyhow I found one in Mississauga called Britannia Animal Hospital;.’

. They were able to see Nyx and Boss that afternoon. So I packed up my three kids and off we went!

We arrived approximately 15 minutes late for our appointment. It’s a nice spacious building located right on the main street, it would be hard to miss especially if you’re looking for it. The staff was friendly and we didn’t have to wait long for service, I would say about five minutes after I completed the paperwork.

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This is the reception area. Not my picture, it is off their website.

We were shown to the avian exam room. Nyx was removed from her carrier with a towel. They weighed her, listened to her heartbeat and looked her over. I didn’t want her wings trimmed so they only did her beak and nails. (I had just done the nails so there wasn’t much needed there but it was included in the charge.)  Advised me of dangerous foods, for example told me to barely ever give grapes and if I do only in small quantities. I never knew grapes was an issue so this was a surprise to me. Nyx appeared great.

Next the doctor did the same thing for Boss. The side of his beak could not be done because there is a big blood vessel there. Boss also appeared to be in great health.

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Their avian exam room off their website but this was the room we were in.

No blood work was done as they both weighed under 100 grams and because of their small size, it’s a risk factor. I was advised to do a fecal exam but passed as it was 70 bucks (almost the price of the examination itself). For the visit I was charged 210 for everything. The vet recommends you bring your parrots to them every six months for a checkup however I’ll be honest, I only bring mine once a year, if I feel like its needed… Now don’t condemn me, I know people who never bring their parrots to the vet so I think I’m doing pretty good. Let me explain this for a second….

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If my parrots’ diet hasn’t changed, nor has my routine then I don’t feel the need to check in with the doctor. I clip their wings if needed, like when they’re getting hormonal otherwise they stay flighted. I trim their nails every six weeks and I check their poop every day. So unless I see a need for the vet like a change in their appetite or energy level or poop, I don’t see why I should bring them. The same goes for me and the kids, we go to the doctor when something is wrong.

Plus taking all my parrots to the vet for their annual checkup runs me about 1500 CAD each time. Yes, if I can’t afford it then maybe I shouldn’t have parrots and that is why unfortunately my flock is not open to any more.

God forbid one of my parrots actually get sick then the cost would be even more but I have a credit card devoted only for my parrots (just in case :)).  Parrots are fun but the visits to the vet ARE NOT! Definitely can put a dent in your pocket. I’m hoping one day they will come out with Parrot insurance but for now only dogs and cats get that option in Canada.

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Parenting Parrots!