There is a lot to learn about owning budgies, socializing them, and safely keeping them in your home.
They require large enough areas to stretch their wings and fly, but you also don’t want them to fly away or out of reach when it’s time for them to return to their aviaries or cages.
Clipping your budgie‘s wings is a skill that is well worth learning.3
How to Clip Budgie Wings
First, you need to gather your equipment. Ask for help if possible. Then, plan where you’ll cut. You should only remove the lowest layer of feathers on your budgie’s wings. These are known as flight feathers, and they are bloodless and safe to clip. Then, have a budgie take a test flight to see if you’ll need to cut more feathers.
The Steps to Cutting Your Budgie’s Wings
Step One: Get the Equipment
You need to assemble all the equipment you will need before you start handling or even cutting feathers from your budgie.
The list of equipment you need includes a sharp pair of scissors, snipe nose pliers, a marking pen, corn starch, a small towel, and a travel cage or box.
Step Two: Get Helpers
If you are able to handle your budgie, spread a wing and hold them with one hand, then you can clip their feathers on your own.
However, having someone help you hold your budgie so you have both hands free to manage their wings and clip feathers is better. Hold the budgie firmly but softly in one hand.
Let the budgie’s head pass between the index finger and middle finger, wrapping the index finger and thumb around the budgie’s body.
If your budgie is wild and difficult to manage, they can be wrapped in a towel to make handling them easier and prevent them from biting you.
Step Three: Plan Your Cut
Using a marker, draw a line to help you plan your cut. You will be clipping the flight feathers, which are the lowest set of feathers on the wing.
Don’t clip the second set of feathers as these are blood rich and your budgie can bleed to death if you clip those.
If a feather has a dark shaft, this means it is a blood feather, and there is a small vein running in the feather. Such feathers should not be clipped.
If you are unsure, get your local vet to show you how they clip and which feathers are safe to clip before you attempt to clip your budgie’s wings on your own.
If you do accidentally clip a blood feather, you will need to remove it and clot the blood with corn starch.
Rather cut fewer feathers than too many. Aim to start with four feathers on each wing, cutting from the outside inward.
Your cut needs to be at least a quarter of an inch below the second layer of feathers. This ensures you won’t be affecting your budgie’s ability to keep themselves warm.
It also minimizes the risk of accidentally cutting a blood feather.
Step Four: Cut One Feather at a Time
Start with the first primary flight feather, cutting it straight toward the body across the feather shaft.
It is best to use small scissors so you aren’t tempted to cut all four flight feathers in one go. Rather clip them one feather at a time.
Cut at least the first four flight feathers on each wing. Now it’s time to test and recut if necessary.
Step Five: Test Flight And Cut More Feathers
In a safe and enclosed room in your home, allow your budgie to fly. Check if they can flap easily, how much height they can gain while in flight (it shouldn’t be too high), and if you can easily catch them now.
If they still manage to fly up to the curtain rails with minimal effort, you need to clip an additional two flight feathers from each wing.
Clipping your budgie’s wings doesn’t deflight all budgies. Some are powerful fliers already, and the clipping of their feathers will make little difference.
Never clip more feathers than a total of six flight feathers per wing in an attempt to deflight such a budgie as you will be influencing their ability to thermoregulate their bodies.
Why Should You Clip Your Budgie Wings
A budgie is a tame bird, and they don’t have the ability to survive in the wild.
Having your budgie escape their cage or get free from your home is unfortunate, and it can be difficult to catch them if they aren’t tame.
When you clip their flight feathers, you reduce the height they can fly to, making it easier to catch them and keep them safe.
What It Means to Clip Your Budgie’s Wings
When you know how to clip budgie wings, you will be removing the bottom half of the mature flight feathers only. This means your budgie can still fly, but they can’t fly high or fast.
It is not permanent either. When your budgie molts and grows new feathers, they will regrow a new set of flight feathers.
This means you can choose to only clip your budgie’s wings once while you are busy taming them and gaining their trust.
Once they come to you when called, you can allow the flight feathers to regrow if you choose.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Clip Budgie Wings
Can you permanently clip a bird’s wings?
Since budgies shed old feathers and molt at least once a year, they will regrow their flight feathers and need to be reclipped if needed.
Should you clip both of the budgie’s wings?
You should clip both wings and be sure to do so evenly. If you only clip one wing, or you clip one wing shorter than the other, it will result in your budgie flying in circles or being unbalanced when they flap. Serious injury may result.
How do you stop a bird’s blood feather from bleeding?
If you accidentally clip a feather and it starts to bleed, chances are you clipped a blood feather. This can be life-threatening to your budgie, and they can quickly bleed to death. The blood feather has a vein in it, and you’ll need to remove it so the blood flow can stop. Taking hold of the follicle or shaft of the feather as close to the skin as you can, give it a firm tug, removing the shaft from the skin. The blood flow should almost immediately lessen. Use some cornstarch to help the blood clot, and keep an eye on the wound. If the blood flow doesn’t lessen, then wrap your budgie in a towel and rush them to your nearest vet as the wound will need to be cauterized.
Your budgie will not feel pain when you learn how to clip budgie wings the right way.
It helps them stay safe when you let them out in your home, and you can more easily return them to their aviaries when you can catch them.