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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ugh...

For those who don't know, I purchased Phoenix from a pet store about 5 months ago. Before I could get there to pick him up, they absolutely butchered his wings in the worst clipping I've ever seen on a tiel.



The drop like a rock clipping combined with baby clumsiness resulted in him falling and breaking his ENTIRE tail off.



Currently he has 4 proper tail feathers - the rest keep growing in twisted and breaking as they have no support. He finally finished a molt about a week ago. He didn't end up dropping all his flights, but he dropped a few - and they grew back in great.



But they were so far spaced out and had no support that as soon as he had the tiniest fright, they broke off. Yesterday he lost 3 flights from one wing, 2 from another, and 2 of his tail feathers in a night fright that only lasted a few seconds.

This is absolutely heartbreaking and a nightmare to have to go through. I cried when I found those feathers in the bottom of the cage last night. We waited 5 months for that.... just for them to break. They seemed strong enough... should I have clipped them? That seems so counter productive... I just want him to be able to fly.

I don't even know if he knows how to fly. That's the hardest part of all this. Does anyone have any advice on how I can get these feathers to grow back in properly?

And PLEASE please please keep Phoenix in mind if you want to clip your bird. This is a good example of how an improper clipping can have a HUGE negative impact on your birds' health and temperament. Phoenix is entirely dependent on me, he has no confidence and can't even jump short gaps any flighted (or properly clipped) bird would would be able to do with ease. He may never be able to fly at all. It's so sad...
 

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Don't worry Jaguar, Phoenix will fly. Beaker was clipped just like that and now he can do all sorts of flight maneuvers. But be prepared for a lot of flight strengthening, but it took a lot for Beaker to get his wings strong.

If you need anything, I have experience with this.

Beaker's wings now looks like this:
 

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In your first photo, what do you feel is an improper clipping, other than the fact that it's effect was too strong for your bird?

Different birds have different abilities to fly or not with more or less feathers.

I've been clipping my own birds for about 7 years, and I agree about the danger of taking away our birds ability to be moderately mobile and to be able to come in for soft landings. Because each bird is different, I think it's better to take the clipped feathers down in stages, but I think that's up to us to do these smaller adjustments based on our own understanding of our particular bird.

I think most bird stores follow a simple feather line that fulfills the intended purpose of clipping. Your first photo looks like a standard bird store clip to me. If they did less than a full clipping and your bird managed to fly away as you left the bird store, that would be a problem.

I'm curious to know from others if the clipping in your first photo looks improper, or if it was proper, but maybe too much for your particular bird, combined with learning to adapt and common baby bird accident-prone clumsiness.

As we learn from our bird's individual behavior and practice our clipping skills, we will know how much of which feathers to trim, so they can move around smoothly and safely for short distances and land softly, but not be able to take off for the sky when the urge strikes, or to fly into harms way if they are startled.
 

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A standard clip is to safely prevent a bird gaining the same amount of altitude as a fully flighted bird, not to drop like a rock. If you notice Phoenix's wings are trimmed in a full line down. His primaries and secondaries are trimmed, and you should never trim secondaries. The correct clip is just primaries. When you trim the wings like that, it is a severe clip, and is not healthy for them. It causes them to drop heavy, and they may hurt their breastbone or break something else. Wing clipping is not meant to ground a bird or to prevent them flying, but to limit the altitude and distance they gain in flight :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Stephanie about summed it up. Normally only the first few primary flights are trimmed to prevent lift - the pet store cut EVERY feather on Phoenix's wings - even the secondary flight feathers, which I have never seen anyone clip intentionally. Here are some pics of proper clips for comparison. The pet store very rarely gets birds in so I don't think the employees are very experienced with them.





I believe those pics belong to srtiels.

I am not anti clipping, not at all. But he was just way too young to be clipped so severely and improperly.
 

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Thanks for the pictures Jaguar. Yes, secondaries should not have been intentionally cut.

The second photo looks safe and durable to me.

Any of my birds would have quickly destroyed the remaining long feathers in the first photo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Even today you can still clearly tell his secondaries are clipped. They didn't molt out... which really complicates things. Random feathers molted and are growing back, but they have no protection and are breaking. I don't know what I should do. I could let the molted ones grow back and clip them to prevent them from breaking, or I could pull/have a vet pull some of the flights that didn't molt to try to get them all growing in at once... that was the only way he managed to grow half a tail, 4 feathers came in at once and they are the only tail feathers he has that are not twisted/deformed.

 

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That sucks so much for you and Phoenix. It's so hard being patient, my bird was like that (minus the clip) for about a year, broken feathers everywhere, I also contemplated pulling feathers but found I didn't have the guts. He will get there sooner or later.
 

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Maybe a feather conditioner would help his feathers grow back better, adding a little extra calcium couldn't hurt either to make the feathers stronger (read about how someone fed their Cockatoo the recommended amount of extra calcium and vets could barely cut through the feathers :lol:), along with some of the controlled pulling by a vet so the feather follicles aren't damaged. Since he's using a lot of energy and nutrients to grow his feathers back it could help. Featheriffic and Feather-Up are two I have heard of that work well. One is made by a U.S. company and the other by a U.K. one. I don't know which is better, but both have good reviews. :)
 

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Here are some pics of proper clips for comparison. The pet store very rarely gets birds in so I don't think the employees are very experienced with them.



I believe those pics belong to srtiels.

I am not anti clipping, not at all. But he was just way too young to be clipped so severely and improperly.
This is how Yoko's wings are currently clipped. :) She will have flight again hopefully soon, but she had an incident where she flew smack dab into glass door and cut her forehead so I wanted to re-bond with her. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Maybe a feather conditioner would help his feathers grow back better, adding a little extra calcium couldn't hurt either to make the feathers stronger (read about how someone fed their Cockatoo the recommended amount of extra calcium and vets could barely cut through the feathers :lol:), along with some of the controlled pulling by a vet so the feather follicles aren't damaged. Since he's using a lot of energy and nutrients to grow his feathers back it could help. Featheriffic and Feather-Up are two I have heard of that work well. One is made by a U.S. company and the other by a U.K. one. I don't know which is better, but both have good reviews. :)
The feathers don't seem weak - the flights that got knocked out are well formed and strong - but I'll have a look and see if I can find any suppliments locally :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thought things were going good, and then today he jumped off my desk and broke 3 of the fully grown tail feathers :cry: this sucks...
 

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I think Phoenix has some weak feathers. I would bulk him up with lots of extra vegetables and scrape some more cuttlebone into his food.

See if that strengthens his feathers. It worked with B
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, he's been munching on his cuttlebone regularly and I've been trying to give him Prime vitamin supplement but he doesn't like the taste of it so it's not going so great. He gets herbs and leafy greens regularly, still won't eat anything like carrot/broccoli/etc yet. It's an ongoing battle. >.<



Here are some of the feathers he's broken. Feather 4 and 5 were from last night ... feather 5 and 6 are deformed and bent, and I sorta understand why those broke, but the one in the middle seemed pretty well formed. The others are flights from when I first started the thread.... there was a few more broken/clipped ones, but my cat ate them :huh:
 

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Even today you can still clearly tell his secondaries are clipped. They didn't molt out... which really complicates things. Random feathers molted and are growing back, but they have no protection and are breaking. I don't know what I should do. I could let the molted ones grow back and clip them to prevent them from breaking, or I could pull/have a vet pull some of the flights that didn't molt to try to get them all growing in at once... that was the only way he managed to grow half a tail, 4 feathers came in at once and they are the only tail feathers he has that are not twisted/deformed.

Oh man, that photo is brutal. What a butcher job. :(

Don't worry too much about his future flight ability. Rocko was also severely clipped when I first got him - his secondaries weren't cut, but his primaries were cut almost all the way up. When he molted them out, there was only about a half inch of the actual feather part left past the shaft. But today, even as a (properly) clipped bird, he's a remarkably strong flyer. Having a bad clip at a young age CAN mess up their future flying ability, but that's not always the case.

Poor Phoenix... I hope he's up and flying independently soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I ended up pulling some feathers. I pulled 4 primaries from one wing and 3 from the other. One of his wings is still pretty mangled so I might end up pulling a few more.

BUT HE FLEW TODAY! Not gracefully, mind you, but he flew from my shoulder in the middle of the room up to the top of his cage and landed safely. It seems (thankfully) he was fledged before he was clipped. I am soooo happy he's finally able to get some lift. It only took 6 months!!! :D

Here's a quick pic of his "good" wing - he's trying to ask my thumb for skritches :lol:

 

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That's wonderful! :clap: So glad for you and Phoenix. :)
 

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That's great news! His good wing looks MUCH better than the photos you posted when you started the thread. Progress!
 
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