Talk Cockatiels Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Cockatiel Talk participants! :)

I am looking for advice on keeping my 14-year-old male cockatiel, Conrad :tiel4:, safe; while letting him finally have his wings and learn to fly a little bit.

Does anyone have tips on keeping a bird from flying away, while letting his wings grow?

Background: For the first 11 years of his life, my family generally kept Conrad's wings clipped. As a result, he must have learned that flying is unreliable, because he only ever tried to fly when he was very scared of something and wanted to escape. For the past 3 years, though, we have let his wings grow in because we have come to feel that he deserves to fly. Now, he is very slowly starting to fly a little bit more often (though still rarely). I'm petrified, though, that he could accidentally fly away one day, if someone leaves a window open. Since he flies so rarely, I'm unsure whether he would know how to fly back.

Thanks so much for your help!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,217 Posts
Just make sure the exposed windows are covered or have a sticky on them so he doesn't bonk into it. Keep the fans in check so he doesn't fly into them, keep the doors closed and really, just make sure he stays clear of flying into places he really shouldn't be, like the bathroom and the kitchen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,282 Posts
I'm petrified, though, that he could accidentally fly away one day, if someone leaves a window open. Since he flies so rarely, I'm unsure whether he would know how to fly back.
Yes, he very well could fly away if someone leaves a window open. Easy solution to that -- double-check all windows and doors before letting him out of the cage, and make sure everyone in the house knows when he is out so that they can be extra-careful. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,424 Posts
I keep Rocko's wings partially trimmed - I don't trim the flights as far back as I can. I leave about a half inch on them so he can still fly, but not so much that he can get EXTREMELY far. It reduces the risk of him hitting a fan or window or something, too.

Then again, he flew from the living room, into the kitchen, and back, and then landed back beside me in the living room... so he can still fly pretty far. Still not as far as he could when fully flighted though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,907 Posts
This is why I clip my 'tiels wings now. Accidents can happen, as I've learned the hard way. The important thing to remember is not to cut all the primaries down too short so that the bird drops to the floor like a stone whenever it tries to fly (they never seem to stop trying even when clipped severely). If clipped this way it can make molting/growing in new flights problematic, as the new shafts have no support and are broken extremely easily.

A light clip won't do any harm. It's best to be on the safe side at all times, regardless of how much the bird does fly. Things can go wrong very quickly and you don't want to be wishing you had clipped his wings and blaming yourself for that.

Sorry if this seems harsh. Just adding in my opinion and speaking from experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,282 Posts
I just want to add that they can fly with a light clip, just not as high or as far (indoors). Which means clipping absolutely DOES NOT guarantee against "accidents"!!! Even if you have a clipped bird, you have to be 100% as vigilant and careful as you would be with a fully flighted bird. They can still fly out the window, and get quite far (particularly if they are carried off by a gust of wind). And, once loose, a clipped bird's chances of survival are much slimmer than a flighted bird. I'm not saying don't clip at all, if you have reason to, but clipping isn't a way to prevent them flying away. Closing windows is the only way to prevent that. Or having windows with screens.]..

i say this only because I have heard several first-hand stories from people who've had clipped birds escape and fly away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,306 Posts
Like everyone has said, I would make sure everyone knows he's out (so they can tell you if any windows/doors are open), and keep him out of places like the kitchen - especially when you're cooking. If they get scared, those wings can carry them into the kitchen or other dangerous areas when you least expect it.

I would start letting him get used to flying in a closed room first so you can monitor him and then maybe do some flight training. I've trained Kiwi to fly back to me or a family member whenever she takes off. It makes it easier to get her to not perch in high places or fly out of rooms like she used to. All of the windows have screens on them for the summer, so it makes it easier even if one is accidentally left open. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,907 Posts
Moonchild -- you're right, but still.. if it's true that a clipped bird feels less confident about their flying ability, perhaps if they managed to escape for whatever reason, they may land on the ground unsure of such a large outdoor space (this has happened to me before with a previous bird). I know, it's inaccurate trying to determine what would happen vs a fully flighted bird, but I'm just throwing ideas around. Also, for me, no matter what, I feel like they are safer/friendlier/more manageable with clipped wings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you so much for your advice, Lougirl, moonchild, Amz, CharVicki, and Kiwi! I will be careful about windows and roommates like you have suggested, and will reconsider the pros and cons of clipping his wings some more now that I have heard more info about the implications of clipping or leaving his wings, from you all. I deeply appreciate all of your help on this important topic.

Kiwi, how did you train your bird to fly back to a person? (I would love to do that!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,306 Posts
I started training her in my room with the door closed so she wouldn't fly out of the room and perch somewhere high up. Also the blinds on the windows were open so she wouldn't crash into them.
First, I waited until she was comfortable around me. Once she started flying over to me voluntarily I started rewarding her for it with scritches, praise, and millet (lots of scritches). Eventually it just became praise and scritches though. Because food isn't the strongest positive reinforcement, love is. Food is short term, love is long term. And in about two weeks I believe, she had it down! :)
She loves it when I tell her what a smart girl she is! Really she was the one training me to give her millet lol!! :D
Then I tried the same thing with my family using millet. She wont let them give her any scritches, she's a one person bird so far. Right now I've only gotten her to land on their heads, but it works!
I had never had success on getting Kiwi to fly down from a high area until recently. If she is flying around in the air landing is no problem. But if she lands high up, good luck getting her down. She had always been scared of jumping off of high places and just froze there. So I was surprised when she flew down herself and perched on my hand last week! So I started rewarding that and now she flys down no problem!

Cockatiels are very smart birds. Cuddles are really all you need to make you both happy during flight training. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
742 Posts
I personally have never clipped Harvey. He flies like an absolute moron though and some days I do think it would be for the best, just in case he crashed in to anything. However, clips birds can fall to the floor, break their keel etc. so many bad points (and a few good points) about clipping that makes me keep my birds flighted. I would simply just double check all windows and doors are closed :) I recently lost my Alexandrine parakeet but thanks to recall training he actually flew to some poor person in their garden and I got him back the next day. Perhaps work on that with him?
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top