How to Clip a Bird’s Wings

Clipping a bird’s wings may sound cruel, but it’s a necessity for bird owners. Social birds that are allowed out of their cages should have their wings clipped for their own safety, to prevent them from flying away and getting lost. Clipping a bird’s wings isn’t permanent. You actually have to do this every two months or after they molt. Here’s how to clip a bird’s wings on your own. Remember that these are for smaller birds, and if you’re dealing with big birds, it’s best to go to a vet to have this done.

It’s also best that you clip your wings after you have seen the vet perform it on your pet bird. This will guide you on the proper way to do it.


Sharp scissors with blunt ends
Cauterizing powder such as Quik-Stop or corn starch


Ask a friend to help you out. Getting their wings clipped can make birds very nervous, for good reason. You will need someone to help you keep it steady.

Wrap the bird in a towel, exposing only one wing.

Make sure that your scissors are sharp. However, the ends should be blunt so you don’t end up stabbing the bird accidentally.

Act calmly and talk calmly to the bird during the whole process, to make your pet feel more calm about the clipping.

On small birds, the feathers you need to trim are the primary feathers or the “outside” feathers. They are the outer six or seven feathers on the bird’s wings, usually at the outermost of their wing, farthest from their breast.

On bigger birds, you’ll have to remove fewer feathers, at the most five feathers.

Use a hand to gently stretch back the bird’s wing. Inspect the follicles of the feathers, found at the base of each feather. Look for new growth feathers, or blood feathers. They can be identified by the blood in the base, like red liquid full in a straw. Do not cut these feathers, as it will cause extensive bleeding and even death to a bird.

Once you identify the feather and follicle to cut, cut it above the vein of the follicle. You will recognize the vein in the follicle if you look closely. If it bleeds a little, apply cauterizing powder, a paper towel, and apply a gentle pressure.

Once you’re done with the wings, this can also be a good time to clip your bird’s nails.

The wings will grow back, so make it a point to observe your bird’s actions in a month’s time. If it is already flying in short distances, it’s time to clip its wings again.

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