To Clip or Not to Clip

To Clip or Not to Clip….. that is the question. What I am referring to here are your bird’s wings. My Lovey is fully flighted because I prefer it this way, but there are drawbacks to a fully flighted bird and we will go over the pros and cons.

If you do decide to have your bird’s wings clipped please leave this to a professional. Avian vets offer this service as do most bird specialty stores. Perhaps your bird’s wings are already clipped as many pet stores and breeders do clip the wings before selling a bird.


As previously mentioned, I prefer a fully flighted bird. Namely because the bird gets it’s proper exercise by having the ability to fly and it’s just more natural for the bird. Also, it may be a better option if you have other pets in the house or small children who could unintentionally hurt the bird. With the bird’s natural ability to fly, it can easily get out of harm’s way from a dog, cat or other predator trying to hurt or hunt it down.

Having a fully flighted bird will require you to keep him/her caged or at least in a bird safe room. Absolutely no fans, ceiling fans in particular, open windows or large glass windows as they can fly straight into them and seriously hurt themselves or die.

Rosy-faced Lovebird flying, Agapornis roseicollis

Yes, you do run the risk of your bird flying away if they get out through a door or window. Very rarely will a small parrot like a lovebird fly back home. Once they are gone, they are gone for good so use caution and make sure that they are in a safe area to fly freely without escaping

My lovebird is not tame, nor has she ever been tame because sadly, I bought her from a large chain pet store and I am almost certain she came from a bird mill. These birds have been roughly shuffled around the pet trade and are generally frightened of human hands.

I have considered having her wings clipped for this reason alone, so she will be more familiar with human hands but have not done so thus far.


The major advantages to clipped wings is obviously that they cannot fly away and you have more control over taming your bird.

They will have no choice but to be handled with the inability to fly and you will be able to hold your bird, cuddle with your bird and teach it more tricks and head scratches will be more prevalent. Head scratches are a great way to bond with your lovebird. Just beware of bites, and yes a lovie’s bite can hurt.

Avian vets and specialty bird stores offer wing clipping services. There are instructional videos on YouTube that show you how to clip your bird’s wings but I do not recommend it. If you happen to cut too low, draw blood or clip a blood feather, the bird could easily bleed to death. I don’t think you would want to take that risk and neither do I

Fear not, as a wing-clipping is similar to a hair cut, it’s not permanent! If you decide you would prefer your LB to be fully flighted just wait about 6 months and her wings will be grown back to normal. Having said that, you will also have to keep the clipping up every 5-6 months if you want to keep it non-flighted


As you can surmise, to clip or not to clip is purely your choice. Take into consideration your living conditions and the safety of your bird. These are the most important determining factors.

I prefer a flighted bird, but I have the rare living situation in that no other pets or small children are around.  She also lives upstairs and NEVER leaves her bird-safe room. There are no open windows, doors, dogs or cats that can pose a risk to her well-being. I have bird-proofed her room and she never leaves the vicinity of this area. In some ways she is trained, but not enough to let me cuddle with her.

Who knows, maybe in time

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