Vets recommend that you let your parakeet out of his cage often, so he can literally test his wings and become socialized. To ensure his safety while he flies around, your vet or avian groomer may opt to clip his wings. Clipping a parakeet's wings won't keep him from flying, but it will keep him from flying fast and high.
The three different kinds of parakeet feathers affect the way they fly. The covert feathers, a small row of feathers beneath Sunny's flight feathers, allow him to glide. Parakeets need their covert feathers to glide downwards and land safely; therefore, they should, never be trimmed. Accidentally trimming covert feathers causes Sunny a moderate amount of pain.
Blood feathers look like quills. They are flight feathers that are still growing in and have not yet matured. The brownish-red shaft running down a blood feather's center is actual blood, which is why blood feathers must never be trimmed. When you accidentally trim a blood feather, you cause Tweety intense pain. Apply cornstarch or styptic powder to stop the bleeding, and take your parakeet to the veterinarian immediately for treatment and pain management. Blood feathers need a few weeks to mature -- and you know they have done so when the shaft goes from brownish-red to clear. When the shaft runs clear, a groomer or vet can trim the feather.
The longest feathers on Angel’s wings, flight feathers allow her to fly upwards and pick up speed. Although Angel might get nervous or upset while her flight feathers are getting clipped, she does not feel any pain. Trimming these mature feathers keeps her from getting hurt from flying too high or getting caught behind tall furniture, and makes it easier for you to get her back in her cage. Her inability to fly high makes her more dependent on you.
Clipping only one wing on a parakeet prevents him from moving around properly. As a result, he might injure himself in his attempt to fly or if he panics when he realizes he cannot move around as usual. The same number of flight feathers on either side must be clipped for your parakeet to still be able to get around safely. Furthermore, a parakeet should always learn how to fly before having his wings clipped, so he knows how take off and land safely. An avian groomer or veterinarian can provide safe clipping.
Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.