How to Clip Cockatiel’s Wings?

Sometimes the idea of your bird getting into trouble in the hands of some predators, waiting outside the walls of the house can be a nightmare. This fear of losing your feathery pet can push you to take the decision of clipping and trimming the wings of your cockatiel.

It Is not an easy job to clip the wings of your bird and it sometimes needs a lot of patience and practice. If this process is performed by someone who does not have enough experience or who does not have plenty of knowledge then it can cause trouble for the bird. This task needs to be performed in a slow and steady manner while being able to handle the situation if something wrong occurs.

Birds such as cockatiel used as a pet all over the world, are only safe when inside the house because outside the walls of safety they can get into the hands of bird-eating predators that can rip them off in a second, such as cats and vultures. So, to avoid any such incident to happen sometimes you need to clip and trim your cockatiel’s wings.

Usually when they get big enough and there is a danger that it may fly off and get itself into some trouble that is awaiting outside. In spite of this most of the time, this act is considered highly unethical to deprive your bird of its wings and leaving it unable to fly which sometimes ends up disturbing the normal behavior of your cockatiel.

How to Clip Cockatiel Wings

Your only intention to attempt this practice is to keep your bird safe at home with you. Therefore, this is necessary to take this step and make sure your bird does not wander off somewhere and cause any trouble for himself. A full flighted pet is able to move easily anywhere at any time and this leads to a lot of incidents happening to poor birds all the time. So, you need to clip the wings of your bird to keep it safe and we are going to help you in this regard by showing you the steps that you can use to do this with safety. Before doing this rest assure that the environment of your house is safe enough for the bird and no harm can be caused to your bird while clipping its wings.

Precautions (Important)

Now moving toward some processes that will help you clip and trim your cockatiel’s wings. This guidance to attempt the whole process that will help save your time and money, to be able to do this on your own self you need to be highly careful and make sure you do not get nervous when you start doing it. It can lead to some harmful thing happening so take a deep breath and relax yourself to perform this process. You don’t need to panic because if you will get panicked then there are more chances of committing mistakes and ending up hurting your bird.

1. Be Prepared for the Panic Situation

Although you are aware of the fact that you will be careful and will not let any harm happen to your bird still you need to keep a first aid kit with you so in case of any sudden mishap or injury, you would be able to help out your bird provide medical assistance to him at once and thus avoid any further harm to your bird.

2. Choose a Quiet and Calm Environment

Cockatiels are little timid creatures who get scared of any sudden sound or noise and thus can react in a bad way. Loud sounds are not only bad for the birds but also for you being the procedure performer because it can distract him and you won’t be able to do your job with full attention.

Always choose a place that is quiet and calm and is suitable to clip and trim your cockatiel’s wings. This area should be away from traffic noise and other loud sounds. There should not be any sudden exposure of the birds to any kind of loud sound because as a reaction they can start moving and flipping their wings ending up causing injury to themselves and getting severely harmed.

3. Make Your Pet Feel Comfortable

It’s a good idea to hold your bird in some cloth or towel that is soft and comfortable. It will not only make your pet feel relaxed but will also help you examine the wings more carefully and create a position that would be secure for the inspection of its wings. Therefore, you could go ahead and start clipping.

4. Collect all the necessary equipment

After you had made sure that everything is fine with the environment and there are no external factors that can possibly distract you or panic your bird then starts gathering the equipment that you might need while doing this process.

Your list of required supplies includes:

  • A sharp working pair of clean scissors that can cut the feathers easily
  • A soft and thick towel to grab the cockatiel in your hands comfortably
  • A helper for the process of trimming the wings.

How to Clip Cockatiel’s Wings?

1. Cutting the Flight Feather

Cockatiels Wings

Flight feathers are the main wings that help your bird to fly. As you start it is recommended that you should cut only the first 7-10 flight feathers that lies usually about ¼ inch below the primary layer of the cockatiel’s wings this will work in a way that your bird will not be able to fly. You can use the primary layer of its feather as guidance to cut the flight feathers so always start from the top side of the feathers.

 2. Extend the Wing

As you will extend the wings you will have a clear view that the wings are straight outward up to the eleventh wing and from that onwards cocktail’s wings become inward-directed in the direction of the body. Now start clipping the number of wings that you want you have already decided smoothly and steadily.

3. Cutting Feathers One By One

Using a blunted scissors to trim the feathers is a very bad idea.

Always use a sharp knife and cut feathers one by one slowly. Don’t hurry or else you will injure your bird badly.

 4. Be aware of blood wings

Cockatiel Blood Feather

A blood wing or a feather also known as a pin feather is a newly grown feather that is highly sensitive. It is darker in color and is present close to the area where the shaft enters the body. You should never ever cut this wing as it will end up bleeding and harm to the bird.

 5. Train your bird in learning it no longer have wings

For the first time when you will attempt to cut the wing of your bird, it will not be aware of the fact that it can no longer fly. It will try over and over to fly and will end up falling on the floor. You should always keep your bird in a carpeted room this will help him land more smoothly each time it will lose balance. Make sure that your bird doesn’t fall on some sharp object or anything that can be harmful to it. Falling or getting into such objects will lead to the bird breaking its skin over its keel. Anyhow, your cocktail will learn to adjust to this inability soon afterward.

Does Wing Clipping Hurt?

A very common question that is asked most is that “Does wing clipping hurt”? You might not want to cut the feathers of your bird thinking that it might be painful or it will hurt your cocktail but, this is not the case. Trimming wings for the birds is like trimming hairs or nails in humans, cocktails do not feel anything when you are trimming their feathers.

But also note down that never over cut or over trim the feather because it will cause many problems in gliding for your bird in the future. Over-clipping might lead to the situation where your bird will be able to only fly in the forward, not upward direction, and as a result getting into injuries.

How to Know When to Clip Wings?

Once you notice that long gliding feathers of the cocktails are grown back and it’s been long since you last trimmed them, then it is the time for you to trim the feather of your bird

Don’t Clip Wings of a Baby Cockatiel

Always seek advice from the avian vet before trimming the wing of baby cockatiels. You should not cut the wings until you feel like it’s necessary and you should let them learn to fly first so that they could develop the necessary muscles for flying otherwise they won’t be able to fly in the future or it can cause numbness.


To avoid your bird from getting into trouble by flying out you need to cut and trim the wings of the cocktail. This is not an easy task to perform so you need to be very careful while doing it. For more queries leave you to comment below.


Should I clip my cockatiel wings?

If you are worried about the fact that your bird will fly out and get itself into trouble then you might need to clip its wings.

Is it not good to clip a bird’s wings?

If you will over trim the wing of your bird, it will cause serious problems in the future for your bird as it might lead to your bird not being able to fly again ever. Also, it this unethical to clip its wings and depriving them of flying.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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