How to Clip a Cockatiel’s Flier Feathers

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Clip each flight feather individually.,
Clip using the traditional method.,
Do a test flight.

A more modern technique is to clip each individual flight feather on the shaft right at the point where there are no longer any barbules. (The feathery protrusions growing from the quill, or shaft, are called barbs or barbules.)

Select the flight feather you wish to trim, and clip it carefully on the quill, below the barbules (the wide, soft part of the feather).
Cut the quill just below the barbules — if you clip too close to the bird, you may hurt him.
Never cut the shaft if it is dark in color — this is the blood supply that indicates it is a growing feather (or blood feather.)
Clip only a few feathers at first, and don’t clip more than you absolutely have to. Birds are very proud about their feathers, and over-clipping your bird may upset him.

, The old-fashioned way to clip a cockatiel’s feathers is to cut all the flight feathers at once, so that the ends of the feathers create a straight line; however, this can leave sharp edges that can injure your bird.

Clip the group of feathers you intend to trim all at once, about halfway up the wide part of the feather – as if you were giving the bird a hair cut.
Trim the feathers at an angle, to match the length of the covert feathers (the shorter, softer feathers on top.)

, After clipping four of your cockatiel’s primary flights, let her loose for a “test flight.” If she can still attain lift, clip one more flight feather from each wing. Your bird should be able to control drift when released, so she can glide to the floor safely. She should not be able to lift off, however, or remain airborne.

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