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To clip or not to clip?

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To clip or not to clip?

Post by JConvry » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:14 pm

Hi guys,

My buddy Jones is about 18 months old. He's an awesome bird.

He interacts somewhat well with myself and my girlfriend when she is around. He loves to talk and say funny things to us and his toys.

However, he's never wanted to stay with me for long periods of time. I'd like to get to a point where he actually wants to hang out with me on the couch in front of the TV or while I walk around the house.

As soon as he realizes I don't have a treat for him, he is OUT.

If he even suspects for a moment that I want to PET HIM (God forbid!) he is OUT.

He flies right back to his cage and his toys. If I keep retrieving him, he eventually doesn't step up to me and just flies away when I get near. If I force him to accept my affection, then he is better for a few minutes then gets over it quickly.

I really don't want to clip my wings, but a few people have told me that will help. Is it better to somehow make him like me and want to be with me, or kind of wear down his resolve until he just accepts that he is going to be with me when I want him to be. (Trying not to sound like a bird nazi)

What do you guys think? Other than telling me to go get a cockatiel :)

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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by Redzone » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:07 pm

Clipping his wings will just turn him into a biter. If you want to forge a better relationship with him, train it into him :)

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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by ellieelectrons » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:31 pm

Hi JConvry

Welcome to the forum.

I have two IRNs who were both clipped when they were young who are now both fully flighted. We clipped our first bird shortly after she fledged (possibly too soon after she fledged). Our second bird was clipped by the breeder when we brought him home.

We clipped our first bird (Janey) because she would fly up and sit on our ceiling fan and, because we have very high ceilings, I couldn't get her down from there. I was also worried that she would start chewing the electrical wires on the ceiling fan.

Now that I have fully flighted birds, I find one of the greatest joys is seeing them fly throughout the house. That's what they were created to do and it is really amazing.

On your issue about whether to clip or not - knowing what I know now, and taking your description of your bird's behaviour, I would recommend not clipping. Whilst it may take longer for you to feel that you've got the bird you want, you will end up with a bird that comes to you because s/he wants to rather than because s/he has to. It reminds a little bit of working with children, you can use your power to get the child to do what you want in the short term (which will work most times), but in the long term, you build a better relationship with a child if you work with the child, respect them, and help them to discover for them self that they can trust you and you have their best interests at heart. With birds, the way I like to advocate for helping them discover for them self that they can trust you is through positive reinforcement. If you are looking for an introduction to positive reinforcement, I would suggest getting the "Parrot Behavior and Training #1" DVD (see I also own "Understanding Parrot Body Language" and "Training for the Veterinary Exam #2".

I would also avoid doing things that scare your bird (eg. petting him). I must say that some IRNs may never like to be pet. So you may need to alter your expectations a little. Some will like it though, so you'll just have to wait and see.

Best wishes.


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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by InTheAir » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:52 pm


I think Redzone is exaggerating a bit, but he is trying to make the point that you could end up with a frustrated bird.

Will cutting his wings make him like you more? If he gets bored of sitting on you and he can't fly away, what is he going to do instead?
I guess it comes down to what kind of relationship you want with your bird, and that is something only you can answer.
There are benefits to flying like exercise and freedom of choice for the bird. I don't know anything about clipping, so I can't provide a balanced argument here.

My solution is to make myself more interesting to the bird. This is something I do on a daily basis anyway. If he flies over and lands on me I give him a treat, if I want him to sit on me I give him his favourite toys to play with. I am not his favourite person, so I have to work harder to be interesting. I watch to see what the bird likes best and offer it to him.
I also get our bird to do flight recalls a lot, for food treats.
This is what Redzone means about training to forge a better relationship.

Ringnecks are not generally renowned for being cuddly birds anyway. It's pretty hard to train anyone to go against their nature.
I wouldn't suggest a cockatiel, but you could try a Teddybear for when your ringneck is busy doing his own thing :mrgreen:



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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by Skyes_crew » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:07 pm

Cuddling is not in a ringnecks vocabulary. Maybe a fuzzy bunny :mrgreen:

My birds land on me and take off whenever. Sometimes I get a kiss, sometimes not. They will come when called because they are recall trained. But I never force the issue. But whether I give them a treat during training or they are simply flying around the house, it makes me feel happy to see them happy. And when they do happen to land on me and give a few beak warms my heart :D
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D


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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by MissK » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:13 pm

Hi. Ordinarily, I don't like to just drop a one liner and go, but it's literally 89 degrees (F) in my house and I haven't got the patience god gave a gnat.

Don't clip. If you do, then eventually you'll come around and regret it. Meanwhile, there's a great chance you'll have to forge through a biting situation that didn't have to be.

You will have to take physical precautions to protect the free flying bird. Step up. If you weren't going to protect him, you shouldn't have him.


PS: You'll thank us non-clippers one day. :wink:

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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by JConvry » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:51 pm

Hey thanks a lot guys for your feedback. You are all right of course about not clipping him.

My other birds are fully flighted and seeing zoom from one room to another chirping away definitely makes me happy. However THOSE birds love me and want to be near me. :)

I'm going to try to get Jones more interested in me. After a video chat with my family in Pennsylvania which he did NOT want to be part of, I took one of his favorite toys (he loves bells) off of his cage and we took turns saying different things into the bottom of it together.

He actually flew over to wherever I was sitting to play the game.

Honestly, it was probably the most high-level interaction we've ever had, lol. I guess all it takes is a bell and a few minutes.

The site won't let me link to youtube, or I'd post a video clip of Jones and I playing with the bell.

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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by clawnz » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:11 pm

I am one who will tell you to not clip this bird.
Using coercion and dominance on a bird is not a good practice.
People may get away with it with young birds, but a bird that has had it's flight for a good period of time may react badly to this treatment. And who would blame it?
Please refer to as much information as you can on Positive Reinforcement Training this will help you form a good bond with him.
It is much better when they come to you because they want to. And I feel this makes for a much better relationship and a better behaved bird.
Ringnecks are not known for being cuddly, but hey! You do get a few that are like this.

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Re: To clip or not to clip?

Post by ellieelectrons » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:44 am

Hi J

Congrats on your progress. Keep going!

You won't be able to post links or images until you've reached a minimum number of posts and been a member for a minimum amount of time. It's an anti-spam measurement put in place by the person who owns this forum. It does make it hard for new members though. More info here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=15060

I think you've made a good decision. The relationship will come with time... and it will mean so much to you because you've had to work for it!


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