Ask Lafeber


November 22, 2021

Wing clipping

I have 3 mature (Approx 1 1/2) year old Cockatiels.
2 males and 1 female. The female and one of the males have mated. The 3rd bird (male) is the odd man out and often is chased all over the house. These 3 birds have the run of the house and my question is:
Can I clip their wings just enough to keep them from being able to fly all over, but still be able to short fly within their main area?


Hi Debbie,

An expert can do a limited wing trim, and this can be enough to fly down, or fly from a cage to a perch, but not fly up. If you do this, I would not clip the odd male out. He is in a very stressful situation already, and need to know he can fly away from the other male when needed. I never recommend having an odd bird out for this reason. You definitely do not want to let the pair nest. First, they are too young – they need to be at least 2, and then you have the extra male. If you breed thse birds after they turn 2, and as long as they are not related, they have to remain confined to a cage when they have a nest box and are nesting. You can make some changes to discourage the hormonal behavior. The wing trims will help.

Keep in mind that breeding conditions are longer daylight, warmer weather, abundant food, and a quiet, private environment. Your goal is to reverse these conditions.

Limit their light to 8-10 hours by covering the cage early each evening

Do not give them anything to use as a nest – no bird huts or tents, no box, bowl, etc. If they decide to sit in a food bowl, remove it and replace with smaller cups.

Do not give them anything to shred such as paper or cardboard.

Rearrange the toys in the cage frequently.

Usually we say move the cage to a different place in the room, but I know they are out most of the day. You can still try it, though. Move the cage about once a week, or whenever she shows signs of nesting – settling on the cage floor for example.

If they is let out of the cage, do not let them get in any dark cozy places and don’t give them free roam. Of course they have free roam all day, but at least try to keep them out of places they might want to nest.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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