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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone!

We just took Sake to our avian vet and he clipped her wings for the first time since brining her home. This is her second ever wing clip. The vet also oiled her feet, clipped her nails, dremeled her beak down and gave her a nice bath. She did really great with him!

However, ever since she's gotten home she just seems a bit more subdued. My wife put it perfectly in that it almost seems like we killed her spirit a bit. She used to chat most of the day and fly and hop around her cage and play with her bells a lot. She seems to just want to sit on a perch now. She still plays but not nearly as much as she used to.

Is this temporary? Is it normal for them to go through a bit of depression(?) after a wing clip? Its just a little bit sad not seeing her play as much.

We're still trying to train her with step up, which the wing clipping will definitely help with. But she is still super averse to hands near her (unless they have popcorn in them).

What do you guys think? She seems totally healthy...but just different now.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and insight.
 

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She will get over it but yes they are not really happy when they can not fly as they wish.
 
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Being handled by the vet, whether they are clipped or not, can also cause them to be a bit more sullen sometimes. The beak might be more traumatic than the wings - I have never had to have a bird's beak dremeled, and it is a very sensitive part of their body. It should be temporary. It was a scary experience to be dominated by a person in that way, and the change to flight status also changes some important things in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you. I hope it was ok that we did that to her beak. This place had great reviews and people down here swear by them. I'm sorta thinking we maybe try it for a while without her wings clipped after we've bonded with her enough. I keep reading that having the wings clipped helps with bonding them to you since they can't easily leave you, but I dunno...

We really just want her to be happy and I think we took that away from her a bit...
 

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Tumi has been both a clipped bird and a flighted bird. Wings grow back, so you don't have to make a permanent decision. Was it an avian vet? What reason did they give for doing the beak? Parrotlet beaks are rather large for their size, but most parrotlets will never need their beaks trimmed in any way unless their is some sort of issue.
 

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We had Monty's beak trimmed one time just the very tip when he was a baby because it was a tad long, and he was okay and we haven't had to do it since because it grew back fine. It will grow back.

I don't really like wing clipping for my own personal preference (unless needed), but they grow back and the bird will be fine. Sake is probably just sulking. Monty does that when we leave him overnight. Our dogs when I was a kid used to do that when they went to kennels after they got picked up, and my old budgie used to sulk and not want to talk to me for a day after he got left alone when I went away.

Monty sulks when I mist him because he hates getting wet, but his head never gets wet if I don't do it every once in a while. I haven't heard of a vet giving the bird a bath?
 

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I keep reading that having the wings clipped helps with bonding them to you since they can't easily leave you, but I dunno...
Bonding will come with patience if the bird is clipped or not :) Sometimes birds are just not the "ride on your shoulder" personality and sometimes they are. My first bird would sit on the ceiling rail and did not enjoy sitting on me much. That was just his personality. He was fully flighted. He still loved me as part of his flock and was super special and bonded to me.

Monty is fully flighted and is absolutely a velcro bird that must be sitting on you if you are doing something at all times. It's kind of annoying lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's amazing! Yeah it seems like they all have their own little quirks. She loves riding around on my shoulder...but again she's still super afraid of hands so in order to get her off of me, I have to use the ladder from her cage that she likes as a 'stepping stone' so to speak.

I hope this isn't setting her down a bad path to not be comfortable with hands. But from my understanding this is one of the hardest parts--getting them comfortable with hands.
 

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That's amazing! Yeah it seems like they all have their own little quirks. She loves riding around on my shoulder...but again she's still super afraid of hands so in order to get her off of me, I have to use the ladder from her cage that she likes as a 'stepping stone' so to speak.

I hope this isn't setting her down a bad path to not be comfortable with hands. But from my understanding this is one of the hardest parts--getting them comfortable with hands.
She will eventually get used to hands, you sound like you're already on the right track to success. Monty was always good at step up but still isn't a fan of hands over his back unless it's at night. We have been training him to be better just in case we ever need to do it for medication etc. but it's been 3 years and he's still not totally happy about it. Positive encouragement and patience is key and I think you'll do fine.
 

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Hello! Sake is just getting over her day at the spa. The dremmel experience can be traumatic to some birds. The vibration is the scary part for the birds. I never had my bird's beaks trimmed. They know how to trim it themselves. You have to give them plenty of chew toys, soft balsa wood, and other various woods so they can naturally keep their beaks in top shape. Just when you think they need a trim, they will take care of it themselves.

I have never clipped or had any bird's wings clipped. I have been fortunate over these past 55 plus years. I was able to bond with my birds. The p'lett can be a handful at times and mean and stubborn and a pain in the you know what! But, they can be sweet and gentle and very caring and loving, too! The last two birds I had were parrotlets and of all the birds I have been associated with, the parrotlets were the ones who cleaved to my soul ! Losing a parrotlet, to me, was very life shattering and I had a very difficult time getting over their passing. This forum was extremely instrumental in helping me get over loosing my birds. The members put up with my depression, and helped me cope! I thank God they were there.

Clipping is a personal decision. It is not bad for the bird. You mentioned that Sake isn't quite stepping up, yet. I do know this...if you want them to step up, you have to do the same thing every time you go into a training session with Sake. Offer a treat. Never approach Sake from above! When you bring your hand closer to Sake, keep it below her eye level and go slow. Approach her legs and feet slowly. Your finger must be like a perch for her to step up on.

If she has ever been grabbed by your hands or with a towel, this might be why she is reluctant to have your hands near her.( she could be naturally afraid of your hands, too.) Only time will tell. Keep trying.Offer her treats. A lot of treats!

Hope some of this helps...

David and Vicki
 

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Fortunately, birds are smart enough to differentiate between humans. She might not like the vet (although that is the vet's problem to deal with - I always figure that if Tumi doesn't at least try to bite the vet then he is sick), but it shouldn't transfer to anything long term for you.
I had a cockatiel that never did trust most hands, but she would step up backwards to anyone. As long as she couldn't see the fingers, she would step up. If she could see the fingers, she only would step up for me or my dad. And she wouldn't step up if I had any nail polish or bandaids on my hand.
For some birds, clipping makes a huge difference. For others, they really are the same with and without flight feathers. My cockatiel was a terror with flight feathers and sweet without them (she could get really far with her clipped wings, though, gliding just about anywhere). Tumi is pretty much the same regardless. I have had him clipped a couple times for safety - once after a bird vs. window scare, and then also when we go to visit my mom who has a house with TALL ceilings and many non-bird-safe items.
I would definitely work on the step up training. Also, some parrotlets are not suited to being on your shoulder. Tumi is very bonded to me, but he tends to bite my neck if I dare to move my head with him on my shoulder. Instead, I keep him on my knee or forearm or even top of my head, but rarely my shoulder. It is also difficult to get a hand hesitate bird off your shoulder, since they can run to where you can't see or reach. It is easier to ask the bird to step up from your forearm or knee.
 

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For some birds, clipping makes a huge difference. For others, they really are the same with and without flight feathers. My cockatiel was a terror with flight feathers and sweet without them (she could get really far with her clipped wings, though, gliding just about anywhere). Tumi is pretty much the same regardless.
I agree, sometimes clipping can be needed. If someone just gave me the choice clip or no with no particular reason to clip I wouldn't clip, but it's totally a personal thing. Parrotlets will adapt regardless if they are clipped or not, but you just have to ensure they get adequate exercise if they are clipped.

I find from talking to my vet about the clipping and with the bird sanctuary, because birds have a fight or flight response, if they can't fly away from something they don't like, they may be more inclined to bite because they can't properly escape. But from what I know it can be totally different for each bird. Give the clipped wings a try and if they don't seem to be helping, try letting them grow out.

Of course we're always here if you want to vent or have questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow you guys have helped SO MUCH. It really is tough because you hear so many different things from people...but that also sounds like its because every bird is different.

Thank you for the encouragement. I'm really happy to hear that it sounds like we're on a good path. Whats funny is she has no problem with my actual NOSE rubbing her neck feathers, but if I bring my finger up she runs away. They are just so hilarious :)

Really appreciate all the time y'all have taken to respond to my questions. You even answered some questions I DIDN'T ask, but have been meaning to. It sounds like step-up might be the last thing they learn sometimes? I was concerned I was bonding in the wrong order and she would never learn step up. But after everyone's advice, it sounds like that might be totally normal.

This forum has been so great! Thank you so much!
 

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In theory, step-up is step one in bird training, but parrotlets are often stubborn about things. Tumi KNOWS what the words "step up" mean and what I want, but often he would rather repeat the words back to me instead of actually stepping up. They might be tiny, but they have the personality of a giant! I tell him to step up, but sometimes he "talks back." It is like negotiating with a toddler!
My cockatiel always did nose-rubs - some birds are just weird. Well, probably all parrots are weird, just their weirdness is sometimes different than others. My bird is in love with tissues, so weirdness is the way of things for me.
 

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Bo and Jules were rescues and DID NOT LIKE HANDS. Step up with us started on shirt sleeves, then back of hands and eventually fingers and palms. Everybody has to find their own way and the bird has most say in the process.

That being said, do not get into comparing your progress with others. Everyone of us found our own way. Our little ones are mercurial puzzle boxes. It is why we love them.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That makes sense. she gets on sleeves very well, even backs of hands. its the damn fingers. BUT in the time since my last response I put my finger on the edge of my desk with some popcorn right behind it and after about 15 minutes of her chirping and running circles frustrated she FINALLY stepped on my finger to eat.

I'm so happy she seems to be coming back around, even since starting this thread. Today she has been so much happier and playful.

These birds are so wonderful.
 

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My fiance and I always talk about it like having a toddler (granted neither of us have had children) but he, god bless his sweet soul, cannot stand when we've had to towel restrain Tofu to take her to the vet, he cant watch the vet flush her nose when she was sick, it actually causes him physical pain because he knows his baby bird hates it but I have to tell him, "If you had a baby and they needed a shot they will likely scream and cry but you need to do it because you are their caretaker and this is ultimately what you believe is the right thing to do for them that will make their life better," and like shots you can deny care but that choice belongs to you and no one else.

Also like humans if you broke your leg youd struggle for a while because youre used to doing things on your legs but eventually you would find your new normal and be fine. Its the same with birds- they do TOTALLY pout for a bit. But clipped wings dont hurt them they grow back if you change your mind- your bird will find its groove and it will be okay!

I like to think parrotlets eventually figure it out that were trying to help them when we do these things.
 
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