Now Ziva has an ISSUE! Flight feathers cut

by Michelle Liggett
(Mineral Wells, TX)

Now I have an issue that seems to have started yesterday - first, some backstory - I wanted Ziva 'fully-flighted', and, unfortunately, the breeder clipped her. She started to molt her flight feathers, as she was able to fly a short distance from the perch to me, etc - when she started to change out her feathers, she started crashing - smart bird, she doesn't try to fly as much, but, sometimes, as yesterday afternoon, she did and went to the ground.

I ask her to step up, and she does, she's never hurt, but, I think something happened this last time that she was upset and then correlated it to me! This morning she had her usual talk/mumbling session, and then I asked her if she wanted to come out of the cage, thinking she would step up as usual, then up on the top of the cage to play. Not today! She was upset! No stepping up - totally acted like she was afraid of my hand - not biting me, but did lunge her head at me, and pushing my hand with the front of her beak - if she did take a hold, it was not to bite, she did beak me a few times, but not hard.

Just acted strangely...I did insist that she step up, and was patient with her. Took her out, but did not let her up on the cage, as she definitely wanted back inside. I'm not very happy that she is unhappy - she has been grinding her beak and acting upset most of the afternoon! Staying as far away from me as she can...!

Anyway, I'm feeling this will pass with some patient work over the next few days, as she has bonded with me, and, up to now, we haven't had any issues.

I'm wondering how long it will be before she has fully molted her wing feathers, and will be flighted enough again to be able to fly without dropping like a rock! I hate to see her become cage-bound, but I'm afraid of her getting herself hurt, or, becoming afraid to fly at all...I think she has associated her last crash with me directly, and this has shaken her confidence in me...

Any suggestions, and, how long on the molt? It seems her primary flight feathers are definitely coming in, but very slow to get any length to them - they look normal, not chewed or broken, just still short...

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Jun 08, 2011
I have an eclectus
by: Anonymous

You wrote:-
"From what I've read, a full molt for a bird indoors under full-spectrum lighting can sometimes take a year, depending on the bird. I am wondering if anyone on this forum knows if this is the case with Eclectus, or?"

Sort of. I did write a post about the eclectus moults. The wing moults for the Eclectus species is once to twice a year. This is a normal moult for them & their larger feathers & has little to do with full spectrum lighting. If they don't moult at least once a year then yes it is possible they're lacking sunlight (natural is best). But once a year is normal for an Eclectus.

Jun 06, 2011
don't worry
by: Anonymous

It sounds like her wings weren't clipped properly. Unfortunately all you can do about that is wait for them to grow back & keep a VERY close eye on her. There will be times she might still attempt to fly & crash. They are a preferred parrot species to have their sings in tact. Not for their beauty but because it is very easy to clip their wings in the wrong way & have too many things go wrong. they also seem a lot happier & more settled flighted. They are a species that is very independent, tend not to get into things they shouldn't when they grow up (but this isn't guaranteed). And most people who keep them flighted also recall train them. They are an easy species of parrot to recall train. Some people still choose to clip them for safety & there are the occasional ones that do into things they shouldn't. You do need to take safety into serious consideration if you are choosing to have a flighted bird.

Even tough her wings are clipped they will grow back.

now for her not wanting to come out of the cage. It could be anything. she may have not wanted to come out at that time. You may have startled her without realising it. My eclectus has moments when he doesn't want to come out of his cage. He doesn't bite but he may growl or show it in body language. If he doesn't want to come out he doesn't have to. he is flighted so he comes out when he's ready to & flies straight to his gym. When he was clipped in went into the bird room every 10 mins to check if he was ready to come out. You will still get many a time when she won't want to come out. Don't take it personally & don't panic, it's just a preference & if it's what she wants let her have it. Grinding the beak is a good thing. She is relaxed when she does this. If you force the issue when she doesn't want to come out then expect a bite. If she is adamant about not coming out & you keep taking her out anyway she will eventually start to bite you. It's best to avoid being bitten in the first place.

They moult their small head & body feathers year round. Their larger wing & tail feathers are usually moulted around twice a year but this generally doesn?t start this until around the age of one year.When going through heavy moults you can clearly see all the pin feathers when your bird is wet. It?s not uncommon for the feathers to be show different shades through a heavy moult as they?re older & duller feathers, newer feathers & grey down showing at the same time. Once all the new feathers have fully grown the birds shine & evenness of the colour comes back.

Jun 06, 2011
Now Ziva has an ISSUE! Flight feathers cut
by: Linda

As Tracie said, if your bird is dropping like a rock, the breeder does not know how to clip wings, and this is most unfortunate for all her birds. The only feathers that need to be clipped are the 4-6 Primary Flight Feathers which are the long ones at the ends of each wing. The ones you are wanting to grow out. If clipped up any higher, the birds are in constant pain and fall like a rock which can break bones. If I were you, I'd call the breeder and explain the correct way to clip wings because she is causing the birds much unneeded pain/stress and the new caretakers many problems with their new birds. Clipping up into the Secondary feathers is absolutely NOT necessary, and I cannot imagine why anyone would butcher their birds in this way.

As for little Ziva, make sure she is not favoring anything like wings, feet or legs as she could have a hairline fracture which will need to be casted so it can heal properly. An Avian Vet is the only kind of doctor to take her to, and if she continues to snap at you, it means she is hurting somewhere and will need to be taken in to avian vet for a thorough checkup. When bird's behavior changes suddenly like this, it usually means either an illness or an injury that is causing them discomfort. If she is not over this in a few days, please have her examined by avian vet because a hairline fracture can become a full break, possibly a compound fracture where bone sticks through the skin, and this is something you do not want her to have to go through.

As Tracie said, birds flying wildly through the house is very dangerous as they can fly into windows, mirrors or reflective picture frames. Birds do not see depth unless they are moving heads from side to side, so pictures look like something they can land on, and they can be seriously hurt going down with the picture. I had an unframed picture in my Toucan's room years' ago, and it was a Chinese woodcut drawing of a Cherry tree with branches. She'd attempt to land on the "branches" and slide to the floor, so unless you have a very safe home with no mirrors, pictures or windows watch her carefully when she is out of cage.

Her wings will continue to come in if she does not fall and break one or more of the feathers. A broken blood feather is a life threatening situation and will need an emergency trip to avian vet. If you have someone to help you, you can pull it straight out and down as it grows out of the body using needle nose pliers. You would have to have someone hold bird wrapped in a towel while you pull out the blood feather. We had to do that with a Scarlet Macaw who broke a tail blood feather, and it needs to be done quickly to lessen the stress and keep bird from losing too much blood.

I'm sorry this breeder butchered your bird, and I hope they are reading this. If not, you give them a call and see if they could change their clipping methods to help other birds in the future.

Thanks for writing,

Jun 06, 2011
How long for a full molt/replacement of flight feathers?
by: Michelle Liggett

I do understand about the flighted/unflighted issues - personally, I want her flighted - I intend to train her for free-flight, and I have a Aviator Harness for her, that I've worked on to accustom her to. I don't want to reclip her unless I feel I just have to do so.
Just since yesterday, I've been giving her a few pomegranite seeds that stored from last season. She gets these as special treats, since they are really messy, and loves them. I have her coming back to my hand now to get them, and will be working on asking her to step up to get them next. I will probably work on this in the morning, before she gets her regular feeding, so she will be a bit more enticed by it.
From what I've read, a full molt for a bird indoors under full-spectrum lighting can sometimes take a year, depending on the bird. I am wondering if anyone on this forum knows if this is the case with Eclectus, or?

Jun 06, 2011
Bird crashing from bad wing trim
by: Tracie

If your bird is "dropping like a rock" then the wings were NOT trimmed properly. Your bird can break it's hollow bones very easily, if trimmed incorrectly.

If you choose to allow the bird to fly, then you need to go through your entire house to make sure there is nothing toxic your bird can chew, like or eat. I know of a bird that died because it pecked at a metal statue on a bookshelf, another bird died when it landed on a picture frame and the frame fell over and landed on the fluttering bird.

I know of another bird that loved to go in dark places and found a mouse trap behind the fridge. Another bird climbed under the fridge and got caught in the fan on the motor.

Birds escape out doors also. One lady just posted today that her bird escaped outside, they recovered the bird, but it died the next day from a disease it got from the birds outside.

Unless you have a specific bird safe room, it is really not suggested you allow the bird to be flighted.

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