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How Long Before A Parrot’s Clipped Wings Grow Back?

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

The wing clipping process won’t be permanent if it’s done correctly. Most parrots molt once or twice a year, shedding worn and damaged feathers before regrowing healthy replacements.

The time it takes for a parrot’s clipped wings to grow back depends on when the primary flight feathers were clipped. If a parrot starts molting shortly after wing clipping, it may fly again within 4-8 weeks.

Clipping the wings after a molt could mean it takes 12-18 months before the flight feathers regrow. The smaller the parrot species, the more frequently it molts and replaces its feathers.

Clipping a parrot’s wings is an exacting process. If done wrong, wing clipping can permanently disable flight. If the follicles are damaged, the feathers may never regrow properly.

Permanency of Clipping A Parrot’s Wings

To understand how wing clipping works, consider the wing’s anatomy.

Primary flight feathers, or fingertip feathers, propel the parrot through the air. The secondary feathers are shorter and sustain the parrot’s ability to glide.

Veterinarians only recommend clipping the primary flight feathers.

While both sets of feathers will regrow when a parrot molts its feathers, not clipping the secondary feathers allows hovering and gliding. This allows the parrot to adjust to its new, more limited lifestyle.

How Long Clipped Wings Last

Assuming the process was carried out safely, a parrot’s wings will remain clipped until it next molts. During a molt, a parrot will gradually replace all primary, secondary, and tail feathers.

Even clipped parrots can glide in a strong wind without their primary feathers. Only take a parrot outside in a secure cage or on a harness, or you may never see them again.

how long does it take for parrots’ tail feathers to grow back?

Time for Flight Feathers To Grow Back

Feather regrowth depends on various factors, primarily the parrot’s species.

Small parrots molt more frequently (up to three times a year), but the process concludes sooner. Large parrots usually only molt once a year, but it can take up to 2 months to conclude.

If you want to clip the parrot’s wings to restrict flight for longer, do so after a molt concludes.

Time for Tail Feathers to Regrow

Tail feathers regrow post-molt, so there’s no need to clip them. While the tail is used to change direction and elevation during flight, clipping will not ground a parrot.

Why Parrots’ Clipped Wings Don’t Grow Back

New feathers will eventually regrow if you’ve completed the wing clipping process correctly.

If this doesn’t happen, there are several explanations:

  • Bacterial and viral infections. Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease inhibits feather growth.
  • The parrot is plucking its feathers, damaging the follicles.
  • Diet is unsuitable, lacking protein (essential amino acids).
  • Lack of sun exposure or artificial UVA and UVB rays.
  • Excessive heat or a lack of humidity (overly dry skin).
  • Injury to the feather follicles (damaged skin structures).
  • Stress that manifests as feather-destructive behavior (FDB).

How To Encourage Feathers To Grow

You may be concerned about a lack of feather growth. According to The Condor, caring for a parrot that must regrow feathers should be the same as during the breeding season.

Mental And Physical Stimulation

If a parrot is stressed or deeply unhappy, it’ll struggle to regrow feathers. The Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine warns that parrots pluck their feathers in extreme mental or emotional distress.

The calmer you keep a parrot, the likelier it is to grow feathers at a healthy rate. Provide the following:

  • A reliable routine.
  • Toys and puzzles.
  • Out-of-cage time.
  • Learning and interaction (tricks, talking, etc.)

Ensure out-of-cage interaction occurs in a parrot-safe room with closed doors and windows.

Temperature Regulation

The ideal temperature for most parrot species is 65°F to 80°F.

Although most species hail from tropical climes and like warm temperatures, parrots can get too hot. If a parrot overheats, its skin will dry out, compromising feather regrowth.

Be mindful of artificial heat sources during the winter, as these will adversely affect the skin. Use a spray bottle to mist the parrot’s skin for comfort. If you get an external humidifier, set it to around 55%.

Light Exposure

Exposure to sunlight promotes feather growth in parrots, but it carries risks like heat stroke. Putting a parrot’s cage by the window is ineffective because double-glazing blocks UV rays.

Get a UVB lamp if you need an alternative to natural light. Use a timer plug to imitate the sun’s rise and fall, which will help the parrot maintain its circadian rhythms.

how long does it take for flight feathers to grow back?

Diet

Parrots need protein, zinc, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. Post-molt foods include:

  • Dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, and broccoli.)
  • Boiled eggs.
  • Lean meat and fish.
  • Tofu.
  • Legumes.

Discuss dietary supplements with an avian veterinarian. Too much protein (hyperproteinemia) or excessive calcium (hypercalcemia) can lead to mineralization and kidney problems.

Why Parrots Don’t Fly After Their Feathers Regrow

Just because a parrot has regrown its primary flight feathers doesn’t mean it’ll immediately recommence flight. Humans learn to walk before running, and parrots must regain the confidence to fly.

No matter how old the parrot is, assume it’s a fledgling that has never previously flown. It could take 12-18 months before a parrot regrows its feathers and can confidently fly again.

If you complete the process correctly, clipping a parrot’s wings won’t be permanent.