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 My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.

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GlassOnion
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PostSubject: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:07 pm

I got my Budgie, Spice, in Spring of this year. I kept her flighted until summer came around when I lightly trimmed her outer two primaries due to windows being open everywhere for ventilation. (We didn't have screens.) She came to be semi-handleable bird to begin with, but when I clipped her wings, she instantly calmed down to a more 'tame' bird. She was definitely not as energetic or happy, but much more handleable. So I thought, "well, I guess people do clip for a reason when trying to tame a parent-raised bird."

Then Fall rolls along and Spice goes through a moult. I remembered how happy and joyous she was when she could fly, she would do laps around the room and chirp like a madman. I decided that even if I do lose that tameness I felt I had, Spice should regain her flight, and that I would just take it very slow. I pretty much dropped the expectation of her building a relationship with me.

When she could fly again, obviously she returned to her independent, flighty self, but a very happy bird at least. Without any expectations, I gave her treats, pet her every once in a while, eat with the birds, etc. Then about two weeks ago or so, she started making the decision to fly to my shoulder or hand and preen my skin, play with my hair, pick at my mole... Usually, she always flies to me when Apple lands on me, but I could tell that this was starting to become more than her just using me as a perch to be with Apple.

Right now, Spice is carefully preening the mole on my neck and giving me nibbles everywhere. Obviously she wouldn't be here if Apple didn't come first.. But I can definitely see a start of a relationship. A friendship that Spice chose to initiate, not one that I could've forced on her by taking away her flight and giving her no other choice.

I have to say that what we have right now is much stronger than when I could take her anywhere back when she was clipped. Much more real than forcing a friendship on a bird that doesn't want it. It's still in progress in every means, but it's a great feeling knowing that what we have is naturally built on real trust and time.

What I'm trying to say is that clipping made no progress in building our friendship, that's why when she became re-flighted, she went back to ignoring me. It's when Spice became flighted and could make her own choices, that she started to trust me. The clip actually prevented us from bonding because she was always being forced to do things she didn't feel like.

So..... to those of you who are considering a clip for 'taming' purposes, do remember that mutually respected friendship with a flighted bird is very rewarding and flattering!

Her colors in person are actually brilliant. Various shades of bright turquoise to purply blue, with a bright lemony head!
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:51 pm

I love my relationship with Einstein, but nothing makes me happier than when the budgies choose to be with me.

I love yellow faces. They're my favorite mutation.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:22 am

I hate taming. I almost didn't get into birds from my first experiences with untame/unhandleable birds. I prefer getting tame birds as pets.

Good for you. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have the patience to earn a bird's trust and tameness; and end up getting rid of the bird.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:38 am

I'm glad you were able to make this work for you.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:36 am

Thanks, thanks, thanks!

I agree that 'taming' is a wearing process that takes a lot of patience. Would I ever do it again? Highly, highly doubt it...
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:51 am

Well we do the taming thing all the time and we always have amazons that we are working with.That being said there's nothing like a well socialized baby to work with. Rescuing older amazons with serious behavioral issues is a real trial and not for everyone.Yes i guess some satisfaction can be derived from any success you may encounter,but most of it is hard earned.If things like clipping (glass onion's case) help improve the quality of life then the ends justify the means IMO.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:04 pm

My impression from reading the description, though, is that different approaches were used when the bird was clipped and not. IMO, if exactly the same philosophy was used when Spice was clipped vs. flighted, the result would have been the same. Acceptance of proximity because of an inability to get away was never the same thing as willingly choosing to be with a human -- but waiting for the bird to willingly come to the human could just as well have been done with the wings clipped, so IMO it's not a fair demonstration of the value of not clipping, it's a demonstration of the value of waiting for the bird to choose to come to you.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:24 pm

ScooterNScotty wrote:
My impression from reading the description, though, is that different approaches were used when the bird was clipped and not. IMO, if exactly the same philosophy was used when Spice was clipped vs. flighted, the result would have been the same. Acceptance of proximity because of an inability to get away was never the same thing as willingly choosing to be with a human -- but waiting for the bird to willingly come to the human could just as well have been done with the wings clipped, so IMO it's not a fair demonstration of the value of not clipping, it's a demonstration of the value of waiting for the bird to choose to come to you.
I'd have to agree w/ SnS.
I think flight and taming are two separate issues.
Minion's not any less tamer due to being flighted. She's just as big of a pain in the rear as Ducky. (Just kiddin'. Love them both. . . Sort of. . . even if they are conures. . . Rolling Eyes )

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:37 pm

I have to disagree, because the bird still doesn't have control when it's clipped. It's pretty much impossible to use the 'same approach' with said clipped/unclipped bird, because I have seen Spice's behaviours and her attitude change.

While clipped-- whatever she wants to do, she pretty much can't do, and has to rely on me. And she knows this so she won't act like a flighted bird even if wasn't in the happiest position. She knows she can't come as she wants to, or go as she wants to. I feel that limiting her freedom and her ability to make her own decisions just hides her real intentions. I think that Spice, knowing that she has her freedom, is what encouraged her to be comfortable and show her true colors.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:01 pm

well no matter what it took for spice to choose to be with you im happy for you that it happened! IMO it doesnt matter clipped or not because marty didnt even want to be with me at first when he was clipped and eventually decided to choose to be with me. i guess it depends on the situation, bird, and person involved
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:50 pm

GlassOnion wrote:
I have to disagree, because the bird still doesn't have control when it's clipped. It's pretty much impossible to use the 'same approach' with said clipped/unclipped bird, because I have seen Spice's behaviours and her attitude change.

While clipped-- whatever she wants to do, she pretty much can't do, and has to rely on me. And she knows this so she won't act like a flighted bird even if wasn't in the happiest position. She knows she can't come as she wants to, or go as she wants to. I feel that limiting her freedom and her ability to make her own decisions just hides her real intentions. I think that Spice, knowing that she has her freedom, is what encouraged her to be comfortable and show her true colors.


I agree with Anita. I went through this with my guys.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:54 pm

A clipped bird has less control over it's location, but you can still give it considerable choice over how it spends its time and who it spends it with. My impression is that people treat clipped birds differently than flighted birds and that's at least as big an influence as the presence or absence of flight. I don't have the experience to back that up, unfortunately, but Scotty has had a full set of flight feathers for at least six months now and not a thing has changed. He doesn't fly much, and I think our house is too constrained for him to want to, but I'm not treating him any differently and he's not behaving any differently.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:01 pm

I agree that it sounds like you used different approaches with Spice while clipped and flighted, and that it was by choice not impossibility. A clipped bird you don't have to chase down and force to be with you, just as you can do so to a flighted bird. Ultimately I applaud you for having patience to let Spice come to trust you. I just don't think it had to do with flight.


Also, I feel that flighted they are still limited and not totally in control; they still have no choice about when they get food, water, when the cage door is closed, or where they can fly. Their freedom is limited just by being pets. Yes, they can go more places than a clipped bird, but they still can't do everything and anything they want.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:05 am

Well i still feel that being clipped and learning to trust Onion was the turning point in the relationship. Something that had not happened while she was flighted. On another note ,Scotty has never learned to fly which is why he doesn't. He doesn't know he can or is out of control when he does. Of course you could target train him and teach him to fly but things are good now and you don't know what can of worms you might be opening.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:31 pm

Nope and nope. Sorry guys-- Spice had a very different temperament when she was clipped, she seemed much oppressed. I'm saying this just solely from my experience, but she became just as wild as she was before as soon as her flights came back in. Everything built up from 0 up when she became re-flighted.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:05 pm

Scotty was co-parented and definitely fledged, so he has learned how to fly. He's out of practice. A lot of Cape owners report that they fly little in enclosed spaces and are very clumsy. At any rate, I doubt he'll get an opportunity to get back into practice since I think his current state is more a negative than a positive.

Note "I think". I KNOW he was co-parented and fledged, that is fact. The rest of it is speculation and opinion on my part.

I remain unconvinced that flighted birds are happier birds. What is clear to me is that some people are happier when their birds are flighted, and I think it is a great thing when a person can make a home safe for flight and be able work with that. The exercise factor alone is significant. I'm not anti-flight.

But what I observe is that folks that believe clipping doesn't make a bird miserable report happy clipped birds and people who can't imagine that they could possibly be happy report unhappy clipped birds. I have seen enough anecdotes matching that pattern to hint at an actual measurable result-- IMO the difference is more in the attitude of the observer than the attitude of the bird and I can point to plenty of peer-reviewed scientific studies that quantify that what we believe really does affect what we perceive. An experiment undertaken by a single human with a vested interest in the answer can never produce a convincing result because even when we try our best to be objective, we aren't. That's why the scientific method, and double-blind studies, were invented. This would be an interesting study to do, but either we'd have to find an objective reproducible set of metrics for happiness, or we'd have to find some way to even out the biases of the observers and do it on a large enough scale to establish statistical viability. This is not going to happen on a forum.

Anita, I think what has me a little wound up to respond to this thread is that I feel you are saying that my opinion is wrong, not simply that you disagree with it. The rest of this paragraph is not aimed specifically at you, but a dynamic I see all to often on forums, in daily life and in politics. It bothers me when opinion is presented as fact and used in an attempt to convince others that something is objectively true when there is not sufficient evidence to establish fact. I don't mind a bit when someone argues with passion based on opinion, and I don't mind when someone convinces me that I'm wrong by citing objective, established, documented fact. I do mind when someone tells me my opinion is incorrect and their opinion is fact. My opinion is my opinion. Fact is fact. Opinions can never be wrong and facts can never be argued away. I'm going to climb off the soapbox now, but the concept of knowing the boundary between opinion and fact is near and dear to me.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:31 pm

I don't think what you're saying is false, I just know what I've observed from my own experience is true in my situation.

To add- I didn't pass anything off as fact, the title of my original post clearly states, "My thoughts/experiences" and everything is written in a story-telling fashion based on MY interaction with my bird. I just wanted to share something that I find has worked for me, obviously someone else may have a different outcome under the same circumstances. But to argue continuously against what I know is fact under my roof, that's unnecessary.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:41 pm

ScooterNScotty wrote:
I remain unconvinced that flighted birds are happier birds. What is clear to me is that some people are happier when their birds are flighted, and I think it is a great thing when a person can make a home safe for flight and be able work with that. The exercise factor alone is significant. I'm not anti-flight.

But what I observe is that folks that believe clipping doesn't make a bird miserable report happy clipped birds and people who can't imagine that they could possibly be happy report unhappy clipped birds. I have seen enough anecdotes matching that pattern to hint at an actual measurable result-- IMO the difference is more in the attitude of the observer than the attitude of the bird and I can point to plenty of peer-reviewed scientific studies that quantify that what we believe really does affect what we perceive. An experiment undertaken by a single human with a vested interest in the answer can never produce a convincing result because even when we try our best to be objective, we aren't. That's why the scientific method, and double-blind studies, were invented. This would be an interesting study to do, but either we'd have to find an objective reproducible set of metrics for happiness, or we'd have to find some way to even out the biases of the observers and do it on a large enough scale to establish statistical viability. This is not going to happen on a forum.
Ducky was fledged and flighted until about 14 weeks of age. He has not flown since. Minion's been flighted all along. There was a period at around weaning where she seemed more skitterish and would bolt off flying with any sudden movement or happening (actually all the babies at fledging do this prior to clipping). I think this makes sense from a wild survival standpoint - at fledging/weaning be very reactive or be eaten. As far as pets go, this is not desirable behavior. I'd literally chase her down and held her until she'd calm down when she'd be this way. I wanted to show her that in a pet household, she does not need to be reactive. She is now not very reactionary which is what I want, flighted or not.
I do not think Minion is any happier than Ducky. I don't think Ducky looks at Minion longingly as she flies around. He knows he can't fly. He doesn't try. He doesn't try to follow Minion. He does his own thing when I flip open the cage door. He gets in as much trouble as she does. He chases me down and jumps on me as much as she does.
My primary concern at this point is Minion's socialization. Sure, she'd flighted and gets to fly around the house. But that's a very limited world. I notice that when we hop in the car for a quick (or long) errand, Ducky is the first choice to come along because he's not flighted and it's minimal planning and hassle to grab him and a carrier. Minion since fledging has yet to come along on any rides. Prior to fledging she got to go out a lot and experience the world. I believe Ducky very much enjoys his outings. He's curious when we're out and he's very calm and seems content when we get home. I have yet to observe this calmness and contentedness in Minion despite her ability to fly and burn energy.
Do I think either one is "happier" than the other? I don't know. I've been out of the house so I know there is a world out there that I feel can enrich Minion's life. Of course she doesn't know this - she's a bird. Her world is controlled by humans. So I suppose she is "content" in the only world she knows which is in the house. Ducky's world is also controlled by humans. He knows there's a world out there past the front door. If anything, when he hasn't been out for awhile he's even more high strung and edgy than Minion.
Which bird is more enriched? Which one is happier? Again, I don't know. My primary goal in my preference of raising and keeping them like Ducky is adaptability. Given the long life span, the more experiences and familiar with as many new situation as possible the more likely (I think) the bird will be able to adapt in the future when/if life changes; something happens and they can no longer be flighted loose in a house; they end up caged for weeks/months on end; they end up in a new household with different people; etc. Some unforeseen even could happen tomorrow and all the birds end up in new homes. I think Ducky is the one who will more easily adapt than Minion at this point in their life experiences.
I'm actually wondering if Minion's going to die prematurely, given her stupidity with windows and mirrors.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:51 pm

GlassOnion wrote:
But to argue continuously against what I know is fact under my roof, that's unnecessary.

I'm not intending to antagonize you and I apologize if it seems that way. My point was more about what constitutes a fact, and I think we do disagree about that. I won't harp on it any more.
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:19 pm

I do appreciate everyone's responses and opinions because diversity what makes discussions interesting-- and that's yours too SnS. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:21 pm

patdbunny- I find your experience with Minion/Ducky very useful to keep in mind. I do believe that outside of the house socialization is very valuable, and I have no doubt that Ducky's well-roundedness is likely due to that. It is difficult to get flighted birds outside I have to say, but have you tried harnessing Minion?
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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:44 pm

GlassOnion wrote:
patdbunny- I find your experience with Minion/Ducky very useful to keep in mind. I do believe that outside of the house socialization is very valuable, and I have no doubt that Ducky's well-roundedness is likely due to that. It is difficult to get flighted birds outside I have to say, but have you tried harnessing Minion?
Harness - Yep. That's not the issue. The issue is human laziness to get the bird, get the harness, get the carrier; stop the car, harness the Minion while everyone waits before they can open the door, etc. My husband will not have the patience; therefore, the Minion stays home.

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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:49 pm

i must admit i have found a difference in my birds since they are feathering out...my grey actually flies to my shoulder now as does my sun conure...they seem happier...i have clipped wings in the past and noticed a difference in temperament...perhaps it is a blow to their egos or a fear because they can no longer fly to defend themselves


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PostSubject: Re: My 'taming' experience with clipped vs. flighted Spice.   Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:07 pm

GlassOnion wrote:
I do appreciate everyone's responses and opinions because diversity what makes discussions interesting-- and that's yours too SnS. Smile

And yet again we see why this place is so aptly named.
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