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Household Dangers for Pet Birds - Injury Prevention

Birds can be amazing pets, but they do require a lot of care. Just like any other pet, parrots can get into trouble if their owners aren't careful. Some common dangers to birds can include other pets, toxin inhalation, and ceiling fans. To help keep your bird safe, make sure to get bird toys, that will keep them entertained and distracted, and safe natural cleaning materials for your home. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help ensure that your bird has a long and happy life.

Let's Talk About Toxins

Parrots are very susceptible to illness from inhaling toxins. Their respiratory systems are very sensitive, and they can easily become sick if they breathe in fumes from paint or other chemicals. Additionally, parrots lack the ability to process toxins in their liver, which means that the toxins can build up in their system and make them very ill. For these reasons, it is important to keep parrots away from any areas where there may be fumes or toxic chemicals.

Highly toxic items to avoid are:

  • Non-stick pan/fryer liners & non-stick pans with PTFE or PFOA Coating. The fumes emitted from non-stick pans can cause immediate death. Opt for a safer Stainless Steel, Copper, or Certified Free of PTFE/PFOA Pans.

  • Candles, Wall Plugins, or Essential Oils that have not been deemed "Bird Safe". Some Oils like Tea Tree and Eucalyptus are extremely toxic to parrots.

  • Do NOT use the "Self Clean" Function on any oven. There have been too many companion deaths from owners that didn't realize the self-clean function emits fumes similar to the non-stick pans, and had their entire flock pass within hours.

  • Air Fryers & Rice Cookers have the same risk as the non-stick pans due to the teflon coating. Make sure to contact the equipment manufacturer to verify that the materials used are safe for birds.

  • High VOC Paint emits toxic fumes that can poison your parrot very quickly. If you plan on painting your home's interior, it would be best to move your birds to a different room or floor and open the windows for adequate ventilation. Many brands, like Behr and Sherwin Williams, offer Zero-VOC or Low VOC which are much safer for pets. Ask your local paint store about their options.

  • Spray Air Fresheners & Hairsprays can contain chemicals that are not safe for inhalation. It is best to find natural solutions for room freshening such as cooking oranges, cloves or cinnamon. If you need to use hairspray, make sure the area is ventilated and the birds are not in the area.

  • Cleaning Sprays or Solutions can contain harmful chemicals and perfumes. Make sure when cleaning in and around your parrot's space you use a diluted vinegar water solution, natural plant-based cleaner, or a certified parrot safe brand.

"Hey Don't Chew on That!"

Birds are naturally curious and enjoy chewing on anything they can get their beaks around. It's important that anything within reach of their common spaces are parrot safe materials. Make sure there are no cords plugged in, or any important objects or collectibles that could sustain damage.

Common chewing injuries can be caused by:

  • Cords and cables are a favorite target. This can result in electrocution if they are plugged into a power source, or cause strangulation.

  • Paint ingestion is always a possibility when birds are free-flighted in the home. Numerous times I have found my budgies sitting on top of door frames and window sills chewing up the trim. If you live in an older home with lead paint, make sure that the birds are not allowed on or around the painted areas.

  • Rust Ingestion from worn or dated bird cages can lead to metal toxicity in your bird. Once you start seeing signs of rust on your cage, its either time to get a new one or it will need to be refinished. In order to refinish a cage you will need to have it professionally powder coated which can end up being more expensive than purchasing a new cage.

  • Broken or damaged bird toys, or bird toys containing bells are a common cause of injury in parrots. Make sure that you dispose of any accessories that have ended up with sharp edges that could lead to impalement or broken bells that could potentially cause beak injury. Additionally, any bird toys made from cotton rope should be monitored to make sure there are no loose threads that could lead to accidental strangulation.

Watch Where You're Flying!

Some parrots have a tendency to be clumsier than others. One of my Ringnecks once misjudged a hallway opening and flew straight into the wall, leading to a concussion and a birdie black eye. Luckily, he was rushed to the Avian ER and recovered quickly, but not all parrots are so lucky. While some incidents are unavoidable, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of collision injury and death.

Top Bird Collision Injury Factors:

  • Birds often mistake window panes for open space and can fly into them, sustaining serious injuries and occasionally death. It is recommended to use curtains or blinds to make a barrier apparent.

  • Large Mirrors can have a similar effect to windows, so it is best to remove any floor-length mirrors from your parrot's space.

  • Ceiling fans should be turned off when your birds are in the room to avoid an accident.

  • Closing doors too quickly leads to many bird foot and head injuries. Parrots are flock creatures and have a tendency to fly after their owners. Make sure to always check on the tops and bottoms of doors, cabinets, and windows before closing.

  • Most parrots are not nocturnal. Make sure that your birds are safe in their sleeping posts before turning out the lights for the evening.

Household Pets and the Danger to Birds

Dogs and cats are loveable common household pets, but they can pose a serious threat to your bird. Cats in particular are predators and birds are their natural prey. If you have a cat and a bird in the same house it is important to take precautions to make sure that the bird is safe. The best way to do this is to keep the bird in a room that the cat cannot access, or in a cage that is high enough off the ground that the cat cannot reach it.

Another danger to birds comes from dogs who like to chase and play roughly. Dogs can easily knock over a bird cage, injuring or even killing the bird inside. It is important to keep an eye on dogs around birds, and to prevent a dangerous situation from happening.

Tip: Skip the photoshoot

While you may think that your dog or cat is fine with your bird climbing or crawling on them, the situation can change in an instant. If the bird becomes startled and moves too suddenly, or bothers the animal the wrong way, it can trigger the natural prey drive in the dog or cat and lead to an unfortunate accident. While the photo opportunity may be cute, it's not worth risking your birds life.

Other Household Dangers for Parrots

  • Heat sources: Excessive heat or cold can be devastating for birds, so it's important to keep their environment at a comfortable temperature (between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Another thing to remember is that most parrots are used to humid environments, so it is best to keep a humidifier to prevent respiratory issues from dry air.

  • Mop Buckets and Toilets: Birds are attracted to water, so it is important to make sure that they do not have access to mop buckets, toilets, or any other large bodies of water. Unfortunately, many birds have drowned in these types of situations. If you must leave your bird unattended in a room with a mop bucket or toilet, make sure to put a secure lid on it.

  • Toxic Plants and Foods: There are many common household plants and foods that are poisonous to birds. Some of the most common include:

- Avocado

- Caffeine

- Chocolate

- Dairy products

- Fruit seeds

- Nightshade plants

- Onions

Make sure to research any plants or foods before offering them to your parrots

Is there anything we missed?

Our goal is to provide valuable education to all bird owners, so if there is anything not included in this article that you believe should be addressed, please add a comment in the section below.

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