There are actually a lot of dangers out there in the “bird world.”
marts, pet stores, bathrooms, plants, fans, new ovens, candles...read
The most obvious household dangers are toilets,
boiling water and fans. Be careful whether your bird’s wings are clipped or
not. Clipped birds CAN fly and they fool their unsuspecting Parront all the
Most people thing that their bird’s wings
are clipped. I have heard so many times that "my bird can't fly and won't
leave me. He is clipped and goes straight down." Well, that bird can still
fly when fright or wind takes over. We knew a friend who had had his bird for many years and he
took that bird outside EVERY morning to have his morning coffee. One
morning, the bird (being caught on a draft) flew away. After a couple days,
they DID get him back. However, you can’t always be sure that you WILL get
them back. In other words, don’t take your birds outside or you may end up
with NO bird. If you want to take your bird outside…put it in a
The following precautions cover most household dangers to
companion birds. Please add any warnings specific to your home and print the
list for your bird sitter.
*FOODS that are toxic to parrots include avocado, guacamole, chocolate,
cocoa, alcohol, caffeine, the pits of apricots, peaches, plums, prunes, and
seeds of the cherimoya fruit, as well as foods containing large amounts of
salt, sugar, grease, preservatives, artificial coloring, and other
additives. Obvious dangers such as moldy foods and under-cooked or raw
meat should be avoided. Parrot food should be safe enough for human
Make sure you take any plant portions (green leaves)
off of eggplant and tomatoes.
*NUTS in the shell, such as English walnuts, should be
offered with caution. To minimize risk, do not offer whole hard-shell nuts
when birds are extremely hungry, nor without supervision. Concealed nuts in
the shell such as the "sock toy" can cause impaction.
Between the meat of the nut and the shell, molds and
fungus can grow, so we stay away from nuts in the shell.
*LITTER made of walnut shells or corn cobs can cause life-threatening
impaction if ingested by birds. It also harbors fungal spores when soiled or
wet. Newspaper is a safer litter material.
We buy compressed pine pellets at a feed store for
litter. These pellets are about the size of rabbit food pellets.
*WOOD SHAVINGS, specifically cedar and redwood, are toxic to birds and
should not be used in cages, aviaries, or nestboxes. Pine or aspen shavings
are safer nestbox substrate. We use Pine.
*KITCHENS, especially when cooking is in progress, are unsafe for birds.
The obvious hazards of open flames, hot ranges, open pots of hot food or
boiling water are as deadly as smoke or other toxic fumes, even from
dishwashers if a plastic item falls into a heating element during the dry
*PTFE treated products such as "Teflon" and other name brands of non-stick
cookware kill birds by releasing deadly, odorless gases when overheated.
PTFE is used in some space heaters, ranges, ovens,
stove-top burner bibs or liners, heat lamps, irons, griddles, bread makers,
woks, waffle makers, electric skillets, crock pots, corn poppers, coffee
makers, roasters, curling irons, hair dryers, and more. Check labels before
*SELF CLEANING OVENS use extremely high heat to burn off oven debris. During
that process, toxic fumes are emitted and they can harm or kill parrots.
*COOKING BAGS, especially those treated with PTFE, emit harmful fumes when
heated. Any substance that releases smoke and/or fumes when heated should be
avoided in homes with birds. It can be fatal.
*CAGES should be made of safe metal with non-toxic paint, no sharp points
that can cause injuries, proper spacing between cage bars to prevent
strangulation, and no empty cup holders. Birds have been injured or killed
by getting stuck in empty cup holders in cages. Use empty dishes or fill
them with toys or treats, but never leave empty cup holders in a cage.
Stainless Steel is the safest metal.
*GRIT is unnecessary and can cause impaction of the avian digestive system.
*HALOGEN LIGHT FIXTURES such as torchier-style floor lamps create extreme
heat and can kill birds that land on them. Choose only bird-safe light
fixtures for bird homes.
*METALS such as lead, zinc, copper, and iron can cause metal toxicities if
ingested by birds. Some sources are galvanized cage and aviary wire, house
keys, (especially gold colored keys), lead-based paints, metallic paints,
paints containing zinc, linoleum, vinyl mini-blinds, foil from champagne and
wine bottles, lead weights,
bells with lead clappers, stained glass, some improperly-glazed ceramics,
costume jewelry, mirror backing, copper pennies, zinc oxide, artist paints
containing cadmium, cardboard or paper with high gloss inks, and magnetic
*QUIK-STOP and other styptic products should never be applied to avian skin.
Styptic products are safe for bleeding toenails when broken or cut too
short, but they destroy skin. For broken or pulled blood feathers,
cornstarch or flour are safer. Aloe gel can be applied first to help the
flour or cornstarch to adhere to the wound and to help with pain and
*CATS, DOGS, FERRETS (and many other pets) are a danger to birds. The
slightest cat scratch can infect birds with Pasteurella bacteria and
immediate vet treatment is required to save the bird's life. Never allow
birds to interact with ANY pet without close supervision.
your parrot is injured by a cat, I would recommend quickly taking your
parrot to the vet for the bite transmits the bacterium Pastuerella to the
parrot which then translates into Pastuerella Septicemia and then to death.
The wound should be washed immediately (I would grab the Nolvasan) (Nolvasan
works well at killing most bacteria but not damaging tissue like Betadine
can do. Remember though, that Novalsan does not kill Polyoma). I would also
put an antibiotic ointment on the wound. This would include a wound caused
by a tooth or by a claw. I have read that 60-75% of normal house cats carry
this bacteria in their mouths. Fatal Septicemia works quickly against a
*PESTICIDE SPRAYS, NO-PEST STRIPS, AND FOGGERS poison the air and can kill
birds. Safer solutions are roach traps, ant bait, and other solid insect
poisons that can be safely secured in the back of
cabinets and other areas that are inaccessible to birds.
*FLEA COLLARS AND SPRAYS emit toxins and should not be used in bird homes.
The metal discs sold in pet stores to attach to cages for killing lice also
poison the bird's environment -- do NOT use them! Shampoos for lice also
contain dangerous toxins and should never be used on birds.
*STICKY PEST STRIPS for flying insects should always be enclosed in old
cages or other containers accessible to insects but out of the reach of
birds and other pets. Citrus oil or peanut butter can be used to safely
remove sticky substances from feathers.
*WING CLIPS should be checked on the first day of each month to prevent
flight-related accidents. Wing-clipped birds can often fly well enough to
escape so they should be protected by a flight suit/harness, leash, or
carrier when taken outside.
*TRANSPARENT AND REFLECTIVE SURFACES like glass windows doors, and mirrors
should be shown to flighted birds. Many birds can be trained to avoid large
expanses of glass by repeatedly holding the bird on your hand and imitating
flight toward the glass and then lightly pressing their beak, feet, and body
against the surfaces. Decals can be used as a visible reminder.
*CEILING FANS should not be used in homes with flighted birds. Other
household dangers to flighted birds are open windows and doors, hot pots
and stove burners, open containers of water (sinks, toilets,
tubs, boiling water), poisonous or thorny houseplants, electrical wires,
medication, insect bait traps, and many other toxic substances.
*TOYS, both new and used, should be cleaned and examined for loose parts
that could lodge in a bird's throat. Loose strings and threads can trap and
cut off circulation to necks, wings, legs, and toes. Use
only stainless steel (not zinc) "quick links" as toy fasteners and never use
strings, chains or ropes long enough to wrap around a birds' neck or other
body parts. Click here
for an article on the safety of your bird
*PRESSURE TREATED LUMBER, conventional plywood, and particle board contain a
variety of toxic substances. Untreated pine boards are a safer choice.
*HOUSEPLANTS and FERTILIZER including "fertilizer spikes" can poisonbirds so
they should be kept out of their reach. Some of the most common poisonous
houseplants are azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago
palm, yew plants, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), asparagus fern, daffodils,
flower bulbs, mistletoe, poinsettia, philodendron, and potato sprouts or
"eyes". Choose only non-poisonous plants for bird homes.
*CIGARETTES, CIGARS, PIPES, AND OTHER SMOKING SUBSTANCES should never be
used in air space shared by birds. Passive inhalation of smoke,
including smoke from burning incense, damages
the sensitive avian respiratory system, eyes and skin. Nicotine can settle
on perches and other cage surfaces and cause the self-mutilation of feet and
legs in sensitive birds, especially Amazon parrots.
*ESSENTIAL OILS and potpourri oils should never be used in the breathing
space of parrots. Perfume, hairspray, and other aerosolized grooming
products also can damage the avian respiratory system.
*AIR FRESHENERS which includes plug-ins and scented
sprays are considered unsafe. Bird deaths from using. To safely freshen the
air, simmer spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and citrus rinds.
*SCENTED CANDLES release toxins when burned, so only unscented candles
should be used in bird homes. (Protect birds from the open flame). Beeswax
candles are generally safe and unscented unless they
are imported and contain lead wicks (which are illegal and rarely used.)
*CARPET POWDERS AND SPRAYS such as Carpet Fresh, as well as similar
treatments for upholstery such as Febreze, often contain toxins which are
dispersed into the air when they are vacuumed so they should not be used in
bird homes. Carpets can be cleaned safely with solutions of water and baking
soda, vinegar, or Grapefruit Seed Extract.
*CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PRODUCTS like pine oil, ammonia, mold and mildew
cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaners, furniture polish, oven
cleaners, dishwasher detergents, furniture polish, car cleaning products,
and laundry products, including bleach, can irritate or burn the skin, eyes
and respiratory tract of birds when used in their air space. Spray starch is
also toxic to birds.
*HOME IMPROVEMENT PRODUCTS that
create fumes include fresh paint, new carpet, drapes, furniture and flooring
that uses toxic glues. The outgassing of toxic chemicals from new
solvents, adhesives, various finishes, and other building materials are
sometimes described as the "new smell" and can damage the sensitive avian
*MEDICATION and natural remedies containing tea tree oil, which contains the
oil of the melaleuca tree, as well as all over-the-counter medications
should be kept out of the reach of parrots.
*MOLD on food or in the air is dangerous to parrots.
Aspergillus mold can cause the deadly disease, aspergillosis. It can grow on
improperly handled and stored foods, especially grains such as corn.
Excessive moisture in bathrooms promotes the growth of various molds in
*CARBON MONOXIDE is an odorless, colorless,
tasteless gas produced by furnaces and other heaters. Birds in poorly
ventilated, heated areasare at high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It
robs the blood of
oxygen and can be particularly harmful to animals and humans with heart
ailments when inhaled at levels often found indoors.
CLEANED CLOTHING should be aired outside or in an airspace not shared by
birds until there is no remaining odor. The chemical "perc" (perchloroethylene)
causes cancer in lab animals.
*MOTHBALLS and moth-repellent cakes and crystals contain paradichlorobenzene,
which also is found in toilet disinfectants and in deodorizers, and it
causes cancer in lab animals.
*HUMAN SALIVA contains pathogens that are deadly to birds. Never allow a
bird to place its beak in your nose or mouth. Do not allow them to "clean
*CLEANLINESS is important to the prevention of bacterial infections. Wash
your hands frequently when working with birds and preparing their food
*DISEASE EXPOSURE should be avoided by quarantining all new birds from your
existing flock or companion birds for one to three months. Taking birds to
pet stores, bird fairs, swap shops and other bird
gatherings with birds can expose them to deadly diseases. It is safer to
have a friend or relative come into your home or keep your birds in their
home when you must be away from home for extended periods.
*EMERGENCY INFORMATION and instructions such as your vet's contact
information should be left with your bird's caregivers when you're away.
Warnings about potential emergencies and how to handle them
should be discussed before you leave.
The above list was
used with permission from
Carolyn@landofvos.com I added the words that are
in blue font above.
Two of the most dangerous things, as far as acquiring diseases, are Pet
Stores and Bird Marts. Carolyn Swicegood once told me that buying and
selling birds at bird marts was the equivalent of playing "Russian Roulette"
wih your flock. One very good “Parront” we know takes extra
clothes and shoes to Bird Marts. After the mart she goes to a fast food
place to change clothes and shoes. After that procedure, she washes her hair
in the sink. We choose another disinfecting procedure...we strip in the
garage and bag up our clothes before re-entering our house. Then, Mom throws
the clothes in the laundry machine and throws us in the shower. A study was
once done by Scott Lewis of “Old World Aviaries” were he went to a mart and
swabbed cages, birds, tabletops, etc. and all of them were infected. (Click here to see the
test) If you ever buy anything at a mart, soak it in bleach water and
then let it sit in the sun for a couple of days. However, don’t read me
wrong!! Bird Marts and Pet Stores aren’t the worst thing in the world! We go
to them and so can you. We just all have to make sure we do all we can to
prevent bringing home a disease along with that new toy.
The following list(s) are toxic and non-toxic plants....these are good
guidelines, but Pamperedpeeps Aviary is not to be held responsible.
One of the best lists I
have found on which branches are listed for their toxicity is at this link
http://www.mdvaden.com/bird_page.shtml , which is
within the landscape website
Jessamine (Yellow Jasmine)
Lantana Camara (Red Sage)
Yew to name a few
Acacia (some species)-Acacia
Aloe, peel away yellow green sap and outer skin
Bird’s Nest fern
Blood Leaf Plant
Brake, Ribbon, Dish
Cat Claw Vine
Cissus kangaroo Vine
Croton (house variety)
Elderberry (cooked ripe fruit)
Elephant foot tree
Gold Dust Dracaena
Hens and Chicks
Lily (Easter or Tiger)
Mayapple (fruit only)
Mother in Laws Tongue
Norfolk Island Pine
Pony tail Palm
Squirrel’s Foor Fern
String of Beads
Zebra Plant to name a few…more!
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