GENERAL BIRD SAFETY
- By DeAnn Waggoner, Executive Director, Wings of Love
When it comes to bird safety, there is a mountain of information.
This page is not
designed to be a substitute for doing your own study.
On this page I will highlight
some of the most important things to remember concerning
keeping your bird safe.
Cigarette Smoke. Do not smoke, or allow others to smoke
around your bird. We
now know that tobacco smoke can kill humans, imagine what
it will do to our smaller
feathered friends. Even with ventilation, the smoke is
still harmful. Most of the time
you won't be able to tell that it is damaging your birds.
It happens over a long period
of time. For your bird's sake, just don't do it.
Teflon. This includes any non-stick cookware,
curling irons, portable heaters, irons
with non-stick plates, all Teflon baking utensils, and
even some hair dryers. The
fumes emitted from Teflon are deadly, both to humans and
animals. It is best to get
rid of any item that has this because sometimes we just
aren't careful enough. How
many times have you or someone in your house gone off
and left the iron or curling
iron plugged in? One too many. It takes only a few seconds
to produce these fumes
that will kill your bird. Please don't take this chance.
Toxic Foods. Yes, there are foods that are
poisonous to your birds. The most toxic
are chocolate, avocados, alcohol, caffeine and fruit pits.
Other food items that are
dangerous to your birds include sugar, salt, and greasy
foods. Be sure to keep all of
these items away from your birds reach.
Scented Items. Anything scented should send
a "red flag" to you for the safety of
your bird. Whether it is scented candles, potpourri, artificial
scented soap, strong perfume, do not use them around the
birds. Some people use
them, just keep them in a separate area of the home. I
feel the more you can
eliminate of these items the better off your bird will
be. There are some good
substitutes that can be used for these items. Good, pure
essential oils in minute
amounts can sometimes be used safely, although they can
still be dangerous. I use
baking powder with a few drops of either lavender or lemongrass
essential oil mixed
into it as a substitute for Carpet Fresh. I also sometimes
boil cloves or cinnamon on
the stove in a pan of water. This gives a very nice holiday
smell to your home.
Please use these with caution even though they are natural
oils. They can still be
Also included in this list is all chemicals and cleaning
supplies. If you can smell it, it
is most likely toxic to your bird. Try using white vinegar
as a basic cleaner. It is an
exception to the rule and is bird-safe even though it
does have a strong odor. There
are special cleaners you can purchase to clean your birds
cage with as well. One
good one is called NOVOSAN. I offer it for sale here.
Drafts. Birds should not be kept in drafty
areas all the time. They can have fresh air
when they are outdoors, but not on a continual basis such
as would be if their cage
were placed in front of a door or window. Allow fresh
air to enter the room from
another area that is not directly in front of the bird's
Doors and Windows. Be sure that you make certain that
the bird is not out of its
cage when opening a door or window. Fully flighted birds
can be out in seconds--
never to be seen again. If your birds wings are clipped,
they can still fly short
distances, and walk out or be crushed in the door or window
as it is being closed.
Always exercise extreme caution.
Lead. Lead poisoning is a very serious problem.
Most paints have some amount of
lead in them, so anything painted is poisonous to your
bird. Do not let your bird
chew on anything such as paint, costume jewelry, foil,
or linoleum. Even some
cages unfortunately have been known to have lead in the
paint. Be careful and do
your homework. Lead poisoning causes nervous system disorders
and seizures. It
isn't a pretty sight and is something that can be avoided.
Other Pets in the Home. Not only are smaller
birds at risk of being injured by
larger birds, having other animals in the home can be
even more dangerous. If you
own a dog or cat or any other animal, make sure that they
are never unsupervised
in the same room as the birds. Their saliva is toxic to
birds. Do not leave your bird
outside the house unsupervised as well. Any outdoor area
should have a covered
top and side protection with bars that are very small
so that no animal can touch
them. Even short amounts of time in an unsafe cage can
be potentially deadly if a
cat or dog is around. Don't chance it.
Deep Water Areas. Your bird needs a bath
often to keep his feathers in good
condition. However, too much water is very dangerous.
Once a bird's feathers get
saturated, he can't swim. Leaving a sink full of water,
or the toilet or washing
machine opened, is a danger. Make sure that anything with
water that is too deep
for them to stand in is covered at all times.
There are three very safe ways to allow your bird the
water time it needs: 1. Use a
spray bottle and mist your bird. 2. Take your bird into
the shower with you. 3. Set
up a "bird bath" in the sink with a shallow
bowl with only an inch or two of water.
Not all birds LOVE to bathe. Two to three times a week
is adequate unless you have
one that just loves it. After a bath, gently towel off
the excess water and avoid
putting him in a drafty area. It is best NOT to blow dry
the bird, but to let him use
his preening instincts to care for his feathers properly.
Electric Wires. Even for a bird that has
its wings clipped, there are many dangers
around the house. Electric wires are one of them. All
wires must be hidden and away
from reach to prevent the bird from being shocked.
Leg Bands. Leg bands are meant to help,
but many times they do more harm than
good. They can get caught in open wires, or on toys in
the cages. This has been fatal
in many instances when someone isn't around to release
it. Please be certain that all
wires, toys, perches, et cetera, do not have any thin
wires sticking out that the leg
band can get hooked on.
Toys. Toys can be a great hazard as well.
Be sure that the toys are the correct size
for the bird you give it to. Make certain that the bird
can't get its head caught in a
ring and strangle himself. Do not use baby toys with birds
unless you are certain
they are too hard for the bird to crack. IF you present
baby toys, be sure to do it
while you are supervising. Make sure that there are no
small pieces (such as
clappers on bells) on any of their toys. They can eventually
remove these and may
Drinking Water. Most people don't consider
drinking water a hazard, but it sure can
be. Be sure to give your bird drinking water that is safe
for human (and avian)
consumption. It is best to serve purified, boiled, distilled
or bottled water.I hope the above information has helped.
Please don't stop here. Read all you can
about bird safety so that you can offer the safest possible
environment for your