Cockatiel Advice and First Aid 101

Parrot Safety

All about keeping your parrot safe

Cockatiels

BIRD CHEWING YOUR NAILS

We handle our bird’s food, water, toys and them every day and as adults we know to wash our hands regularly but what about ladies with long nails? Do you know there are bacteria under your nails called Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause terrible skin rashes, abscesses and boils. Many people allow their birds to pick at their nails or even dig the dirt from under their nails.

There are tens of thousands of bacteria under nails please make sure that you give your nails a good scrub as well as your hands before handling your birds.

BIRD WINDOW STRIKE

(This additional article was written by Katie Madison)

If this happens, and you see one of your beloved birds fly head long into a glass panel, and drop to the floor, here is what to do:

1.) DO NOT PANIC! Remain as calm as possible. If you scream and start panicking, you are telling an already startled (and possibly injured bird) there is something to be frightened of and making them want to flee/attempt to take flight.

2.) Approach your bird calmly and with your hand beside them, give them the step-up command. You are acting completely normally, and this will help them to start to calm down.

a) If they able to step up, this is a good sign. In addition, it is a way to observe them. They heard you and were able to respond. How are they standing? How are they holding their wings, tail, and head? Are they balancing well? Are there any signs of bleeding that need to be attended to? Are their eyes normal? If your bird appears to not need immediate veterinary care, place them back in their cage, and observe them carefully. Allowing for a period of shock and quiet, are they perching okay, and going about normal activities as they normally would? As there are no signs of external injury that need attention, you are looking for neurological damage. This could be evidenced with something as simple as changing to being right-footed when using toys/tools.

b) If when you approach them, it is obvious that they cannot step up, or they are knocked out, pick them up gently. The avian vet needs to be contacted immediately and told that you are on your way, asking for any appropriate first aid advice.

Keep talking calmly to your bird, which will help them to calm and may bring them round. If they are unconscious, note how long this is for. Gently examine them if you are able, checking for broken wings/ legs/neck damage/broken beak. Stem any bleeding. Use your first aid kit to splint any breakages and a towel to wrap them, for warmth and to restrict movements of damaged limbs (this is very difficult to do with your hands alone). Keeping them warm and calm is of the utmost importance. If you live alone with your bird, contact your emergency person, who will contact the vet for you and assist you in getting your parrot to the vets.

3.) Once your bird is safe and well, attend to glass panel safety procedures (such as window clings) to prevent a recurrence.

 

BIRDS AND ARTIFICAL GRASS

More and more people for some reason are putting artificial or imitation grass on bottom of cages and play stations, please NEVER use this stuff, the parrots can choke to death on this plastic, it also impacts crops not to mention it is made from TOXIC paints and glues, plastic is made with petrochemicals which is another toxin.

With all that said using this artificial grass harbours bacteria too , there is no place for this stuff in any cages and that goes for ALL small animal cages too such and hamsters , mice etc. , it is toxic to all small animals.

You can buy natural grasses that they can actually eat from good pet stores, the only thing you need to line cages either newspaper made with soy ink or plain butcher paper.

 

BIRDS AND ESSENTIAL OILS

The vast majority of essential oils are toxic to parrots, so it is not recommended you use them around birds. One essential oil in particular is tea tree oil which is highly toxic to birds and even when highly diluted can be fatal. Please always double check with you avian vet before you give or use any essential oils around your pets.

Please remember when buying products for your home, often they may state that they are "animal safe" but because of how highly senstitve a birds respiratory system is , what may be deemed animal safe is not always "bird safe."

 

BIRDS AND INFRARED BULBS

Please NEVER use infrared heat bulbs near your birds these are often TEFLON COATED and therefore highly toxic. Knowing which bulbs are coated or which aren’t is virtually impossible. These bulbs get extremely hot and can burn your bird’s skin and eyes! Please ONLY ever use heat bulbs that are designed for avian use.

Please always ensure you read manufactures guidelines on how to use heat lamps correctly, not following the instructions may lead to injuries.

BIRDS AND OVERHEATED OIL

Many birds have died suddenly from the fumes of overheated oil, so never allow parrots in the kitchen while cooking. Keep vents open or extractor fan on while cooking.

BIRDS AND STANDING WATER

Parrots should never have access to standing water, so many have drowned this way.Clipped parrots especially aren't as balanced or agile as flighted parrots and can easily slip into standing water.

  • Toilet bowls- always make sure the lid remains down.
  • Pools and Jacuzzis - make sure pools have a net and Jacuzzis covered if your parrot can have access to them.
  • Dog bowls - can't tell you how many stories I've heard of parrots especially small ones like budgies drowning in dog and cat bowls.
  • Fish tanks - must always have a lid on it.
  • Drinking glasses - This is another tragic way so many parrots especially smaller ones have drowned in half empty drinking glasses. Imagine walking away for a sec coming back and seeing your bird dead in your drink. You can buy glass covers a lot of parents buy them when drinking alcohol so that toddlers don't take cheeky sip thinking is a soft drink.
  • Water in kitchen sinks - Parrots shouldn't be allowed in the kitchen unsupervised, Period.

CAT SALIVA AND BIRDS

Cats carry bacteria in their mouth called Pasteurella bacteria that is a deadly to birds. If a cat even nicks a bird with its tooth and breaks the skin it's lethal to the bird if the bird isn't rushed to the vet immediately. That said it's not guaranteed the bird will survive and most die within 24hrs.

Please keep cats and birds separated as accidents can happen in the blink of an eye!

COOKWARE SAFE FOR BIRDS

When parrots become part of the family, there are certain household items bird owners should no longer use. This is because they are toxic for our birds.

Non-stick cookware is one those items that are toxic to use around parrots. When overheated the non-stick coating breaks down and lets off caustic (acid) fumes, and its lethal to birds. Non-stick means Teflon. As a rule of thumb for parrot owners, the word non-stick should always ring alarm bells, and all items containing Teflon should never be used in the home.

These days there are thousands of products that use Teflon. A few examples are: non-stick irons, ironing board covers, pots, pans, cookie sheets, oven drip pans, woks, coffee makers, popcorn machines, bread makers, space heaters, hair dryers…..

The list is endless! So whenever you looking to buy cookware or any household appliance, you have to be certain that the products are PTFE and PFOA FREE.

So what exactly does PTFE and PFOA mean? PTFE is the non-stick coating and PFOA is a petroleum-based product which is a carcinogenic chemical used to bond the non-stick coating to the pot or pan.

So what cookware then is SAFE to use? Here is a list:

  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Glass
  • Cast iron
  • Copper-clad stainless steel
  • Ceramic (some ceramic products do have non-stick coating, so read the box)

FLEA SPRAYS AND COLLARS

Flea collars and sprays that owners use on their dogs and cats are highly toxic to birds and they give off toxins. They should never be used in a home with parrots. Lice and flea shampoos that owners wash their dogs with should NEVER be used on parrots, they're highly toxic to birds.

HOW TO HELP YOUR BIRDS ON FIREWORKS NIGHT

  • Make sure someone is home with your pets! They will find comfort with a family member being there. If there was an emergency someone would be able to deal with it immediately!
  • Don’t have your birds out their cage once the fireworks start! A sudden bang can lead to injury with your pet flying into walls , windows, ornaments etc (this includes clipped birds)
  • Get your birds ready for the evening early! Clean cages and give fresh food and water in good time, so you can return birds to their cages before the fireworks start! Cover cages on 3 sides leaving one side uncovered. This gives a sense of security. It also help to prevent night frights , especially for birds such as cockatiels!
  • Leave a night light on for your birds once you put them to bed.
  • Move bird cages away from windows, this helps reduce the noise and prevents your birds seeing flashing lights.
  • Close all windows to reduce noise and prevent toxic smoke coming into the home. Close the curtains and blinds.
  • Close bedroom doors, you’ll be surprised how much more noise a closed door can drown out even with windows closed!
  • Play music or have a television on to drown out the noise.
  • Comfort your birds if they on edge by softy speaking or whistling to them - reassuring them.
  • BEHAVE NORMALLY! This is the most important tip ! Birds and other animals will feel YOUR anxiety! If you are completely relaxed , as if what is happening outside is totally normal, that in itself will relax your birds. Get on with your evening as you would do any other night!

METAL ZIPPERS

One very bad habit some parrot owners have, is allowing their birds to pull up and down the zippers on their clothing. When I first became a bird owner, I was guilty of this myself, as I was not aware of the dangers.

Zippers are made of different types of metal and many contains zinc and other heavy metals. Therefore, allowing parrots to play with such items, places them at risk of heavy metal poisoning. Of course, heavy metal poisoning can be fatal.

Not only can zippers cause heavy metal poisoning, many parrots have got their tongue stuck in the zipper. When a parrot’s tongue bleeds, it bleeds profusely; stopping the bleeding without immediate medical attention, is often near impossible. A bird can bleed to death in a very short period of time.
So, in a nutshell, keep your birds away from zippers, instead, give them something safe to play with to keep them occupied.
 

MITE DISCS FOR PARROTS ARE DANGEROUS

Many pet stores sell mite discs that hang on cages, these are supposed to kill mites. These discs seldom kill the mites, but they may definitely kill your bird!! They are highly toxic especially if ingested and should never ever see the inside of your home, let alone a parrot cage. PLEASE NEVER EVER BUY THEM!

If you suspect that your bird has mites have a vet check. The vet will be able to prescribe the correct and safe medication to use on the bird!

AUTHOURS NOTE: Many people buy over the counter mite sprays. Please note that most of these sprays are NOT FDA approved, they are weaker than prescription medication and doses are often not accurate. Birds on over the counter medications are either under-dosed or over-dosed. Save yourself a lot of money and time and see your vet.

NEW STOVE AND TOXIC FUMES

New stoves/ovens give off toxic fumes that CAN KILL your bird, these fumes can be given off for a week or longer! Local dealers often allow customers to run their stoves in their stores first for a few days to burn off the insulation binder that gives off these toxic fumes. You may pay a little extra for this service but it’s worth it to keep your birds safe.

Self-cleaning ovens also give off toxic fumes that can kill birds.

PARROT EMERGENCY SUITCASE

It's really important to always have a suitcase ready for your parrots, in case of an emergency or for anytime you take your parrot out the house. A simple trip to a vet can turn into a nightmare if you get stuck in traffic or something happens when you go out and need something in an emergency.

So here are a few items you can keep in your parrot’s suitcase ready to go...

  • Bottled water
  • A spray bottle in case you stuck somewhere and its hot you don't want your parrot overheating.
  • Paper towels
  • A soft hand towel, in case you have to restrain your bird
  • Seed/ pellets , stick treat - kept in air tight container (at least a weeks’ worth of food , in case of evacuation emergency)
  • Canned fruit with pop-top lid , (unsweetened) for quick sugar rush in case of an injury or ill bird  this is for emergency only , please don't give your parrots canned fruit only ever fresh , it is full of preservatives.
  • A little bottle of grapefruit seed extracts to quickly disinfect anything you'll use near your bird or your hands, one drop per ounce!
  • A Perch - just in case
  • Toys
  • Clean newspaper
  • A bird first aid kit
  • A note pad with all emergency numbers for your parrots, so for example your vet’s number numbers of a relative in case they need to pick up your parrots in an emergency!

PARROT ESCAPE

(This additional article was written by Katie Madison)

The best way to be prepared is to take preventative measures. Family members need to tell each other if they open the parrot cage, open a window, and leave a door open and so on. If your lifestyle and climate mean spending time outside with Polly, harness training or an outdoor cage will help to avoid disasters. However, the same as every household has evacuation plans in place should a fire happen, it is best to have plans and items in place for the potential of Polly escaping. Preparation will save valuable time and help you to remain calm.

IN ADVANCE:

  • Prepare and print out lost posters, including up to date pictures. These can be placed on lampposts, in local shop windows, school gate notice boards and so on. Delegate someone to do this for you in case of emergency, and whilst doing so, to notify neighbours and ask them to be alert
  • Make sure you have a record of ring number, if one is in place
  • If possible, teach Polly a simplified version of your name and address
  • Have a printed list of websites to place notifications on, vets, rescue centres and perhaps local radio. Trust a copy of the list to a friend/family member who can reliably do this for you.

IN THE MOMENT:

  • Place the cage outside with the door open. Place other flock members' cage where they can call to Polly. Some parrot calls can be heard up to a mile away, your voice won't. If this is not possible, a recording can also work
  • The human Polly is most attached to should keep their eyes on Polly and call, whilst following in same direction, if possible
  • Try to remain calm. If you, as Polly's favourite flock member, are shouting in a distressed frightened tone, you are in effect warning Polly to flee from danger
  • It is noted that twilight can be a particularly good time to coax Polly out of the tree she is refusing to leave
  • Do not allow anyone, no matter how persuasive, to volunteer to knock Polly out of the tree/off the roof top for you with some sort of object
  • Don't give up. Many have had Polly returned after several months.

AUTHOURS NOTE: there are still forums/groups that advise clipping to prevent escape. Clipping does NOT stop escape/flight, and can make family members more complacent about open doors etc.

PARROT HOUSEHOLD DANGERS

CHEMICALS:

GOLDEN RULE - "IF YOU CAN SMELL IT ASSUME IT IS TOXIC AND CAN KILL YOUR BIRD."
It is not recommended to use chemicals of any kind in a home with birds, to have these beautiful creatures there are sacrifices one has to make for the safety and well-being of the parrot.

HOW CHEMICALS EFFECT PARROTS
Unlike humans, parrots do not have expanding lungs, instead they have air sacs. Any poisons they inhale such as chemicals they can NOT filter out of their bodies! Owners need to adopt a new way of living once parrots become part of their lives. Certain changes need to be made around the home to accommodate these birds. Such as house hold cleaners, use of Teflon, air fresheners, candles, perfume etc. Cannot be used in the home, instead research needs to be done on natural SAFE cleaning alternatives.

Never smoke around birds, smoking is highly toxic to birds and lets off around 4000 chemicals into your parrot's body.

Please note that burning candles in a home is not only toxic to birds, it removes oxygen from the air and can kill parrots in the process! A parrot's respiratory system is much faster than humans, so they need to take in a lot more oxygen!

 

PARROTS AND CHEMICALS

The golden rule of thumb …. IF YOU CAN SMELL IT, THEN ASSUME IT IS TOXIC TO PARROTS! Please never use any kind of chemicals in a home with birds present. Birds have externally sensitive respiratory systems and chemical fumes are highly toxic to them. Many people may think if the chemical is not being used in the same room as the bird, then it’s safe to use? NO, it is still not safe, because fumes travel and can still be fatal to the bird.

 

CEILING FANS

Ceiling fans should always be turned off before your parrot is let out of its cage, one whoosh of the spinning blade can kill your bird. Small parrots like budgies and cockatiels for example have been known to be decapitated this way. Even if the fan is on a low setting, it can still badly injure your bird.

Ceiling fans can cause birds to be in a CONSTANT state of stress. They should not be house in the same room if a ceiling fan is present, either it should be never turned on or removed completely. The motion of the blades instinctively tells the parrots that there is a bird of prey above them, such as a hawk.

COINS

Coins and money are extremely dirty and full of bacteria, which can make parrots very sick if chewed on. Pennies also contain zinc which is toxic to birds and they can get zinc poisoning from chewing on them .Newer pennies are made mostly out of zinc.

SCENTED PAPER

Scented toilet paper, tissues and paper towels contain fragrances and chemicals which are toxic, please never give them to your birds!

The same applies to puppy pads, many people use puppy pads as cage liners, these are often scented, have urine changing dyes etc which are toxic to birds. Parrots can also ingest the plastic lining, which can cause death!

DENTURE CLEANER

Many people use denture cleaner and often leave a glass of it near a bedside or in a bathroom. Denture is highly toxic to parrots if ingested. It contains sodium perborate which causes salivation, vomiting, irritation and depression on the central nervous system to name a few symptoms if consumed. This should be kept away for ALL pets.  

GIVING YOUR BIRD EDIBLE PLANTS

Many people give their parrot’s safe edible plants, this is fine as long as you have grown it yourself or 100% certain it’s pesticide free!

It is NEVER recommended to buy edible plants from florists, nurseries, shops, garden centres or pick from the side of the road as these establishments usually always spray plants! Many birds have died from pesticides on plants.

PARROT LEATHER TOYS

(This is additional article was written by Katie Madison)

Leather strips can be a great safe alternative for toy construction and attaching items to the cage.

It is important to ensure the leather you buy has been 'tanned' using vegetable processes. Tanning hides to make them leather originally involved using dried OAK bark which was soaked to release the TAN from the bark and this then converts the hide when it is soaked for several weeks/months in the TAN. This is the origin of the expression 'tanning the hide'.

Oak is poisonous to parrots. The product must state ONLY VEGETABLE TANNING PROCESSES USED and NO OAK BARK USED. Some companies may state they use a vegetable tanning process when referring to a mix that includes oak.

PARROT PLAYING IN LAUNDRY

There have been so many cases where people have allowed their birds to play in washing hampers and the washing machine drum itself. Please never ever get your bird into this habit so many birds have been accidentally thrown in with the laundry. Bits of laundry detergents are always present in the drum and of course highly toxic to parrots this is another reason why parrots should not be allowed to play in the machine!

PARROT TOY RING SAFELY

Toy rings very popular, but PLEASE be very careful on the size of the rings to the size of your parrots head. Parrots have strangled themselves to death sticking their heads through rings too small for their size head.

A lady messaged me in a panic that her macaw had his head half stuck in a ring toy and they couldn’t get it off. I told her to towel the bird and then cover its head to calm it. Luckily it was made of rope so they were able to cut it off quickly! She then took the bird to the vet for an examination and besides some bruising it was fine. She was lucky she was home at the time of the accident or it could have been fatal. So please ensure the ring toys are at least twice the size of your bird’s head.

PARROT TOY SAFETY

(This additional article was written by Katie Madison)

  • DO choose a variety of toys of different types at first, until you are sure of your own parrot's preferences. Include items that make them climb, forage, swing, hang upside down....toys are for keeping busy beaks and minds occupied AND exercise.
  • DO have enough toys to rotate on a regular basis. Your bird will show you how often to give them something new.
  • DO offer only a few toys at a time so as not to overwhelm and clutter their cage.
  • DO regularly check over the toys for safety, loose threads/splinters and so on. Each time they are cleaned is a good time for a thorough check over, and a quick check when putting in the cage.
  • DO source safe toys from a reputable retailer, trying to use those recommended by people you trust.
  • DO check the new toy when it first arrives to ensure it is safe, rather than take the manufacturer's word for it. Check for hidden plastic wire, toxic metal holding it together, gaps big enough to get feet/beaks trapped and so on.
  • DO recycle toy parts if at all possible, removing damaged/well chewed parts that could cause injury and harbour bacteria. This stock of toy parts can then be used to make new creations.
  • DO be prepared the more expensive the toy, the higher the likelihood they will hate it! Often, brightly coloured toys are made that way to appeal to the owners but frighten birds.

PARROTS AND BABY TOYS

Baby toys are usually safe for your parrot, please make sure that it is size-appropriate for your birds and only use hard plastic toys that don't crack or break when they bite on it.

Make sure they do not contain PVC and silicone, many baby toys are made with silicone and silicone is TOXIC to parrots and so is soft PVC.

PARROTS AND DRY CLEANING

Yes you read correctly, parrots and dry cleaning don’t mix! When you pick up your dry cleaning remember to air it out before you bring it into the same air space as your birds. This is because the dry cleaning process uses a chemical solvent called “Perc” (Perchloroethlene) this chemical is toxic to birds and has been reported to cause cancer in lab animals.

PARROTS AND EARTHQUAKES

Birds are extremely sensitive to vibrations and many natural disasters are predicted by birds long before they arrive, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis etc.  So during an earthquake how do you keep your pet parrots safe?

Ways in which you can prepare for an earthquake if you have had earthquake warnings prior to the event:

  • Remove ALL toys from your bird’s cage. If you would prefer not to remove hanging toys, then secure them well against the cage bars so they are not swinging and hitting your bird.
  • Remove all bird swings.
  • Keep perches low in-case your birds fall.
  • Line the cages with soft towels or buy child soft mats and then cover over with normal paper lining.
  • DO NOT STACK CAGES!!
  • Do not place the cage in an area where furniture or ornaments can fall on the cage.
  • Keep birds in their cages!! This is the safest place for them to be. When outside the cage and in a traumatised state, they will NOT behave like a tamed bird. The sweet bird that usual comes to you on demand will not pay your instructions any attention and they may fly wildly around the room with only survival on their minds.
  • Find shelter for yourselves and try comfort your birds by calling and speaking to them the whole time.
  • Hanging cage should be removed from their stands and placed somewhere secure and cages on wheels should be placed somewhere secure so that they don’t slide around the room.
  • As soon as the earthquake has stopped check immediately for injuries.

If an earthquake happens unexpectedly:

If the bird is out the cage, try catch it immediately to place it in its cage. Having a towel on hand next to cages in countries that are prone to earthquakes is very important, owners then can catch their birds in a towel quickly if needs be.

Keep reassuring the bird in its cage and as soon as the earthquake has stopped check immediately for injuries.

PARROTS AND HOUSE FIRES

Parrots have extremely sensitive respiratory systems and are particularly susceptible to smoke inhalation. They can die from inhaling only small amounts. When there is a house fire the bird will not only be breathing in carbon monoxide but other toxins too such as cyanide fumes from certain foam furniture’s etc. It is extremely important that when a fire starts anywhere in the home pet birds must be removed immediately.

When a fire breaks out there is limited time to place birds in their travel cages, especially if you have a large flock. A friend of mine shared a tip with me years ago which she had found on a website called (Birdtricksstore.com, run by Dave and Jamieleigh Womach) The author gave the advice to place the number of 'cotton' pillow cases and elastic bands, in relation to the number of birds you own in a zip lock bag in case of an emergency fire evacuation. In an emergency, you can quickly slip the pillow case over your hand like a glove and catch the bird, tying the top with an elastic band. (The entire bird must be completely inside the pillow case, please do not tie the band around the birds neck.) The birds will still be able to breath as the pillow case is made of cotton but the smoke inhalation will be minimal. You are also able to carry multiple birds this way and get them out the home fast.

It is very important that parrots are only retuned to the home once all traces of smoke have gone. If the birds have survived the fire and smoke inhalation they may still develop respiratory problems and other health concerns. That is why it is imperative that birds subjected to any amount of smoke are examined by a vet immediately. (This advice is also recommended with chip-pan fires)

PARROTS AND SMALL ANIMALS

It is recommended that dogs and cats should be kept separate from our parrots for the obvious reason that they are predators and birds are prey , but what about small animals?

There are a lot of people that house or at least let other small animals like rabbits, Guinean pigs, lizards, tortoises etc play with their birds. PLEASE DON’T mix small animal and birds. Tortoises carry salmonella and so do other reptiles that can easily be passed onto birds.

Rabbits can often carry Pasteurella which can be passed onto parrots.

Small animals and parrots carry different forms of bacteria that can be passed onto each other. Washing hands between handling pets is very important to prevent the spread of bacteria between species.

A bite from a rodent can cause terrible injuries to birds.

 

PARROTS AND STUFFED TOYS

Many people give parrot chicks a teddy-bear to keep them warm and for security, this is one thing as chicks don’t chew on the stuffed toys but please DON’T give adult parrot’s stuffed toys.

There is a lot of dust that settles on stuffed toys that can contribute to respiratory infections, the parrots can develop impacted crops from the fluff and thread that comes off them and large parrots have been known to choke to death on the stuffing inside the toy as many are able to rip them to pieces.

Many older style teddies have pins or screws that the eyes are attached to if the parrot pulled off the eyes they can receive some terrible injuries.

PARROTS CHEWING DOG TOYS

Parrots may find dog and cat toys very inviting to chew on , but because they contain dog/ cat saliva the bacteria on these toys from their saliva can be very dangerous and life threatening to our parrots. So before your parrots play on the floor, remove all other pet toys.

PARROTS CHEWING FURNITURE

Parrots love to chew on furniture, some furniture is made from cedar and cherry, both are toxic to parrots. The varnish that the furniture is coated with is highly toxic to parrots, to overcome this use thick PVC to protect the legs of tables and chairs or simply train your parrot that furniture is off limits!

PARROTS EATING BUGS

In the wild birds eat insects so no wonder they will eat some in homes too, with this in mind, make sure they do not eat bees , wasps or hornets because the stingers will kill your bird. Never use bug spray in your home, this is highly toxic to parrots. If your parrot eats a dead bug killed with bug spray it too with die! Use newspaper or a swatter to kill insects instead.

PARROTS IN BATHROOMS

A bathroom is not a place where you want parrots to hang out, there are billions of bacteria in every square inch of a bathroom not to mention all the dangers like soaps, cosmetics, medications and chemicals that are all toxic to birds. Other dangers such as open toilets and filled baths a parrot can easily drown. Parrots are extremely intelligent and it will not take long especially for larger parrots to figure out how to open cabinets or bite through a plastic pill bottle!

People often think that because their bathrooms are cleaned regularly it should be fine, well unless one cleans their entire bathroom after every use there will be bacteria lurking everywhere that can make birds very sick.

People may also use the excuse that they have been doing it for years and their parrot has never got sick. Well then they have been lucky because all it takes is for the parrot’s immune system to be compromised just slightly from stress or illness for example and their bird’s body will not be able to fight these bacteria.

Parrots chew everything just like a toddler they use their mouths to explore. Would anyone in their right mind allow a toddler to lick a toilet seat or any other bathroom surfaces? I think not, so why then allow a parrot whose immune system is so much less inferior to ours do it?

Vets do not recommend bathrooms to be used for sick parrots either, with their immune system already weak a bathroom full of bacteria will only worsen the situation.

 

PARROTS IN THE SUMMER

Summer is a wonderful time for our birds to get a bit of fresh air and sunlight especially when living in a country like the UK where summer days are few and far between, but when it’s really hot how do we keep them cool? Here are a few tips that may help you.

  • Mist with cool NOT cold water.
  • You can supply a fan, ensure free flying birds cannot get caught in the blades, so buy fans that your birds are well protected from the blades.
  • Please NEVER use ceiling fans when you have free flying birds, so many have lost limbs and been decapitated this way!
  • DO NOT spray your birds with water and then put a fan directly on them, this will bring down their body temperature way too quickly and can also make your birds sick. If you want to supply a fan ensure the fan is not pointing directly at your birds, but facing away from them towards a wall or an opposite direction.
  • Never put your birds in a door way or anywhere else they can be in a draft, constant change in temperature can make them very sick.
  • Supply your bird with cool (NOT Cold water)
  • If your birds are outside ensure they have access to a good amount of shade and have water available at all times !
  • If your bird is over heating or suffering from heat stroke, you’ll know this by your bird panting and holding its wings away from its body, put your bird in the coolest part of the home. Mist with cool water , you can also take a cool sponge and dab your bird under the wings ,this will cool them down .If your bird does not recover and resume normal activity get your bird to an avian vet immediately to check for signs of brain or organ damage!
  • You can put your bird in an air conditioned room but ensure your bird is then not wet or directly underneath or in front of the air conditioner.

PARROTS SITTING ON TOP OF DOORS

It’s never a good idea to encourage birds to sit on top of doors, so many accidents have happened this way. Birds have had toes, feet, wings and heads severed completely off by accident by their owners (in particular active children) not realising the bird is sitting on top of the door and slammed the door shut or simply the wind or strong draft has shut the door. Please discourage your birds from sitting on door tops it’s just not worth the risk.

PARROTS SEASONAL SAFETY (CHRISTMAS)

(This additional article was written by Katie Madison)

This season can be particularly busy with many extra visitors and activities that can be hazardous for your parrot. Please consider the following in your plans.

  • Parrots can find lots of extra people and noise frightening and distressing. If possible, move them to a quieter room
  • Not all visitors will be as parrot aware as you and your family; free flying birds can easily escape, parrots that tend to walk on the floor can be easily missed and trodden on. Safely locked in their cage is best
  • Alcohol, chocolate, mistletoe, ivy, holly and poinsettias are poisonous
  • Many visitors may arrive with strong perfumes/aftershaves and parrots need to be kept away from these strong scents
  • Pine needles can be harmful to your bird as many trees are sprayed with fertilizers, insecticides and other substances
  • Fake snow is toxic and old inherited decorations can contain lead
  • Fairy light/decorative light cables can be irresistible to some parrots, and can prove fatal
  • Gift wrapping, sticky tape, and tinsel are choking hazards

PET FOOD AND PARROTS

CAN I FEED MY BIRD DOG KIBBLE?

The main reason why parrots shouldn’t eat cat and dog food is because the food chemicals used in pet food are added in proportion to the size of the animal, in which case can poison a parrot. There is also no way to know which chemicals in pet food can cause an allergic reaction in parrots.

Cat and dog food often contain substances that supress gram negative bacteria and these chemicals shouldn’t be ever fed to birds.

The nutritional values of dog and cat food are completely different to what a parrots body needs .Kibble for example are very hard and not designed for birds, when crushed they can break into large chunks which a bird can easily choke to death on .Mould can often be found in large bags of dog food especially getting towards the end of the bag that can be toxic to the bird.

 

PLAYING NATURE SOUNDS

Many people play sounds of nature for their birds, or leave nature programs on for their birds when they are left home alone. This is not a good idea. We have no clue what calls mean what in the bird world, or what type of birds are signing or calling! Some sounds maybe that of predator birds such as hawks and Eagles. Avian professionals warn owners NOT to do this as so many birds have gone into a state of panic when hearing various calls. Many birds have died either by shock or by flying frantically around a cage or room, OR the birds just being left in a state of stress and fear!

It is recommended that instead of nature sounds to play classical or instrumental music , or just a good radio station is appreciated.

POPCORN BAG WARNING.

Owners often buy microwavable popcorn to share with their birds. The lining of popcorn bags contains PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) when heated it gives off toxic chemicals as used on non-stick cookware etc. Please NEVER use these bags in your home with parrots! Instead make your own homemade popcorn.

SAFE HABITS AND BIRDS

 (This additional article was written by Katie Madison)

You are bringing home a flying miniature toddler! Give some considered thought to developing simple habits that will avoid many accidents. Here are some examples:

·DOORS- Lock external door and shut bathroom and bird room doors. Locked external door allows time to think where the birds are before it is opened. The dangers of the bathroom are out of bounds. Many accidents occur when a parrot sits on top of a door. Someone doesn’t see them and shuts the door. When leaving my bird’s room, the closed door makes me stop and think are the birds safe? I always close the door behind me, because on occasion a bird WILL get out of what you thought was a safely locked cage. If everyone in a house gets into this habit, it can avoid your parrot being let to fly free downstairs, and doors are left open upstairs, with access to a full hot bath or an open window.

·OPEN AND CLOSED WINDOWS -Keeping them locked stops you long enough to check first if the birds are safe. No one opens a window before checking where the birds are and if it is safe to do so. Before birds are released from cages, doors and windows are checked.

·FLOOR/SOFA SEAT WALKING - I do not encourage my birds to play/explore anything below my sitting eye line. I made this decision because they are very small, and I am very big relatively, being trodden on by me would be fatal and I am unsteady on my feet. Birds rarely survive being trodden on. I do not allow them on the seats, so they cannot accidently be sat on.

AUTHORS NOTE: When visitors are in my home, my birds are not allowed out for the reasons covered. I cannot expect them to have the same bird safety awareness.

 

SLEEPING WITH YOUR PARROT

It is never recommended to sleep with a bird, so many birds have been killed this way by their owners rolling on top of them and suffocating them either with their own bodies or with a pillow/ blanket. Some birds have suffocated by being tangled up in bed linen. The only safe place for a parrot to sleep is in their cage at night with their cage door closed.

STYROFOAM

Styrofoam containers or styrofoam packaging.

Styrofoam is DEADLY to birds. It can’t be broken down in the stomach causing blockage and it creates a static mass in the bird’s throat and mouth! Please never ever give your birds any cups, plates or anything made of this stuff!

A cockatiel

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