We don’t want to offend anyone or critique the way they are raising their feathered kid. We just want to warn you about the potential mistakes that may do. Of course, it may not be on purpose, but not everyone is properly informed, and this information can save your parrot’s life. Please share this with friends that own a parrot. It’s really crucial information that every parront should know. This article consists of things that you’re likely doing and not be aware that they are dangerous. We won’t mention any obvious things like harming your parrot, not giving him enough attention and toys, not having enough food, giving him the wrong kiunds etc. that will surely kill your parrot. Maybe in another future article. For now, just the things that you may not know that can potentially kill your fid.
Using the wrong kind of bowls and dishes
Plastic harbors more bacteria then stainless steel and common plastic food bowls are bacterial heaven. Especially so if the bowl has corners. So if the bowl is flat on one side, it has at least two corners. The corners are the best place for bacteria to collect. They are hard to get to when cleaning, which makes it even more difficult to stay away from the bacteria. It doesn’t even matter what kind of food you use, even dry food collects bacteria. Even (especially) water. Plastic bowls and bowls with corners are not recommended.
So how do you fix this?
- Buy rounded stainless steel bowls. They are not that expensive and they are worth every penny. They are easier to clean too. You can get them from Amazon and most orders have free shipping. For a specific product, we recommend the bowls from Living World. We use them in all of our cages.
- Thoughtfully clean your bowls. Soak them in hot water, scrub them all over. Get to the corners. Clean them more often. At least once a day, at minimum. Use mild detergent, don’t use strong detergents or strong soaps. Non-scented preferred.
Exposing your parrot to toxic fumes
Cigarettes, fire or any kind of a smoke is dangerous to your parrot. This may seem obvious to some, but you won’t believe how many people smoke in front of their parrots. Don’t do it. Any kinds of fumes are harmful. If you are not sure about something, then don’t do it. This article from Nature Chest very clearly explains the dangers of toxic fumes, so we’ll just quote them:
Non-stick cookware and other household items possessing a non-stick surface made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) are toxic to birds. The gas released is extremely dangerous to birds and can result in death within minutes. It does not have to be overheated either, even with normal usage, some fumes may also be released and you will never smell anything. Anything with a PTFE coating should never be used around birds period. Remember virtually “ALL” non-stick cookware, indoor cooking grills, drip pans, self-cleaning ovens, clothes dryers, new hair dryers, space heaters, irons, ironing board covers, waffle irons, deep fryers, heat lamps and other small appliances or their components may be coated with PTFE. If anything says “non-stick” be aware and leery. Unless the manufacturer can verify, in writing, that the product in question does not contain PTFE producing elements, assume it has them.
Passive inhalation of cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke by birds can cause chronic eye problems, skin irritation and respiratory disease. Birds that live in homes with smokers may develop coughing, sneezing, sinusitis and conjunctivitis which often goes away when the bird is removed from the home. Birds exposed to chronic second-hand smoke can also develop secondary bacterial infections which can prove fatal. Second-hand smoke from marijuana can also cause severe depression and regurgitation in birds.
Many common disinfectants and household cleaning agents release fumes that can be toxic or fatal to birds. Chlorine bleach, phenols and ammonia can all have dangerous vapors that can cause irritation, toxicosis and even death in pet birds. Common household aerosol products, such as perfume, deodorant and hairspray, can cause respiratory problems in birds as well. This may cause severe inflammation and difficulty breathing, and after large or direct exposure, death can occur. Cleaning products such as carpet cleaners or fresheners, upholstery cleaners or fresheners, or any similar cleaning product can be quite deadly to your bird.
New products such as new carpets can contain Formaldehyde in their glue and can be deadly. Paint and varnish can also emit deadly fumes.
Natural gas leaks can cause sudden death in birds. Any type of heater, used improperly or with inadequate ventilation can be deadly to birds. Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, can also be fatal to birds and anyone with pet birds should have a working carbon monoxide monitoring device in their home and preferably in the room where the bird is kept. NEVER use Kerosene heaters if you have birds
Burning foods, overheated cooking oils and smoke from a fireplace can also cause fatal inhalations.
Scented candles, potpourri, incense, plug-ins, as well as other products containing a high concentration of volatile oils (essential oils) can cause either stimulation or depression of the central nervous system, as well as possible irritation to the eyes, nose and upper respiratory tract, depending on the oil and concentration used. Birds are very susceptible to the effects of inhaled volatile toxins, including essential oils. Any volatile oil (fragrance) has the potential for causing illness and possible death in birds. Obviously the concentration in a product and the length of exposure are factors to be considered. Many manufacturers have started making their cleaning products more pleasing to the senses by including these essential oils also. Products containing a high concentration of volatile oils should be avoided completely if you own a bird. Usually the more “perfumey” the smell, the more toxic the product.
Bug sprays, whether it’s something an owner buys at the local hardware store, or even the local pest control company, can be very deadly to your bird. If your local pest control company claims their product is perfectly safe, ask them put it in writing. You may be surprised at how fast they will back off their claim of “perfectly safe”. Birds should be removed from the home for at least 24 hours whenever pest control measure are used.
Never clean your bird’s cage with anything other than approved bird-safe products purchased at your bird store, plain soap and water or a diluted mixture of household vinegar and water. All other cleaners can be toxic to your bird.
Contrary to what many people still believe, those metal round Protective Mite Killers you hang on the side of a bird’s cage are toxic. They do in fact contain an insecticide, however it is very doubtful they would kill any mites. They just might kill your bird however.
Any product that states it is “safe” for animals, does NOT mean it is necessarily safe for birds. Birds are very different from dogs and cats.
To avoid toxic fumes from cleaning products here are our
Recommended (bird-safe) cleaning products:
- Mild dishwashing liquid. Although it’s safe, don’t use it too often. Try to avoid scented liquids. We (as well as many other parrot owners we know) use Dawn for our dishes and our parrots cages and food bowls. Still, not too often. They do have chemicals in them and they are scented. We buy almost everything from Amazon and you can get every kind of a dishwasing liquid with free shipping from there.
- White distilled vinegar and water. Use a small amount of vinegar. A cup of vinegar per gallon of water. Be sure to rinse well. You don’t want your parrot exposed to the white vinegar. Again, we use Amazon.
- Steam. If you use only water (and you should), then this is perfectly safe. Use as much as you want. Of course, don’t do it in front of your parrot. With steam, you can get to tight places that you couldn’t normally get to with scrubs or brushes. There are a lot of hand-held steamers from Amazon which are really useful. I use two (a small one and a bigger one) for different kinds of places when I’m cleaning. You can’t go wrong with steamers.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract – safe and effective. Has antibacterial properties and you can use it to clean anything. We actually use it for cleaning everything around our house, not just parrot products. It’s not 100%, as any other cleaning product, so rinse well after cleaning. Do not feed GSE to parrots! It is used for cleaning ONLY! No eating, no feeding. JUST CLEANING AND RINSING WELL AFTERWARDS.
- We’re gonna quote BirdTricks on this, as we do the exact same thing for Laundry detergent: I know a lot of you have birds that play with towels, under sheets or are always in contact with your clothes. Some even help do the laundry. I use Tide, but in lesser amounts that is suggested because I want to be sure that any residue is removed in the rinse cycle. I clean my bird’s cage covers with this, and if you read my last post, you know that the cage cover spends a lot of time in Linus’ mouth. Don’t use fabric softener sheets, like Bounce, with fabrics your bird will come in contact with.
- Baking soda – On its own, it is great for absorbing oils and greasy messes. It also lifts stains when mixed with a bit of water to make a paste. It cleans effectively when diluted in hot water (about 1/4 cup per gallon of water), but leaves a residue behind that has to be cleaned or rinsed.
- ALWAYS RINSE WELL. We can’t stress this enough. Rinse with hot water, let it dry, see if there’s anything you missed. Rinse again, just to be sure.
Having other pets along with your parrot
Those videos of cats, dogs and birds playing together may be cute, but they are dangerous. Even if your other pet has acted trustworthy in front of your parrot, you can’t trust it 100%. It’s still an animal with animal instincts after all. It’s not worth it. Don’t leave your parrot unsupervised with your other pets (especially cats). People have had the most adorable and calm dogs suddenly attack their birds. It can be the other way around too. Parrots bite, as you probably already know. They may bite an eye off your dog or cat. Beware. You can still own more pets, but never leave them unsupervised when they are together!
Kissing your parrot may hurt him
Birds should never be allowed near their owner’s mouths. Humans carry bacteria and fungi that can cause serious infection, or even death, in our birds. Birds should never be kissed with an open mouth, nor should birds be allowed any contact with the owner’s teeth, tongue, lips or saliva. Birds can give humans various other bacterial infections too. And yes, we know we love to do this and it’s super cute, but better be safe then sorry. It’s not worth giving your parrot an illness for a kiss.
Have any tips? Leave them in the comments below. We’d like to spread the word and keep our fids safe. Leave a tip and we’ll include it in our article. Our main purpose is to keep all parrots safe from common mistakes we all do.
That Will Eventually Kill Your Parrot