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Birds Guide


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Bird-safe (or less popularly bird-proof) is a term used to describe objects that are safe for captive birds and it is most commonly associated with pet birds. Birds are smaller than humans and other pets and therefore are considerably more vulnerable to dangers.


Household dangers

Household dangers can lurk almost everywhere, from a lead-painted wall to a burning stove. Many forgetful and/or unaware bird owners lose their birds just because of ignoring household dangers. One of the biggest household dangers is an open window: a bird may try to fly out of it and a flighted bird can possibly be successful in doing so, therefore it is recommended to wing-clip a pet bird.

Always supervise your bird outside its cage and make sure it isn't eating anything from surfaces outside the cage, especially the floor. Sometimes pet birds can crash into a fan and injure themselves. Therefore turn fans off before letting your bird outside its cage and keep its wings clipped. Don't let your bird access any surface with lead, this especially includes metals. Very hot or cold surfaces can also injure a bird and therefore also keep them away from your bird. Even some polishes may contain toxic materials. Alcohol, pesticides and other chemicals must also be avoided. More information can be found here here.

Cage Safety

Before buying a cage make sure it does not contain lead (lead is potentially toxic to birds). Excess of zinc can also be harmful. Lead and zinc are two main factors one should consider before buying a cage for a pet bird. Rectangular cages are preferred over round cages because a round cage does not give a bird a safe corner when it is frightened or alarmed. The round bar positioning in round cages may also affect a bird's feathers, particularly the tailfeathers. Another point to consider in bird cages are the toys that the bird will play with.

The toys should be constructed of material non-toxic to birds (marketed as "bird-safe"). The toys should not contain lead and/or zinc. If a toy contains colored leather and/or wood, it must be vegetable tanned or colored with food coloring. If a toy contains rope, it should not get tangled in a bird's toe (though sometimes even the best bird-safe ropes get tangled in bird's toes). The best bird-safe ropes are the Supreme Cotton Rope - which dispenses fluff when its strands are plucked from the rope - or the Paulie Rope. However, Paulie Ropes designed for industrial purposes are not suitable for birds.

The same applies for playgyms, food bowls, perches and all other accessories a pet bird will interact with. More information on pet bird safety can be found here.

Toxic foods for birds

Toxic foods are foods that can cause allergies and/or health problems in birds. Avocados, chocolate, milk, foods high in salt and/or sugar and fatty foods should be avoided. Any food considered junk food for humans should also be considered junk food for pet birds.

Toxic plants for birds

There are many plants that can be harmful to pet birds. In some cases an entire plant can be harmful to a bird and in some cases only some parts of certain plants can be dangerous to birds. Click here to see a comprehensive list of plants that can be harmful to pet birds.

Toxicity of overheated non-stick surfaces

Many reports from bird owners claim that their pet birds died after the owners used non-stick cookware around the birds. The cause of this phenomenon is PTFE, a fume that is released by non-stick coatings when they are overheated. The most common source of these non-stick coatings is DuPont's Teflon, which is now very common in stock, but there are many other brands that use non-stick coatings. Make sure to buy cookware that is PTFE-free or use non-stick surfaces very carefully.

PTFE usually burns when the surface is heated over 500 degrees Celsius, and disposing non-stick cookware is the best thing to do, however, there are alternate options. Non-stick cookware is not the only source of PTFE, other sources include wafflemakers, some irons, some self-cleaning ovens among other things. If you are using PTFE-coated surfaces in a household that has birds, make sure that:

  • You don't heat the stove more than the conventional heat level, which is, 500 degrees Celsius
  • The area where the bird is kept and the non-stick is located should both be well-ventilated.

Introducing your bird to strangers

Strangers to a bird include new people and animals. It is recommended that a stranger bird be quarantined before being kept in a cage with another bird. Some people don't know the sensitivity of a bird and handle it recklessly, this is especially with younger children who may be too excited to handle a bird, therefore first tell a stranger that a bird is frail and sensitive and that it needs to be handled in the gentlest way. Sometimes even house pets (dogs and cats) are prone to eat birds, therefore it is recommended to keep them away from the bird. Some new bird owners trust their house pets too much and are very confident that they won't eat the bird, but this is not always the case. Even the tamest dog may eat a bird when it is very hungry and has nothing else to eat, cats are even more prone to such incidents.

External links

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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