Breeder's of Eclectus Parrots,
Timneh African Grey, Great Billed Parrot, Cape
Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
You should have an emergency plan in place. This includes a kit that is
prepared for you and your animals in case you need to evacuate your home.
The following items should be in your kit and placed in a secure place like the
garage or the trunk of your car. They should be in a sealed, waterproof
- One week supply of food.
- One week supply of water.
- A pet carrier for each pet.
- Blankets or towels to keep your pets warm.
- Gloves should be handy if you need to handle panicked birds.
- A first aid kit.
- Some toys.
To transport your bird in an emergency:
- Prepare a carrier for your bird: Line the carrier with paper towel
and a perch. Also have food in the carrier. We usually use
grapes, celery, etc. (foods that have a high water content) instead of water
that may just spill.
- Place your bird in the carrier. If the bird is panicked cover with
a towel (or use a towel to catch) and then transfer into the carrier
- If it is cold out, wrap the carrier in a blanket or towel.
- If it is hot out, bring a mister to keep the bird from over heating.
- Keep the bird in a warm, secure, quiet area. Do not let the bird
out of the carrier.
|If you own other pets, never leave them and the bird unattended in the same room.
Other pets are often predators (dogs/cats/lizards, etc.) and the bird is prey.|
|If your bird is able to fly, watch out for ceiling fans, the bird getting
outside, and other possible hazards. |
|Don't have the bird outside when there is a chance of a mosquito bite
because of West Nile Disease.|
|Never have your bird near a hot stove where it could burn itself.|
|Birds are also prone to drowning because of curiosity and their love of
water. Make sure any aquariums are properly covered. (this
|Do not cook with Teflon (non-stick) pans.
The fumes are fatal to birds.|
|Smoking is also bad for your bird as is stepping on your hand if it has
tobacco residue on it.|
|Scented candles, and air fresheners can also harm your bird.|
|Basically, use lots of common sense. |
|REMEMBER NEVER give your bird chocolate, avocado, rhubarb,
onions, caffeine, or
alcohol. Sugar & Salt are also not good for them. |
List of Disinfectants and their uses. Virkon S is safe for use around
Parrot Precautions and Safety Alerts
This list of safety precautions does not cover every possible danger to
birds, but the most common problems are detailed here. Please add any
precautions unique to your birds and home, and print the list for your bird
|FOODS that are dangerous to birds 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. Parrots should be fed the same quality of food that
is suitable for human infants.|
|NUTS - Due to a recent parrot death caused by impacted nut shells,
I'm collecting professional opinions on the risk of feeding nuts in the
shell and will share them with the list as soon as the information is
complete. So far, we believe that most of the problems with nut shells have
been caused by the shells of the English walnut, which have hard shells.
Pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia, and Brazil nuts also have hard
shells. Pine nuts and Brazil nuts in the shells should never be offered to
parrots because the shells can conceal nuts contaminated with mycotoxins
such as deadly aflatoxin. These two nuts should only be offered out of the
shell and very fresh, as evidenced by sight and smell. I hope that porous
almond shells will prove to be safe because almonds in the shell are a
favorite of many Eclectus parrots. Until we have a consensus of professional
opinion, the philosophy of "better safe than sorry" might be wise.
For those who choose to take the risk because their birds have safely
enjoyed nuts in the shell for years, here are a few tips to minimize the
*Do not offer nuts in the shell when birds are extremely hungry.
*Offer nuts in the shell only when you can observe and determine that only
the nutmeat is eaten.
*Do not offer nuts in the shell as a "sock toy" or otherwise
concealed from view.
*Never use walnut shell cage litter. Several parrots have eaten it and
suffered impactions. It also harbors and grows pathogens that
can become airborne and inhaled, causing respiratory disease.
To read more about nuts in general, go here:
Land of Vos Nut Nutrition
|GRIT is not necessary for parrots and can cause impaction of the
|PTFE treated products, such as Teflon and other name brands of
non-stick cookware kill birds by releasing odorless, deadly gases when
overheated. PTFE is used in some space heaters, ranges, ovens,
burner bibs or liners, heat lamps, irons, griddles, bread makers, woks,
waffle makers, electric skillets, crock pots, popcorn 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, and in the process, create toxic fumes that can harm or kill
|COOKING BAGS, especially those treated with PTFE emit harmful fumes
during cooking that kill birds. Any substance that releases smoke and/or
fumes when heated should be avoided in bird homes.|
|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
|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
them with toys or treats, but never leave empty cup holders in a cage.
Stainless Steel is the safest metal.
|LEG BANDS can cause the loss of toes, feet, legs and sometimes bird
lives when the wrong size. Microchips are a safer form of
identification of lost birds. Leg bands should be removed only by a
|IMPORTED CERAMIC CROCKS often contain toxic metals that can leach
into bird food and water. Stainless steel, Pyrex and other glass is safer.|
|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.|
|LITTER made of walnut shells or corn cobs can cause
life-threatening impaction if ingested by birds. They also harbor fungal
spores when soiled or wet. Newspaper is safer.|
|METALS such as lead, zinc, copper, and iron can cause metal
toxicosis 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, and
cardboard or paper with high gloss inks.|
|QUIK-STOP and other styptic products should never be applied to
avian skin. They are safe for bleeding toenails when broken or cut too
short, but they destroy skin. For broken or pulled blood feathers, either
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.|
|FLEA COLLARS AND SPRAYS emit toxins into the air and should not be
used in bird homes. Lice shampoo also contains dangerous toxins and should
never used on birds.|
|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.|
|STICKY 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 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
|CEILING FANS should not be used in homes with flighted birds.|
|OTHER DANGERS to 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,
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
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
|WOOD SHAVINGS such as cedar and redwood are toxic to birds and
should not be used in cages, aviaries, or nestboxes. Newspaper is a safer
cage liner and pine or aspen shavings are safer nestbox substrate.|
|PRESSURE TREATED LUMBER, conventional plywood, and particle board
contain a variety of toxic substances. Untreated pine boards are a safer
|HOUSEPLANTS and fertilizer including "fertilizer spikes"
can poison birds so they should be kept out of their reach. Some of the most
common poisonous houseplants are azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm,
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, including plug-in air fresheners and scented sprays
are considered unsafe. Bird deaths from using Febreze in the home have been
reported so until new research proves it safe, do not use it in bird homes.
To safely freshen the air, simmer spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and
citrus rinds and provide fresh outdoor air whenever possible.|
|SCENTED CANDLES release toxins when burned, so only unscented
candles should be used in bird homes. (Be aware of the open flame). Beeswax
candles are generally safe and unscented unless they are imported and
contain lead wicks.|
|CARPET POWDERS AND SPRAYS such as Carpet Fresh, as well as similar
treatments for upholstery (like Febreze), often contain toxins which are
dispersed into the air when they are vacuumed so they should never 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 furnishings, paints, solvents,
adhesives, various finishes, and other building materials are sometimes
described as the "new smell" and can damage the avian respiratory
|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 homes.|
|CARBON MONOXIDE is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas produced
by furnaces and other heaters. Birds in poorly ventilated, heated areas are
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.|
|DRY 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. It also is found in toilet disinfectants and in
deodorizers, and it causes cancer in lab animals.|
|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 can
expose them to deadly, incurable diseases.|
|HUMAN SALIVA contains pathogens that are deadly to birds. Never
allow a bird to place its beak in your mouth or nose, nor to "clean
|CLEANLINESS is important to the prevention of bacterial infections.
Wash your hands frequently when working with birds and preparing their food
|BOARDING BIRDS with other birds of unknown health status is an
unnecessary risk to healthy birds. It is safer to have a friend or relative
come into your home or keep your birds in their home during your absence.|
|EMERGENCY INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS should be left with your
caregivers when you are away. Leave your vet's contact information as well
as hotline numbers near the phone and advise your caregiver about potential
emergencies and what to do.|
|ALERTS and warnings about newly discovered dangers such as new
products that endanger birds are available on the BirdSafe E-list. |
Suggestions should be emailed to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Used with permission.
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