Let’s talk about some common household dangers – to your birds.
Pause for a moment and think about your home, and what in it could possibly be a problem for your avian. What are the first things that spring into your mind?
Parrots are very inquisitive creatures… They will poke their beaks into everything and anything, and if it looks chew-able, beware. They will chew it. For obvious reasons, this presents dangers in every part of your house. Chewing is an instinct you cannot stop.
The kitchen is probably one of the most dangerous rooms in the entire house. Filled with tempting morsels and interesting things to chew and explore, your bird could easily leave the safety of your shoulder and instead find its way into a number of perils. Boiling pots and pans, hot surfaces, electric wires, and toxic fumes (from nonstick appliances and household aerosol sprays) all present serious danger to your feathered friends. We also need to consider that certain foods – including avocado pear, chocolate, dried beans, mushrooms, tomato leaves, apple seeds, caffeinated products, and alcohol – should never, ever be fed to your bird. Others, such as salty foods, onions, and garlic, and dairy, can only be used in the absolute smallest amounts… and are probably best avoided entirely.
In other rooms, you’ll need to keep an eye (and a nose!) out for strongly scented fumes that can be damaging to your bird’s lungs in even the smallest amounts. Watch out for household cleaners and chemicals, scented candles, glue, air fresheners, incense, deodorant, aerosol sprays, and paint. Paint isn’t only dangerous when fresh, however – your parrot will probably try to chew it at least once, and it is full of nasty toxins you don’t want them ingesting.
There are physical dangers to be on the lookout for, as well. Open toilet lids and standing dishes of water, ceiling fans, electric wires, naked light bulbs, the ink inside pens, other animals (a dog or cat’s saliva, if they bite your avian, can cause septicaemia), and toxic plants, of which there are many. Windows and doors are yet another peril – whenever your bird is out, absolutely check that these are closed. Even a clipped bird can gain the momentum to soar out of your reach.
Be careful not to leave things lying around. Simple household objects such as batteries, nuts/bolts/nails, the packaging on the things you buy (i.e. bottles), or even the insulation in your walls, contain traces of toxins – and they’re all very tempting to chew. Finally, with the holiday season coming up and decorations emerging, your parrot is given one extra opportunity to put its beak into something dangerous. Supervise closely, and don’t leave your bird unattended with those tempting lights and the Christmas tree that was surely put there just for him…
As if all this isn’t enough to think about, there are dangers in the cage, too. Rope perches can fray over time, causing a toe to get caught. In a panic, your feathered friend could wrench away, breaking a foot or leg, or worse – the result could be fatal. Your bird can also one day decide to ingest its rope perch, blocking its crop. (Soft blankets and cloth can have a similar effect.)
The toys in your bird’s cage are another thing to watch carefully. Some wires or metal chains can cause metal poisoning. Try to think ahead. If your bird is big enough to chew apart the toy, which pieces can it swallow? When you notice a toy looking well-loved by your parrot, give it a close examination… If it looks like your bird could rip off pieces (which it could then swallow), I’d suggest swapping it with a new toy.
Use your judgement. If something looks dangerous, it probably is. If you wouldn’t eat it yourself, your bird shouldn’t either… If I’ve forgotten something, please feel free to comment and I’ll add it in!