Understanding Why Parrots Do What They Do ... Training your Parrot ... Resolving Behavioral Problems ... Foraging
Parrots are just like having a two-year old around; with some additional concerns as far as toxicities are concerned. Their respiratory systems are far more sensitive than our own; and what we can tolerate, can kill them.
Parrots are known for their constant urge to "customizing their environment" with their beaks. That is what they do in nature; build nests, chew on branches, forage for foods. Knowing that this is natural behavior for parrots, we have no reason to get mad at our parrots and/or to keep him or her locked up.
This being said, leaving this unchecked and not preparing for it will result in damaged furniture or even worse.
Below are tips to keep your pet birds safe:
- Windows: Make sure that all your windows have screens and that they are intact. Birds can escape through open windows or doors. They do like to " enlarge" holes in screens through which they will be able to escape. Therefore, check frequently to make sure that the screens are still intact.
- Electrical Wires: As mentioned above, electric wires should be tucked away. Parrots love to chew on them. Electricity poses a particular hazard.
- Scented candles, spray or plug air fresheners: I wouldn't use any of them if I didn't have any pets. They may pose a particular risk to our birds, but sufficient exposure to us and the risk of cancer or other immunodeficiency diseases cannot be dismissed. Artificial scents of any kind should be avoided. I am using essential oils (aroma therapy) and would never go back to the artificial scents. I choose aromas, like lemon oil for a refreshing scent. Tea Tree oil will disinfect the air -- safely. I love the scent of Patchouli or Peppermint Oil. You can buy little tea candles with a little bowl above the candles - called diffuser lamps - to warm up the oil when lit. I chose one that is pretty deep so that my birds can't get to the fluids. WARNING: even though I have been using certain eEssential oils around my birds with no ill-effects, some essential oils may be toxic to birds. Discuss with your vet. Please note that tea tree oil is toxic to all pets (birds, cats, dogs, etc.)
Here are the benefits of some of the essential oils:
- Ylang Ylang is relaxing. Eucalyptus aids with respiratory problems (Toxic to birds);
- peppermint, rosemary and thyme are energizing,
- lemon, tea tree oil* and cedarwood are purifying; ( Note to Bird Owners: *Tea Tree Essential has caused paralysis in birds when the dosage administered was too high. As safe doses have not been established, it's best not to use this essential oil around your birds. )
- peppermint, rosemary and ginger clear your mind;
- lemon helps you concentrate;
- peppermint and spearmint helps with headaches.
- Nutmeg, Patchouli (one of my favorites) and Ylang Ylang increase sensuality. (In addition to which, I love their smell)
- Teflon: Coated or nonstick pans release toxic fumes at high temperatures and can kill a bird very quickly. Normal use probably would not be harmful as the temperature must be very high to emit the fumes, but if a pan were left unattended and the coating started to burn, it could be devastating.
- Toxic Foods and Household Items - Ref. Green and Healthy Website.
- Ceiling Fans: A ceiling fan can be very dangerous to a bird in flight. You can imagine what happens when your parrot flies into a fast-moving ceiling fan. Make sure that the ceiling fan is either turned off when the birds are out, or buy a special one that has some sort of protective grid over it.
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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