Although we have worked many years with birds, we are not a veterinarian and feel that if you have any concerns about your bird(s), please contact your avian veterinarian immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry. It is suggested that if you own a bird or are planning on getting one that you have access to an avian specialist and an emergency backup. Accidents happen when we are not prepared for them. Understanding the hazards and dangers of the home will give your bird a safer environment. Keep a bird warm, not hot, offer food and water and a calm place in their carrier until you can talk to the vet. In some events you may need to use a towel to help get the bird into the carrier. Be cautious as they may bite if ill or hurt. Please make sure when using a towel that the bird can still breathe. Remembering the events before the incident occurred may help your vet in giving you the best directions. Then follow the vet’s instructions.
Keeping an eye on your bird’s food and water intake daily is one way of noticing if a bird may be getting ill. Birds can starve to death in as short as a 48-72 hour period.
Looking at the fecal matter and noticing anything different may also be helpful in determining if a bird is ill. Color change may occur depending on the color of foods the bird has eaten. Often birds will fluff up to appear O.K., as they would in nature, so as not to look weak .
Knowing the difference between vomiting and regurgitation can give you peace of mind. A bird will often regurgitate to feed their young or mate. Most of the other times this is vomiting and should be recorded as to when and how much and how often, and then giving your vet a call.
If your bird is coughing, sneezing, swelling around the head, or has a discharge from their nostrils or mouth, it needs to be seen immediately by the avian veterinarian.
Safety Check List:
- When your bird is out of it's cage, please make sure that all fans, including ceiling fans are off.
- Bathroom doors, when not shut, can lead to a bird in flight making a landing in, of all places, the toilet. This could cause serious harmful consequences.
- Never leave a bird unattended. It's like leaving a two year old to wander, but much worse. They climb faster, fly, and can chew and get in smaller places. This could cause damage to your property but worse, a dead bird.
- Kitchens are dangerous for a bird. Stoves, sinks, sharp objects that are shiny and foods can all cause problems.
- In our experience bird's like to play the electrician or cable man role, by chewing any and all chords. This includes your phone chargers.
- Some plants and flowers are dangerous and others are safe for your bird. Please research before letting your bird near a plant or flower that could be dangerous. Also remember that safe woods and flowers could have been sprayed with an insecticide, which could be fatal.
- Please look below for a list of dangerous chemicals that humans use in daily living.
Due to the bird's fragile respiratory system many household items may be fatal to a bird. NOT ALL BIRDS ARE THE SAME. A BIRD WHO IS AROUND MOTHBALLS ONE TIME MIGHT END UP LOSING THEIR LIFE. THE SAME SPECIES MIGHT BE AROUND MOTH BALLS AND A HUNDRED OTHER THINGS AND LIVE 20 YEARS. IF IT COULD SHORTEN THEIR LIFE, KNOWING WHEN IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE WANT TO GAMBLE ON.
- Any Aerosols including hairspray, deodorants,etc.
- Air fresheners- this includes carpet powder, sprays, and plug-ins, carpet cleaners
- Burning foods and oils
- Mothballs, dryer sheets
- Paints, whiteout, nail polish and remover
- Bleach and ammonia
- Deodorizers, pledge
- Teflon (irons, pots and pans, heaters, and hair dryers)
- Any non- stick PTFE (Polytetrafluoethlyne surfaces, often the black non-stick coating )
- Gasoline, auto products
- Self-cleaning ovens
- Bug spray, flea bombs, collars
- shoe polish and leather cleaners
- Hair dyes and spray
- Shaving lotion and perfumes
- Irons, hair dryers,curling irons
- Suntan lotion and sunscreen
- Certain plants (this includes the type, and/or if it has been treated with an insecticide)
- Zinc and lead
CIGARETTES, CIGARS, PIPES, E-Cigarettes, Charcoal Smoke - The smoke from any of these can become harmful to your bird's life. Please remember that often these substances soak into our skin, therefore you will need to wash your hands with soap before dealing with your birds.
If your bird inhales fumes of any sort, remove the bird immediately to a fresh air environment. Watch the bird. Call the avian vet and explain what kind of fumes the bird inhaled and follow their directions. In an effort to keep your bird(s) safe we recommend purchasing a carbon monoxide monitor that can be placed near the cages .
In order to keep your bird safe, keeping the water and food bowls clean and fresh daily is a necessity. Cleaning a bird's cage and environment is vital to keeping a healthy, happy bird. When washing the cage, keep the bird away from it. Chemicals are harmful. Perches, toys, and stands that are made of wood can be washed in a very low bleach, vinegar, or lemon juice solution. Rinse, then for small branches, bake in the oven at 250 for about 1 hour or place in the sun until completely dried. Larger stands, perches and cages can be rinsed and placed in the sun until completely dried. Bleach fumes are toxic, therefore, the item should be washed away from the bird, and completely rinsed and dried before bringing it indoors.
Human beings produce acids and other bacteria that a bird’s digestive system may not be able to handle. Please care for your bird by keeping your germs away from him/her.
Please contact your avian vet to learn what they recommend for emergency first aid training. Often there is conflicting information found on the internet. No one ever expects or plans on the precise emergency.
ASPERGILLOSIS can be found in many of the items that birds eat: sunflower seeds, peanuts, corn on the cob, and many others. Please take a moment to read one or all of the articles provided . All the information here has been given by permission to the rescue and are links that you may use in your education. Please remember that education requires trial and error as part of the learning. If you would like to share an article that you have written or information that you would like shared please email us.
Mickaboo.org has graciously allowed us to link the following article from their April 2011 Newsletter on "Aspergillosis, a Respiratory Fungal Disease in Companion Parrots". The Authors are Tanya Renner, Chloe Redon and John Graziano, Sherri Ness, Ailsa Barrett and Elizabeth Young.
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