Keeping birds in our homes confronts us with several obstacles. Assuring the safety and well-being of our feathery companions is a significant duty that many people who keep birds as pets take seriously. Keep in mind that our houses are not a natural setting for birds and may be rather unfriendly to them in many ways. To keep them safe, owners should constantly keep an eye on their birds while they are not in their cages.
The following are extracts from Gary A. Gallerstein D.V.M.’s The Complete Bird Owner’s Handbook, Howell Book House, 1994. This great book covers all areas of bird care and health, which are important for both pet bird owners and avian professionals. We’d like to thank the author for granting us permission to share this information with you. Net Pets hopes that you will find Dr. Gallerstein’s knowledge to be a valuable resource in providing a safe habitat for your birds.
Route of Poisoning
- Ingestion (by mouth)
- Inhalation (by breathing)
- Topical (Contact with skin)
If your bird is unwell and you see the following symptoms, you should suspect poisoning:
- Chewing or playing with the box, as well as exposure to fumes or aromas, are all examples of contact with a known toxic material.
- Containers of any dangerous material that have been opened or spilled.
- Toxic plants have lately been chewed on.
- A strange material was discovered on the feathers.
Signs To Watch
- For Sudden onset of regurgitation, diarrhea, coughing, breathing problems, and/or depression.
- Bloody droppings Redness or burns around the mouth.
First Aid For Poisoning
1. Remove the poison to prevent further ingestion.
2. If you come into touch with your eyes, flush them with lukewarm water. Flush the affected area with water if there has been skin contact. For fume poisoning, quickly ventilate the space by opening windows, using a fan, or, better yet, removing the bird from the area entirely.
3. Call your veterinarian.
- Bring a sample of the poison and its packaging.
- Bring a sample of the bird’s most recent droppings.
- Provide general supportive care.
One of the most prevalent toxicities in pet birds is lead poisoning. In most houses, there are many possible sources of lead. This form of poisoning is typically avoidable by merely identifying prevalent lead sources in the surroundings.
Sources Of Lead For Pet Birds
The bulk of lead poisoning in pet birds is caused by lead-weighted bird toys, outdated costume jewelry, lead caulking in stained-glass windows, fishing weights, curtain weights, and some kinds of screens and wires. Check out the safest materials for bird toys.
Poisoning will not occur with newsprint, lead pencils, or paint created within the previous twenty years.
Examine branches to be used as perches before putting them in the cage, as bizarre as it may look. There have been reports of birds discovering and consuming buckshot lodged in wood. Be careful when you choose a bird cage for your pet birds.
Signs To Watch For
- Depression, weakness.
- Seizures, “walking in circles,” “head wandering”.
- Droppings; excessively wet, may even be bloody (“tomato juice-colored” urine)
- General signs of a sick bird.
First Aid For Lead Poisoning:
Unfortunately, no first aid is provided. In most cases, the pet owner is unaware that the bird has consumed lead. Treatment is quite specific, and veterinary treatment should begin as soon as possible.
“Teflon Toxicity” or Polymer Fume Fever.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic polymer that is used in cookware as a nonstick surface. The most well-known brand names are Teflon, Silverstone, and T-Fal, although PTFE-coated goods are also made under numerous trade names.
According to Dr. Peter Sakas, PTFE-coated cookware is stable and safe under regular cooking settings. When PTFE is heated over 530 degrees Fahrenheit, it degrades and releases caustic (acid) vapors. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, eggs fry at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and deep frying happens at 410 degrees Fahrenheit. When empty PTFE-coated cookware is left on a high-heat burner, it may reach temperatures of 750 degrees or more. Thus, if a pan is pre-heated on a stove and then neglected, or if water boils out of a pot, PTFE breakdown may occur. In other words, PTFE cookware must be “abused” in order to generate hazardous vapors, which is not as uncommon as it may seem; many individuals fall asleep after placing pots or pans on the stove to heat.
Birds kept in close proximity to the kitchen generally perish very quickly after inhaling the fumes. Even birds housed in another room are at danger. Severe breathing problems, such as gasping for air, may be seen just before death. Humans, dogs, cats, and other animals are less vulnerable to the potentially fatal effects of these gases.
First Aid For Teflon Toxicity
1. Remove the afflicted bird from the house immediately and provide plenty of fresh air. Unfortunately, there is no alternative kind of first aid.
2. Call your avian veterinarian immediately.
When the home is sprayed (“fogged” or “bombed”) for different pests, the most frequent pesticide poisoning in pet birds happens. Birds, as previously said, have very sensitive respiratory systems. Before spraying, always remove the birds and their cages from the home. After you’ve done spraying, open all doors and windows to assist disperse the scents. If necessary, use fans. Do not bring your birds back inside the house for at least 24 hours. For the safest and most effective foggers, consult your veterinarian.
First Aid For Insecticide Poisoning
1. Remove the bird immediately and supply lots of fresh air.
2. Provide general supportive care.
3. Call your veterinarian immediately.
4. Bring the insecticide along.
(Author’s Note: Many harmful goods “live” in our houses. Pets getting into them is a serious possibility. The kitchen is the most dangerous place for birds. Gallerstein, Howell Book House, 1994, The Complete Bird Owner’s Handbook)
Common Household Poisons
Ammonia, Acetone Antifreeze, Ant syrup or ant paste Arsenic, Toilet bowl cleanser, Boric acid, bleach Camphophenique, tetrachloride of carbon, lighter made of charcoal, Clinitest pills, Cleaners for copper and brass, Wart and corn remover, Deodorants, Detergents, Disinfectants, Crayons Drain cleaners, etc. epoxy adhesive, Softeners for clothing, Toxins in garbage, Sprays for the garden, Gasoline, Cleaner of firearms, Gunpowder, Hair coloring, Herbicides, Hexachlorophene (in some soaps), Markers that are irreversible, Insecticides, Kerosene Iodine, Fluid that is lighter, Linoleum (contains lead salts), Matches, Modeling glue, Mothballs, Muriatic acid, et al. Mushrooms (varieties) Nail polish, remove nail polish Cleaner for the oven, Paint, paint thinner, and paint remover Perfume, Solutions for permanent waves, Photographic solutions, pesticides Plants that produce pine oil Prescription and non-prescription medications Squill in red, Rodenticides, Using rubbing alcohol, Shaving cream, Silver luster, Spot remover, Snail bait starch spray Sulphuric acid, strychnine, suntan lotion Superglue, etc. Turpentine, Window cleaners and weed killers
(Source: Gary Gallerstein, Bird Owner’s Home Health and Care Handbook (New York: Howell Book House, 1984); Sheldon Gerstenfeld, The Bird Care Book (Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, 1981); and Margaret L. Petrak, ed., Diseases of Cage and Aviary Birds, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1982)
Common Poisonous Substances
Petroleum Products, Acids, Alkalis Dishwasher detergent, drain cleanser, floor polish, and furniture polish are all examples of cleaning products. Kerosene, gasoline Remover of paint, thinner for paint, Toilet bowl cleanser, shoe polish Preservative for wood (floor or furniture), zinc.
( Source:Sheldon Gerstenfeld, The Bird Care Book (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1981)
Plants Considered Toxic to Birds
The following is a list of some potentially toxic plants. Be sure you correctly identified all plants in your bird’s environment.When using these lists, ensure you use the Scientific Name to identify Plants, if uncertain remove the plant. Always choose safe home plants for parrots instead.
(Abbreviations: Spp=subspecies, Sp=species)
|Plant Name||Scientific Name||Parts Known to be Poisonous|
|Acokanthera||Acokanthera spp.||all parts toxic|
|American Yew||Taxus canadensis||Needles, seeds|
|Angel’s Trumpet||Datura spp.,||leaves, seeds, flowers|
|Apricot||Prunus armeniaca,||pits, leaves, and bark|
|* Autumn Crocus||Colchicum autumnalle||bulb|
|Avocado||Persea americana||pit, leaves, unripe fruit, and stems|
|Balsam pear||Memordica charantia||Seeds, outer rind of fruit|
|Baneberry||Actaia spp.||Berries, roots|
|Belladonna||Atropa belladonna||All parts|
|Bird of Paradise||Caesalpina gilliesii||Seeds|
|Bittersweet||Celastrus spp.||All parts|
|Black Locust||Robinia pseudoacacia||Bark, sprouts, foliage|
|* Bleeding Heart||Dicentra||all parts|
|Bluegreen algae||Schizophycaea spp||Some forms toxic|
|Bracken Fern||Pteridium aquilinum||All parts|
|Some forms toxic Boxwood||Buxus sempervirens||Leaves, stems|
|Buckthorn||Rhamnus spp.||Fruit, bark|
|Burdock||Arctium spp.||All parts|
|Buttercup||Ranunculus spp.||Sap, bulbs|
|Calla lily||Zantedeschia aethiopica||Leaves|
|Caladium||Caladium spp.||Leaves and rhizome|
|Castor Oil Plant||Ricinus communis||Beans, leaves|
|Catclaw Acacia||Acacia greggii,||twigs and leaves|
|Chalice vine||Solandra spp.||All parts|
|Cherry tree||Prunus spp.||Bark, twigs, leaves, pits|
|Chinaberry||Melia azadarach||All parts|
|Chokecherry||Birdcherry Prunus||seeds (stones),|
|Christmas candle||Pedilanthus tithymaloides||Sap|
|Clematis||Clematis spp.||All parts|
|Coral plant||Jatropha multifida||Seeds|
|Crocus (autumn)||Cholchicum autumnale||All parts|
|Cycad, or Sago Cycas||Cycas revoluta||All parts|
|Deadly amanita||Amanita muscaria||All parts|
|Death camas||Zygadenis elegans||All parts|
|Delphinium||Delphinium spp.||All parts|
|Devil’s Ivy||Epipremnum aureum||All parts|
|Eggplant||Solanaceae spp.||All parts but fruit|
|Elderberry||Sambucus mexicana,||roots, leaves, stems, bark|
|Elephant’s ear (taro)||Colocasis spp.||Leaves, stem|
|English ivy||Ilex aquafolium||Berries, leaves|
|English yew||Taxus baccata||needles, seeds|
|Euonymus||Euonymus spp.||fruit, bark, leaves|
|European Pennroyal||Mentha pulegium|
|False henbane||Veratrum woodii||All parts|
|Fly agaric mushroom (deadly amanita)||Amanita muscaria||All parts|
|Four o’clock||Mirabilis jalapa||All parts|
|Foxglove||Digitalis purpurea||Leaves, seeds|
|Golden chain (laburnum)||Laburnum anagyroides||All parts, especially seeds|
|Hemlock||poison Conium spp.||All parts, especially roots and seeds|
|Hemlock||water Conium spp.||All parts especially roots and seeds|
|Horse chestnut||Aesculus spp.||Nuts, twigs|
|Horse Nettle||Solanum carolinense||All parts|
|Indian turnip (jackinthepulpit)||Arisaema triphyllum||All parts|
|Iris (blue flag)||Iris spp.||Bulbs|
|Ivy (Boston, English, and some others)||Hedera spp.||All parts|
|Japanese yew||Taxus cuspidata||Needles, seeds|
|Java bean (lima bean)||Phaseolus lunatus||Uncooked beans|
|Jerusalem cherry||Solanum pseudocapsicum||Berries|
|Jessamine, Yellow||Gelsemium sempervirens,||leaves, stems|
|Jonquil||Narcissus jonquilla||All parts|
|Jimsonweed (thornapple)||Datura spp.||Leaves, seeds|
|Juniper||Juniperus virginiana||Needles, stems, berries|
|Lantana||Lantana spp.||Immature berries|
|Larkspur||Delphinium spp.||All parts|
|Laurel Kalmia, Ledum||Rhododendron spp.||All parts|
|Lilly of the valley||Convallaria majalis||All parts, including the water in which they have been kept|
|Lobelia||Lobelia spp.||All parts|
|Locoweed||Astragalu mollissimus||All parts|
|Lords and ladies (cuckoopint)||arum sp.||All parts|
|Lupine||Lupinus spp.||All parts|
|Mayapple||Podophyllum spp.||All parts, except fruit|
|Mescal bean||Sophora spp.||Seeds|
|Milkweed||Asclepias spp.||All parts|
|Mock orange||Poncirus spp.||Fruit|
|Monkshood||Aconitum spp.||Leaves, roots|
|Moonseed||Menispermum canadense||All parts|
|Morning glory||Ipomoea spp.||All parts|
|Mushrooms||Amanita spp. and many others||All parts|
|Nightshades (all types)||Solanum spp.||Berries, leaves|
|Oak||Quercus||acorn, young plant|
|Oleander||Nerium oleander||Leaves, branches, nectar of blossoms|
|Pennyroyal||Mentha pulegium||All parts|
|Peach||Prunus persica,||leaves, pit, bark|
|Peony||Paeonia officinalis||All parts|
|Periwinkle||Vinca minor, Vinca rosea||All parts|
|Peyote||Lophophora williamsii||All parts|
|Philodendron||Philodendron spp.||Leaves, stems|
|Pigweed||Amaranthus spp.||All parts|
|Plum||Prunus spp.,||leaves, pit, bark|
|Poison Hemlock||Conium maculatum||All parts|
|Poison ivy||Toxicodendron radicans||Sap|
|Poison oak||Toxicodendron quercifolium||Sap|
|Poison Sumac||Rhux vernix||All parts|
|Poinsettia||Euphorobia pulcherrima||Leaves, flowers|
|Pokeweed (inkberry)||Phytolacca americans||Leaves, roots, immature berries|
|Poppy||Papaver somniferum and related spp.||All parts|
|Potato||Solanum tuberosum||Eyes and new shoots|
|Pothos||Eprimemnun aureum||All parts|
|Primrose||Primula spp.||All parts|
|Privet||Lingustrum volgare||All parts, includling berries|
|Ragwort||Senecio jacobea and related spp.||All parts|
|Red Maple||Acer rubrum||All parts|
|Rhododendron||Rhododendron spp.||All parts|
|Rosary pea (Indian licorice)||Abrus precatorius||Seeds|
|Sage||Salvia officinalis||All parts|
|Shamrock Plant||Medicago lupulina, Trifolium repens, Oxalis acetosella||All parts|
|Skunk cabbage||Symplocarpus foetidus||All parts|
|Snowdrop||Ornithogalum umbellatum||All parts, especially buds|
|Snow on the mountain (ghostweed)||Euphorbia marginata||All parts|
|Sorrel||Rumex spp., Oxalis spp.||All parts|
|Spindle Tree||Euonymus||leaves, fruit, bark|
|Spurges||Euphorbia spp.||All parts|
|Star of Bethlehem||Ornithogalum umbellatum||All parts|
|Sweet pea||Lathryus latifolius||Seeds and fruit|
|Tansy||Tanacetum vulgare||all parts|
|Tomato||Lycopersicon esculentum||stems and leaves|
|Tulip||Tulipa spp.||All parts|
|Vetches||Vicia spp.||All parts|
|Virginia creeper||Pathenocissu quinquefolia||Sap|
|Water Hemlock||Cicuta spp.|
|Western yew||Taxus breviflora||Needles, seeds|
|Wisteria||Wisteria spp.||All parts|
|Yam bean||Pachyrhizus erosus||Roots, immature pods|
If you are interested in more parrot pet bird tips, read our website for more information.
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