How to Protect Birds from Household Dangers
Birds are a colorful and lively addition to many peoples' homes. Because of this, birds deserve happy, comfortable, and safe cage and home space. You may not be sure how to protect your bird in your home, especially if it likes to enjoy shared spaces. You can protect your bird from household dangers by making its cage safe and bird-proofing indoor spaces.
Making the Bird Cage Safe
Give the bird its own space.A bird, like many animals, needs a space to rest and relax. Because birds are social, they love attention and being in a space where they can see and interact with you. Select a room that provides stimulation without exposing your bird to other animals, dangerous fumes, or extreme changes in temperature.
- Place the cage against a wall so your bird feels secure. An ideal space is in a corner, where there are two walls that can help a bird feel like it has a place to hide if it feels in danger.
- Avoid putting the cage directly in front of a window. The sight of dogs, hawks and storms can scare them. In addition, windows may expose the bird to extreme shifts in temperature, which can be dangerous for winged friends. Partial views of a window are fine.
- Put the cage away from drafty areas, fans, open windows and heat registers. Extreme heat and cold can be dangerous to your bird.
Avoid the kitchen and bathroom.Recognize that the kitchen and bathroom present dangers for your bird. In the kitchen, fumes from non-stick cooking surfaces, self-cleaning ovens, open flames and sharp knives can harm your bird.Changes in temperature and exposure to toxic chemicals such as hairspray can harm or poison your bird in a bathroom.If possible, place the cage in a room that doesn’t pose these hazards.
Secure cage doors and bars.Many people put their birds in cages while they are away. Some birds—and other animals—are clever and can open cage doors or sneak through the bars. Checking the locks and bars of your bird’s cage can keep it safe from escape and from curious other animals such as snakes or cats.
- Check that cage bars aren’t bent or damaged. These can encourage a curious bird to stick its head out of the cage, which may allow it to escape or wedge its body in between the bars. Bent or damaged bars may encourage other animals to poke their head into the cage. Make sure bar spacing is narrow enough to prevent the bird from sticking any of its body outside of the cage.
- Inspect latches and locks to make sure mechanically inclined birds and other animals can’t open them. Replace any potentially problematic pieces with new security features.
Cover the cage at night.Birds need about 10 hours of rest every night without interruption. Placing a cover over its cage can ensure the bird feels safe and isn’t interrupted. It also prevents sleep deprivation, which can harm of the health of your bird.
- Purchase a cover specifically for the bird cage or fashion one out of sheets and/ or pillow cases. Use a breathable fabric such as cotton to minimize the risk of suffocation.
Bird-Proofing Spaces Outside the Cage
Identify the most hazardous household materials.Birds are very sensitive animals. Items that may not harm larger animals, such as dogs or cats, can kill a bird, so avoid using these near your bird. Knowing the most hazardous items in your home can minimize the risk of harm or death to your bird. They include:
- Air fresheners
- Scented candles
- Teflon and non-stick cookware
- Paint flakes
- Overhead fans
- Other animals
Recognize that birds love to chew.You likely plan on allowing your bird out of its cage when you are supervising it. Even in these situations, it’s important to be aware that birds will chew anything in sight. Recognizing what items may attract your bird to nibble can remind you to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations in your home. Birds like to chew:
- Walls—most paints are hazardous to birds
Remove living and dining room hazards.Birds love attention from their human and you may spend a lot of time with your pet in the living or dining room. Scan and remove potentially dangerous items such as including electrical wires and cords, toys, and curtains. This may prevent injury and even death.
- Check for dangling wires or cords from electronics including TVs, stereos, DVD players, telephones and lamps. Hide them to deter chewing by your bird. Consider covering electrical outlets to prevent electrocution through chewing. Get rid of frayed wires, which can also electrocute your bird.
Close doors, windows, and vents.Birds are very sensitive to temperature shifts, which can shock and/ or kill a bird. Before letting your bird out of its cage, make sure all windows and doors are closed to decrease drafts. Cover heating and air vents to minimize the risk of your bird burning itself or being exposed to extreme temperatures.
- Recognize that closing windows, doors, and vents may prevent your bird from escaping.
Watch out for curtains.A bird’s claws can get caught in curtains. The cords can also entangle your bird. Keeping your bird’s claws clipped or using blinds instead of curtains can minimize the risk of harm.
Move poisonous plants.Many people keep colorful plants to decorate their homes. But many plants are poisonous for birds. Move any potentially poisonous plants to areas your bird can’t access.Some common house plants that are poisonous to birds include:
- Hyacinth bulbs
- Iris ivy
- Lily of the valley
Look for bedroom dangers.Birds like to hide or nest in small spaces. Even seemingly non-hazardous items such as shoes can expose your bird to harm. Covering potentially comfy hiding and nesting spots can prevent you or other animals from accidentally harming your bird.
- Make sure laundry is in a covered basket or container. Hang and store clothing in closets and dressers so your bird can’t access them as easily. Clothing may have threads or embellishments that can entangle your bird.
- Store shoes in containers, a closet, or on a shoe rack to prevent chewing and hiding in them.
- Cover or hide any wires as you would in other rooms.
- Make sure your bird can’t access perfumes, sprays or lotions that can access and which may harm your bird.
- Make sure you haven’t accidentally closed your bird in a closet or drawer when you leave the room. Avoid sleeping with your bird because you can easily roll over and crush it.
Navigate the kitchen with caution.The kitchen can present your bird with a host of potential dangers including boiling water, fumes, toxic foods and drowning in the sink. Consider keeping your bird out of the kitchen to minimize the risk of injury or death. If your bird enjoys the kitchen, keep it in a space away from stoves, ovens, sinks, and appliances.
- Recognize that smoke fumes from overheated foods and oils can harm your bird.
- Be careful using pump or aerosol sprays around birds, even from cooking products.
- Keep your bird away from non-stick cookware and appliances such as pots, waffle irons, slow cookers, and drip pans. These can expose your bird to toxic fumes that can kill it.
- Make sure your garbage can is secured with a lid so that your bird can’t hide. An open garbage can also expose your bird to harmful substances including butter and grease, chocolate, salt, alcohol, garlic, coffee, onion, and yeast dough.
- Store food in airtight containers and in cabinets so your bird can’t access it. Keep wrapped food in cabinets as well.
- Make sure any cleaners, medications, or other chemicals are securely closed and stored in a cabinet you’re your bird can’t access.
- Keep sharp objects such as knives in a drawer or cabinet.
- Cover and unplug any kitchen appliances that you are not using.
Make the bathroom safe.The bathroom can present your bird a variety of hazards just like the kitchen. Remove or securely store chemicals or potentially harmful items such as hairsprays, lotions, and even old towels. This minimizes the risk of injury or death.
- Store any cleaners, medications and personal items in cabinets that your bird can’t access. Things such as toilet cleaner, vitamins, supplements, shaving creams, and hair dyes can harm or kill your bird.
- Recognize that heat curling irons can give off toxic fumes.
- Close the toilet lid at all times to minimize the risk of your bird drowning.
Let birds interact with other pets—with caution.You may have cats, dogs, or other animals you have as pets in addition to your bird. Familiarizing your pets with one another and supervising them can minimize the risk of harm to your bird.
- Make sure you are always present when your animals are together. Even if they are used to one another, there is no guarantee that an excited dog or cat won’t pounce on a bird.
- Introduce your birds and other pets gradually. Consider using a training program to help other animals interact with your bird.
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