Tips on how to keep your birds away from the emergency vet this holiday season!
1. Christmas trees can look like a lot of fun to a companion parrot but some can be toxic to birds. Monitor your bird when they are out in areas where the tree is located. These trees once lived outside and can have sap which is hard to get out of feathers and the tree was exposed to wild birds and other animals including lice and mites. They can also be sprayed with chemicals and if it's a potted, live tree the soil may contain fertilizer.
2. Many holiday decorations can be toxic because of what they are made of. Ornaments can be made of unsafe metals, glitter, paint, and other moving parts. Ribbons and tinsel can cause intestinal blockages which can lead to a huge vet bill or worse.
3. Electric wires such as extension cords, Christmas lights, etc. can look enticing to a traveling bird and if chewed could cause an electrical shock, a fire in the home, injury or worse.
4. Many holiday plants are dangerous: Chrysanthemum, English Ivy, Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia, and Yew are examples.
5. Strong fumes can be irritating and even dangerous. Candles, potpourri, room fresheners, cigarette smoke, cooking fumes especially from overheated Teflon pans should be avoided not just over the holidays but at all times. Birds possess a highly efficient respiratory tract and they can extract more oxygen from the air. This means they can inhale more harmful substances. Don't forget those cinnamon scented pinecones too, those are too strong!
6. Cleaning agents such as bleach, carpet cleaner, Windex, scrubbing bubbles, Ajax, etc. should be avoided. We recommend vinegar and water. It sterilizes just as well as most over the counter products and will not harm your birds.
7. Do not offer holiday treats to your birds like salty snacks, items containing caffeine, avocado, chocolate, alcohol, and rhubarb. No matter how cute your birds is being to get that yummy food remember to think of the long term health of your feathered friend and say no or substitute something they can have so they feel like they are a part of the festivities.
8. If you are planning on having company in spite of the pandemic; just be aware of your birds stress level and be prepared to either move them to a cage in another room for some down time. Having strangers in their environment can create anxiety especially if there is a high level of activity that they are not used to.
We encourage you to decorate but monitor your bird during the holiday season to make sure they remain safe and ready for Santa Beak to visit.