What hazards should you be aware of this Christmas as a conscientious bird owner?
Christmas is a great time for families and friends, but it can be a hazardous time for parrots if you don’t plan ahead.
So what risks at home should you look out for with the festivities approaching?
Are Christmas trees safe for birds?
Real Christmas trees
Parrots love trees, after all, it’s where many of their ancestors originate from. However, it’s not a good idea to let your parrot hang around the Christmas tree. Not only could the tree topple over, but she may be tempted to nibble on it, resulting in a choking risk.
Pine and spruce branches are considered safe however, be aware that if the tree has been sprayed with an insecticide or a preserving agent it could be toxic.
Also, be aware that any sap produced by the tree could stick to your parrots feathers.
Fake Christmas trees
These are generally safe for your parrot, however you should be aware that your parrot might try to eat the fake needles, which could present a choking hazard.
Baubles, lights and ornaments
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without tree baubles and lights. However be mindful that your parrot may see these as shiny new toys and play with them.
With their sharp bite, parrots can easily chew through things, which could lead to her getting hurt, potentially quite badly. So be aware of where she is at all times.
Loose string and cable also pose a tangle risk, so be aware.
Christmas plants and flowers
We all love to have pretty flowers around the home, especially at Christmas. However, plants like ivy, holly and poinsettia can be poisonous for birds. This also includes chrysanthemum, yew and mistletoe.
If you want to keep these plants in your home, ensure your bird can’t get anywhere near them.
Room fragrances and lit candles
Room fragrances can make a room smell warm and inviting. However if you own a parrot they should be avoided as they can affect your parrot’s sensitive respiratory system.
Some parrot owners have reported issues where their parrot has suffered with breathing difficulties simply because a plug in air freshener has been installed.
The same should be said for candles. When burnt, candles can release toxic fumes and these could pose a threat to your parrot. Beeswax candles are thought to be the safest for your parrot, however, if in doubt, don’t use any.
Christmas is often the time we catch up with family and friends, and enjoy socialising. However, the disruption of having lots of new and noisy visitors in your parrot’s home could lead to her becoming distressed. Birds like stability and routine, and a sudden upset in this could lead to feather plucking or screaming.
Bear these things in mind, and try to give your parrot extra attention, should your house be extra busy.
If your parrot does begin to exhibit signs of stress, speak to your vet about what you should do.
Open doors and windows
When you’ve got visitors coming and going the open door is an invitation for your parrot.
Make sure your parrot is safely away from the door when visitors arrive or leave, and that any open windows are covered with blinds or mesh.
Don’t forget that your back door also poses a threat, so whether you’re popping to the bins, tidying the garden, or ventilating the house, remember to check your parrot is safe and secure indoors first.
You may like to read this Keeping your parrot safe – security and identification.
Picky foods, alcohol and general yummy grub
We love to leave bits and pieces of delicious food around the house during the seasonal period. And as much as we love our nibbles, so will your parrot.
Our food isn’t that great though for your parrot. Nuts can present a choking hazard, and are often loaded with salt, and many foods can be harmful. (To find out which foods your parrot can eat check out our articles What your parrot can eat, diet and food ideas and Safe food and plants list.
Your parrot would even try your alcoholic drink if you leave it lying around, so make sure she can’t get at it. The last thing you want is an intoxicated parrot, and a possible vet visit over Christmas.
Make sure your parrot is safe if she’s in the kitchen
Boiling pans and hot oven trays
With all the excitement of preparing a seasonal meal, make sure your parrot doesn’t try to ‘lend a claw’.
Keep your parrot away from those boiling pans and hot oven trays as you prepare your festive treats. Their curiosity can get them into trouble, and could end up with a nasty scald or burn.
Non stick pans and Teflon Toxicity
Non stick pans and oven trays are a great invention, however, if you burn them, the fumes can pose a threat for your bird.
Burnt Polytetrafluorethylene (or Teflon, to go by its most popular brand name) releases dangerous toxins into the air that are highly toxic for birds, resulting in severe respiratory distress.
Don’t use non-stick pans if you can help it, and if you do need to use them, keep your bird well away from the kitchen when you’re cooking. Fumes can travel to other rooms, so keeping your parrot elsewhere isn’t always going to be deterrent.
Loud music and noisy people
If your bird isn’t used to loud music or noisy people, this could upset her. If playing loud music, try keeping it to an area she’s not in, so that it doesn’t affect her as much.
Visitors may also not be as conscious of your parrot’s safety as you are, which could also lead to accidental injuries for her.
If you decide to have fireworks, make sure that you close the curtains and shut any windows before setting them off. Playing your parrots favourite tv or radio show can also help, acting as a distraction. Check out our article on fireworks and pets.