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Keeping the Holidays Safe

Macawnutz

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Baking, Cooking and Eating
Especially in this season I hear many heart-breaking stories of how pet birds have died because people didn’t realize the dangers involved in their activities.


  1. Non-stick coating (PBFE). Odorless and invisible to us, fumes emitted from overheating non-stick surfaces will kill your bird. I have yet to meet an avian veterinarian who has seen a bird survive this exposure. The toxin travels on air currents and kills birds by blocking their ability to absorb oxygen, an agonizing death. PBFE can be found in non-stick cookware, burner liners, self-cleaning ovens, curling irons, irons, ironing board covers, warm air humidifiers, metal interior non-stick slow cookers, bakeware, etc. Now I see that there is a new product – aluminum foil with non-stick coating made by Reynolds. This kind of foil is also referred to as “quick release style”. This foil is coated with PBFE and is not safe for your birds.
    ***Do use uncoated steel, ceramic, aluminum or glass cookware
  2. Avoid sharing certain foods with your birds (be sure to remind your guests as well):
    – beverages: alcoholic, caffeinated, soda pop, egg nog, milk
    – onions (cause anemia), chocolate (toxic), foods high in sugar, salt or oils (avoid sharing junk food in general)
    ***Do have on hand human-grade unsalted roasted nuts for your birds (preferably not peanuts to reduce the risk of aflatoxin poisoning of the liver)
Holiday Decoration
Holiday time is full of new sights, sounds, materials and activities, many of which are tempting and dangerous for your birds.


  1. Fresh Christmas trees (fir and pine) are not poisonous, but they do have stick sap. There is a risk of physical injury from sharp needles, so be sure to select one with soft fresh needles. If birds injest pine needles they can have gastric upset. Cedar contains oils that can be irritating to toxic depending on exposure and the size of your bird. Many trees that are bought have been treated with pesticides, and chemicals to "R" word transpiration to keep them fresher longer, so you want to prevent your birds from chewing on them. Tree water is not good for your birds to drink (would you drink it?) as it can contain fertilizers and bacteria like pseudomonas that love to grow in standing water.
  2. Older artificial trees may be made with PVC. If these trees are placed near heat (like a fireplace or radiator) toxic fumes may be emitted. Some older plastics can break down into a dust that contains lead (also in old mini-blinds).
  3. Any trees or other tempting decorations may be attractive to our birds as a natural roost or to climb. This by itself is not dangerous, but they may cause a tree or other decorations to fall over and cause injury or fire.
  4. Mistletoe berries are toxic and should be kept out of the reach of birds. Ingestion can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behaviors, hallucinations and death (bad).
  5. Holly berries cause digestive irritation, intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression.
  6. Poinsettia can cause digestive and eye irritation.
  7. Angel hair and tinsel can be entangling, and can block airways and the GI tract if ingested.
  8. Snow spray,if from an aerosol can, should not be sprayed around birds. Moreover, nothing aerosol should ever be used around birds as their respiratory systems are much more sensitive than ours and things that don’t bother us can injure or kill them from inhaling.
  9. Bubbling lights contain methylene chloride, a very toxic solvent that can cause irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes. Keep inquisitive beaks away from these decorations.
  10. Silica gel packages are frequently enclosed in packages of decorations, shoes, electronic and camera equipment. The crystals of silica gel are nontoxic, but GI tract obstruction is a possibility if the package is ingested whole by a large bird.
  11. Metallic, glass or plastic ornaments can be broken into sharp pieces resulting in cuts. There also may be lead in tree ornaments, especially if they are older or made outside the United States. Parts of tree ornaments can be ingested possibly leading to internal blockages. ***Non-toxic and attractive holiday decorations can be made using cranberries, popcorn, dried peppers, pine cones, and other items that can be strung without rotting.
  12. Electric lights and cords are dangerous. Most holiday light cords come with a warning label that they contain 2% lead. Consumers are advised to wash their hands after handling them and to keep children away. They are highly toxic to pets. Make sure as with all electrical cords that holiday cords are well hidden as birds may be tempted to chew them, which can result in burns, heart damage due to partial electrocution, or instant electrocution.
  13. Yule logs (colored fabricated logs) contain salts of heavy metals such as lead, copper, arsenic, barium and selenium. Chewing on these logs can cause heavy metal poisoning. Fumes from such logs can be dangerous as well. Of course, you want to prevent your birds from flying into an open fire or landing on hot embers.
  14. What is that in the air (it’s not your bird!) Candles and scented oils can contain volatile oils that are toxic to birds. Fragrant holiday candles (such as Glade brand) have been implicated in the deaths of pet parrots. Potpourri and incense also can contain dangerous volatile oils, so avoid their use around birds. Likewise air fresheners and room deodorizers can be deadly, avoid them. Cleaning products such as Arm and Hammer Pet Fresh carpet cleaner, Pine Sol and Endust can be deadly. ***To freshen a room’s scent, boil herbs such as cloves and cinnamon instead of using commercial products.
  15. Cigarette smoke can cause respiratory tract irritation and allergic skin disorders in birds as well as potential nicotine poisoning. Cigarette butts are highly toxic if ingested.
  16. Colored metallic gift wraps and bows may contain toxic metals. Provide your birds their own gifts wrapped in paper bags or newspaper, cellophane, tissue paper or non-glossy non-metallic paper without any tape as the glue used on tape can also be dangerous to them.



 
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Clueless

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Thank you!!!!
 

Aubrey

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Great reminder :)
 

Mockinbirdiva

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Thank you for posting!
 

rocky'smom

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This is why I don't put up a tree and any xmas decorations any more.
 
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