What it Takes to Be a Bird Owner.

Owning birds isn’t necessarily an easy thing – it’s not like having a dog or a cat. You can relax around a dog (in most cases) and not have to worry that it will bite you. In fact, a dog wants to please its master. Birds, however, should be considered closer to our equals. They feel no need to please in that same way dogs do, and have little concept of a hierarchy. With a bird, an owner needs to constantly watch its body language. Sometimes, parrots give off hints so subtle, it’s no more than the mere ruffling of the feathers on its neck that say ‘back off.’ Other times it’s as obvious as a hiss or an open beak.

Understanding avians is a trial at best. There are some exceptions, of course: birds that are extraordinarily good-natured or easy-going… But humans aren’t wild birds, able to read flock members instinctively, and therefore need to watch what our feathered friends tell us to make sure we don’t overstep a boundary. You could consider this a negative aspect of owning parrots – but for those of us who already do, it’s simply a fact of life. You learn to do it, or you get bitten.

Now, the second thing I posted on this blog was my thoughts on the pros and cons of owning parrots. This is because I felt (and feel) that a lot of people end up with birds without quite realising what kind of a lifestyle change it means to own one. Understanding that parrots aren’t like dogs and cats is very important – and another point I felt I should add to that list.

Moving on, I also wanted to elaborate on point number eight of that post: rearranging your lifestyle.

I recently had a friend (a non bird person) who reads my blog ask ‘Why give up teflon [nonstick] appliances?’ and I thought perhaps I should go more in depth on this point.

Teflon and nonstick coatings release toxic fumes at high temperatures, according to their manufacturers, and so you are instructed not to leave pans unattended on hot burners for long periods of time. What some don’t tell you, however, is that these fumes are actually released faster and at lower temperatures than previously thought. This can be deadly to birds. Check here for a bit more of a reputable source on teflon poisoning.

Many of us know that birds have sensitive respiratory systems. Things that don’t affect humans can send them into respiratory arrest – and, in fact, it’s being proven that teflon does affect humans. Although it won’t kill us at low temperatures, it can cause flu-like symptoms – and the flakes of damaged or ageing teflon can break off into the food we’re cooking, too. Yum.

An alternative? Stainless steel. Even this, however, can overheat and present a danger to your birds. Essentially, you need to keep your bird as far from the kitchen as possible – and watch your hob carefully. Why take chances?

Click here for some preventative tips.

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3 thoughts on “What it Takes to Be a Bird Owner.

  1. Hi – Just to let you know, fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just the Teflon® brand, can damage a bird’s lungs with alarming speed. Additional information can be found on our website Pet Bird Safety (www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/keyword/birds.html). We hope you find this information useful. Best, Sara.

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting! I actually wasn’t aware of this. I knew that overheated nonstick (I use Teflon as a generic term, even though it’s branded – kind of like Kleenex) could be quite dangerous to pet birds, and also that cookers and certain appliances are sometimes treated with nonstick coating, but hadn’t really given thought to other cookware overheating. I’ll post the link at the bottom for readers to check out. Cheers!

  3. Pingback: What it takes to be a bird owner. | Parrots, Prose, and Peanuts

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