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Bird Proofing Your Home

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Providing a safe environment for your bird is the only way to have a healthy and long-lived feathered friend. If you already have a bird or are thinking of adding one to your family, consider these common safety issues to insure a healthy environment for your bird.

Make sure the perches in his cage are smooth with no splinters and are the proper width to allow your bird to grasp and hold. The cage needs to be made of safe material – avoid lead and zinc. Toys in the cage must be securely fastened and should not have anything sharp or tiny enough to swallow.

Choose the best location for your bird. Because of the many dangers in the kitchen, the kitchen is a bad idea. Fumes, drafts and temperature fluctuation, especially during cooking, can have a significant effect on your bird's health. Burnt non-stick cookware gives off potentially fatal fumes and kitchen cleaning supplies can also be harmful. If your bird is allowed to fly free, beware of the dangers of a hot stove. Hot burners can cause serious burns and birds often succumb to burn injury.

If you are going to let your bird fly free in your home, there are many things to consider. Make sure your windows are covered with shades or curtains. Sometimes birds cannot tell there is glass and will try to fly outside, resulting in head injury. Open windows need strong screens; check for rips or tears in all your screens, including screen doors.

For obvious reasons, ceiling fans are hazardous to birds. Also, make sure to close the toilet lid when your bird flies free. Small birds have been known to perch on the wide seat and fall in, only to drown in the water. And make sure to cover your fireplace. If the fire is not going, make sure to close the flue. Birds can escape up and out an open chimney.

Finally, birds like to explore their world with their mouths. This means that houseplants may get tasted or perched on. Of course, cacti and birds don't get along, and some other types of plants may be toxic. Make sure to check whether your houseplants are safe for your bird. Better yet, don't allow your bird access to any plants.

By providing a safe home, your bird will be happier and healthier.

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