Dangers to Conures

lisazartsi

New member
Sep 13, 2020
15
2
Southern Ontario
Parrots
Mama to a baby pineapple green-cheeked conure!
Hi again, friends!

Two posts in such a short amount of time may seem a bit crazy, I know, but I'm prepping to bring a new baby GCC home in about four weeks and I want to make sure I've cleansed my home of anything super toxic or dangerous.

We'll be living in a two-bedroom apartment for the next little bit. My plan is to keep the bird cage in one of the two bedrooms so that when my feathery friend is sleeping we can give him a safe and quiet space to do that. Also to provide a safe space where he can leave his cage freely and begin to interact with the environment around him. Eventually I'd like to open up his world to the living room area (once he's a bit more trained), but to start I'm thinking to sticking to just one room that I'll be in with him for hours each day (we'll put a tv and whatnot in this room).

I can't help but be a bit terrified after researching all the things that are toxic to birdies, so here's a plethora of questions for you!

I know that some types of wood are deemed unsafe, and one of my first questions is: if I place a hardwood desk I have in the room with my GCC and only allow him to come into contact with it during supervised play time, could this still be considered dangerous? I'm not sure what type of wood the desk is made from as it is quite old. I would make sure he doesn't eat fragments of the wood or anything like that. Basically, Are unsafe woods only toxic to birds when they chew at parts of it, or also when they land on them?

When it comes to cleaning products, I know it's recommended to use diluted vinegar and other natural products, but I'm wondering if it would be necessary for me to discard of all the current cleaning products I have and avoid using them forever in the same apartment as the bird, or if using them in areas I don't allow the bird to go would be alright? I'm specifically referring to things like bathtub cleaners that help to remove grime, kitchen sprays that just help to clean off pesky stains on stoves, etc. If I rinse the things I've cleaned with these products with soap and water after use, will they be safe once dried for the bird to come into contact with?

My next question is regarding laundry and dish detergents. I don't put my clothes in the dryer, so Bounce sheets would already be avoided, but I'm wondering if there are certain types of detergents that we would have to avoid (for both laundry and dishes)?

TEFLON. I know it's an evil, bird-killing substance when overheated, but I'm wondering if we use it to cook our eggs on low in the mornings in another room would be okay (it's just so easy to clean afterwards!)? We would use a ceramic non-stick for cooking on anything over medium heat, but if you guys think there's too much of a risk with the pan even on low, we'll ditch 'em!

What about lotions, perfumes, shampoos and/or sunscreens? Whether it be face lotion, body lotion, etc. I know it's supposed to be non-scented, but what if you put these things on hours before you're back in contact with your bird? Say I take a shower after I've put birdy to bed and I decide to moisturize afterwards. I won't be in contact with my bird until the next morning... Would this be alright? What if I put perfume on before going to work and it's worn off by the time I come home (or I shower before handling)? I don't completely understand just how sensitive little ones are to these things.

Lastly (for now, hehe), is fresh fruits and veggies. I've read a lot of mixed things on this... Some people say you need to remove the skins on things like apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. because it can be harmful and others don't bother. Which do you guys do? Additionally, what is the best way to clean fresh fruits and veggies, and how long is too long before they're no longer considered 'fresh'? Lastly, do you have to only provide organic fruits and veggies to your bird?

I know it's an overwhelming amount of questions... I'm feeling quite a bit anxious about getting a birdie because I would never forgive myself if it got sick or died because of something I neglected to check into. I know so many of you are experts, and I bow to your wisdom! Please shower me with knowledge! <3 :green:

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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,143
461
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I haven't read this all, but 500% no on teflon of any sort in the same house. It has killed birds through closed doors 2 floors up or down etc. SOME people have lucked out, but the severity and inconsistency of this killer is VERY VERY serious. I cannot emphasize how seriously I take this...DO NOT use it. It is not worth the risk.

You cannot use standard cleaners in an apartment with a bird...

This stuff kills them, for real. Teflon is the worst, but cleaners can as well. If you had 2 floors and wanted to clean lightly upstairs, you could possibly get away with cleaning with some milder chemicals (not bleach) UNLESS it goes through the vents-- this is not the case with Teflon, as we cannot smell it and it is extremely serious...regardless of the floor. teflon is inconsistent and deadly.

If you are using legit perfume, you still will have it on you and your clothes (even when your nose can't smell it). My sisters are Chanel users and I know they don't use much, but that stuff is SO STRONG...it hangs in fabrics etc (My youngest sister doesn't wear it when she comes over and I can still smell her from like 8 feet away (in clean clothes) because I do not use perfume with the bird). Watch "Stink" if you want to know more about the fragrance industry. My other younger sister stopped using it after developing breast cancer in her 20s. I probably sound like a health-nut freak- I'm not. I just have seen what this stuff can do to a bird. As a human, take your own risks, but not with a bird. On holidays etc, it's generally okay in small doses, but daily application is very bad for the bird, even hours later.
 
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lisazartsi

lisazartsi

New member
Sep 13, 2020
15
2
Southern Ontario
Parrots
Mama to a baby pineapple green-cheeked conure!
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I haven't read this all, but 500% no on teflon of any sort in the same house. It has killed birds through closed doors 2 floors up or down etc. SOME people have lucked out, but the severity and inconsistency of this killer is VERY VERY serious. I cannot emphasize how seriously I take this...DO NOT use it. It is not worth the risk.

You cannot use standard cleaners in an apartment with a bird...

This stuff kills them, for real. Teflon is the worst, but cleaners can as well. If you had 2 floors and wanted to clean lightly upstairs, you could possibly get away with cleaning with some milder chemicals (not bleach) UNLESS it goes through the vents-- this is not the case with Teflon, as we cannot smell it and it is extremely serious...regardless of the floor. teflon is inconsistent and deadly.

If you are using legit perfume, you still will have it on you and your clothes (even when your nose can't smell it). My sisters are Chanel users and I know they don't use much, but that stuff is SO STRONG...it hangs in fabrics etc (My youngest sister doesn't wear it when she comes over and I can still smell her from like 8 feet away (in clean clothes) because I do not use perfume with the bird). Watch "Stink" if you want to know more about the fragrance industry. My other younger sister stopped using it after developing breast cancer in her 20s. I probably sound like a health-nut freak- I'm not. I just have seen what this stuff can do to a bird. As a human, take your own risks, but not with a bird. On holidays etc, it's generally okay in small doses, but daily application is very bad for the bird, even hours later.
Thank you so much for your reply! I'll definitely follow that advice and get rid of our current non-stick pans (I've heard ceramic pans are best for bird-owners) and dispose of our standard cleaners before we adopt. I'm not much of a perfume-wearer anyways (I can't afford the good stuff, just the cheap body sprays), so that won't be a big lifestyle change! Are scented deodorant sticks under the same category?

When your sisters come by to visit your place, do you need to keep your birds at a safe distance from them due to their heavy scent?
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
12,508
10,378
USA
Parrots
Full house
Becareful of all cookware Noodkes can give you chemical names. But even ceramic they can coat with non stick crop. I use cast iron, glass abd stainless steel.

I'm not as strict as Noodles, I do use dilute bleach in bathrooms, with vent on , is it perfectly safe i dont know
I never use anything but dilute vinegar to clean burd stuff.
My big casserole dishes I use fir bstgs or to serve veggies i rinse very well aftertgey come out of dishwasher
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,143
461
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I haven't read this all, but 500% no on teflon of any sort in the same house. It has killed birds through closed doors 2 floors up or down etc. SOME people have lucked out, but the severity and inconsistency of this killer is VERY VERY serious. I cannot emphasize how seriously I take this...DO NOT use it. It is not worth the risk.

You cannot use standard cleaners in an apartment with a bird...

This stuff kills them, for real. Teflon is the worst, but cleaners can as well. If you had 2 floors and wanted to clean lightly upstairs, you could possibly get away with cleaning with some milder chemicals (not bleach) UNLESS it goes through the vents-- this is not the case with Teflon, as we cannot smell it and it is extremely serious...regardless of the floor. teflon is inconsistent and deadly.

If you are using legit perfume, you still will have it on you and your clothes (even when your nose can't smell it). My sisters are Chanel users and I know they don't use much, but that stuff is SO STRONG...it hangs in fabrics etc (My youngest sister doesn't wear it when she comes over and I can still smell her from like 8 feet away (in clean clothes) because I do not use perfume with the bird). Watch "Stink" if you want to know more about the fragrance industry. My other younger sister stopped using it after developing breast cancer in her 20s. I probably sound like a health-nut freak- I'm not. I just have seen what this stuff can do to a bird. As a human, take your own risks, but not with a bird. On holidays etc, it's generally okay in small doses, but daily application is very bad for the bird, even hours later.
Thank you so much for your reply! I'll definitely follow that advice and get rid of our current non-stick pans (I've heard ceramic pans are best for bird-owners) and dispose of our standard cleaners before we adopt. I'm not much of a perfume-wearer anyways (I can't afford the good stuff, just the cheap body sprays), so that won't be a big lifestyle change! Are scented deodorant sticks under the same category?

When your sisters come by to visit your place, do you need to keep your birds at a safe distance from them due to their heavy scent?

I specifically ask my sisters not to wear perfume when they visit, but they still smell like it strongly. If you have to be careful about one thing more than others, it should be Teflon and chemical relatives. Cleaners are dangerous, but slightly less so if far enough away.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,143
461
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
In an apartment, I would definitely invest in a solid non-ionizing,non UV sterilizing , non-ozone producing true hepa air purifier (the expensive kind-they have payment plans that are easy to get. Note:it doesn't make it safe to use dangerous stuff, but it can provide added protection). In such a small space, the air tends to be less healthy...especially given the presence of neighbors with bad habits, carpet, bird dander, maintenance people doing stuff outside etc etc. I lived with Noodles in an apartment (oy!) but my purifier was lower quality and if I could go back in time and change it, I would have upgraded sooner. The difference was noticeable.

I have an Alen purifier ---It was like $669 including the filter which lasted nearly a full year. I ran it on full blast 24/7 with a VERY dusty cockatoo and the purifier is excellent. Like I said, I changed the filter 1x a few weeks ago and I've had it since October...That is a savings compared to the cost of paying $50 a month for crappy refill filters in a crappy purifier.
Here's the exact product/filter: Alen BreatheSmart HEPA Air Purifier for Allergies, Chemicals and Cooking Odors - HEPA-FreshPlus / White
I don't represent them in any way lol- just like the product. Here is their link https://alen.com/products/breathesmart-air-purifier-w-hepa-freshplus-filter

Rabit Air is also very popular

Note: if you get a purifier, it CAN have an ionize, ozone or sterilize setting, as long as you never use it...so it must be able to be turned off. You also want to make sure that if the power goes out and the machine turns back on, that it doesn't start automatically with those functions running. I have a different one (not the Alen) that has these functions (but they are optional) and if you lose and regain power, the thing won't restart until you turn it back on.
 
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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,143
461
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I use "free and clear" laundry detergent in a house or apartment with an in-home washer/dryer. No dryer sheets.
The other detergents tend to be very strongly scented and I noticed that Noodles was acting sleepy when I ran the wash and so I switched.
I also wash her cage cover in the laundry machine, and I didn't like how perfumed the end result was, as I would be covering her with it at night.

If I have on sunscreen (the scented stuff that kids/adults wear) I shower or wash before handling her.
No bugspray---if you must wear it, don't put it on inside and don't go near your bird with it on.

I wash fruit/veg with water- I have a tap filter...I used to do only organic for things that could not be peeled...I have gotten more lax about that over the years though. I know that is less than ideal, but mine doesn't eat fruit peels and availability is limited, so I stopped being so strict about that.
I do give her filtered water, as the chlorine and chemicals in our tap water= high and because I live in an old house that has copper pipes + possible lead in the soldering . You can look up the water quality for your area in most cases, and it's really gross that certain chemicals (like pesticides) are in there in "allowable" levels for humans...

If you cleaned surfaces with things that are unsafe, try to rinse them, as you mentioned. It isn't ideal--- like, I wouldn't clean bird stuff with these cleaners and then depend on rinsing, but if you are talking about counters etc, you will be fine as long as your place has time to air out and you go over them with water. Unscented Magic Erasers work well for stains.
F10 SC is a great bird-safe disinfectant (way better at killing germs than vinegar--cost effective too, as it is a concentrate and a tiny bottle makes a ton).
Hydrogen Peroxide is also safe as long as it is the standard kind you buy at the store (3%?)---it's not as safe as F10, and I try not to use it in the same room with my bird, but it is useful in a spray bottle for cleaning.
Some other options for cleaning = grapefruit seed extract + water, or for scrubbing, baking soda.

I swear I am not one of those people who was uptight about any of this BEFORE getting a bird. I used Teflon, candles, cleaners...basically EVERYTHING that is horrible for birds. I only changed my lifestyle because I got her. Thankfully, I never used any of that stuff when I had her...but honestly, they are the canaries in the coal mine. If this stuff is going to kill her, it does make me grateful that I switched in some ways, because it was likely very bad for me as well (just not deadly).
 
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