Living with housemates, how do I keep my parrot alive?

FieryPhoenix

Well-known member
Jan 18, 2022
315
572
New York
Parrots
I Sun Conure who hatched March 23. 2004. I adopted her on May 8, 2005
I had a Quaker Parrot named Nikki who lived for 19 years
I grew up with Budgerigars named Screech, Zoar and Blue Baby
Okay, a little background. I currently live with my elderly parents. Please don't call me a loser. They are in their 80s, and I am in my 40s. This makes sense right now since we all help each other out. We have been living together for many years; I just didn't move in recently. I will be with them for the long haul since they could use extra hands around. As the only unmarried sibling in my family, I feel I am responsible for staying with them and looking after them through their golden years. Furthermore, desport working two hourly jobs, I am not able to live alone. So the living arrangement benefits the three of us.

We live in the family home that has two levels.

Having had birds of my own for two decades, I know the ins and outs of what you can't use around the house, but my parents really don't listen to me (they never did so not much has changed). It is impressive that my parrot is still alive. I don't know how she is still alive. I came home from work to find one of those air freshener things in the bathroom and panicked, telling my father that we couldn't have those near the bird.

The big thing that I can't seem to control is the nonstick cookware. Now, not everything in the kitchen is nonstick. We have stainless steel. I would love to get rid of all the nonstick stuff, but I that wouldn't go over with her or my father since they are technically the homeowners, not me. My mother has a large 8-quart pot she uses for making pasta and a little pot in which she boils her morning oatmeal. It's not Teflon but Caphelon, which I read is not safe for birds either I have told her that it is not secure, but she shrugs her shoulders and says, "Sorry." The only positive thing I can say is she doesn't fry anything. Since childhood, my mother has never fried anything. She always baked stuff as she claimed it was healthier for us kids.

Getting both of my parents to change their habits will prove impossible, given their age and the fact that they hold the high cards. I am not the homeowner or their kid, so I am not in charge.

Here is what I have been doing to keep my parrot minimal exposure to toxic stuff.

1. She is not in or near the kitchen when anyone is cooking. Even if someone is using a stainless steel pot, I don't want her near anything she can fall into or burn herself. When it comes to stuff happening in the kitchen, she is either in a room far away or on another floor.
2. I try to keep the house as ventilated as I possibly can, open windows

My parrot has survived the following in the past, and I don't know how

1. My mother using the self-cleaning function (thank God we don't use that anymore)
2. My parents spraying stuff in the air (air fresheners, germ-killing sprays)
3. My mother used to burn scented candles (she doesn't do that anymore).

Here are my two questions:
1. How the hell is my parrot still alive? Her last wellness exam, which included bloodwork, was in March, and she had no issues.
2. Is there anyone on here who lives with other people and is not on the same level as them when it comes to removing household hazards? Can
you give me some tips to keep her from getting sick and dying?
 
I commend you on all accounts! It sounds like you are very aware and doing all you can in your situation. I’m so glad you mentioned the self cleaning oven because that’s what I was going to say. I would like to add, even though I knew not to use the self cleaning feature, I lost birds once using the oven over 425°. so, high temps are dangerous too. I think your best bet is just to remove them somewhere safe and keep good ventilation like you said. There are so many toxins in our environments, It’s really hard to avoid them all so, ventilation is key. I remember we had lovebirds outside when I was a kid and the neighbor over the wall used some kind of aerosol pesticide and our birds were dead the next day. Be sure that all your neighbors know your situation. I’m glad you also know to avoid Teflon but as far as I know, it’s OK if you’re using it to boil things. It’s just not safe when the pan is hot and dry that it releases toxins in the air. I have heard too many teflon death stories for all pets. I wish you the best. 💛Lou
 
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I commend you on all accounts! It sounds like you are very aware and doing all you can in your situation. I’m so glad you mentioned the self cleaning oven because that’s what I was going to say. I would like to add, even though I knew not to use the self cleaning feature, I lost birds once using the oven over 425°. so, high temps are dangerous too. I think your best bet is just to remove them somewhere safe and keep good ventilation like you said. There are so many toxins in our environments, It’s really hard to avoid them all so, ventilation is key. I remember we had lovebirds outside when I was a kid and the neighbor over the wall used some kind of aerosol pesticide and our birds were dead the next day. Be sure that all your neighbors know your situation. I’m glad you also know to avoid Teflon but as far as I know, it’s OK if you’re using it to boil things. It’s just not safe when the pan is hot and dry that it releases toxins in the air. I have heard too many teflon death stories for all pets. I wish you the best. 💛Lou

Thank you for your response. I was literally crying over this as I don't want my parrot to die over something that could have been prevented. It is a sticky situation because these are my parents, and even at my age, I still want to show no disrespect. My mother had parakeets growing up, and we had them as kids. My mother doesn't know or understand any of this stuff, and at her age, she is a creature of habit, so even when I tell her not to do this or that, it backfires. You can't tell people what to do, especially your parents. World War Three would break out if I secretly removed the pots.

My other parrot died last year (from liver disease), and since her death, I am now hyperaware of everything that can happen.

My Sun had a vet appointment today because she needed her nails trimmed. I discussed this with the vet, and he basically told me that nothing could be done because once the toxic fumes are released, they spread through the air very fast. I also felt like an idiot as I am older than he is and he probably doesn't live with his parents.

I would say our Kitchen is very well-ventilated. It is not in the middle of the house. It never gets steamy or smokey, as we don't fry anything. Actually, we are not much of cooks, to begin with. We mostly boil stuff or bake stuff in the oven, nothing above 425 degrees. We never leave anything unattended, especially anything on the stove top.

I have just been so worried lately because it seems that anything can kill your bird. I just read about hair dryers, and I have used mine in front of her before. I don't do that anymore. I close the bathroom doors if I am blowdrying my hair.

With all the possible things that could kill her. It's amazing she is still alive and healthy.
 
Oh goodness, that’s so much stress. You’re wise to be aware and your concerns are certainly justified. I would advise to just take a deep breath with each new day and take your challenges one day at a time. The vet is right about how fast toxic fumes work but be careful not to live in fear. It sounds to me that you’re doing the very best you can. Enjoy your resilient feathered friend 🥰 You’re a gem respecting your position with your parents too. 💛Lou
 
Just a thought… cause it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the fact that you seem to be your feather baby’s only advocate. Try using terms of endearment with your mom. My mom calls our parrots her “Grand Peeps” and she’s ALL IN with her title. Hopefully your mom takes a grandparent role more seriously if you bless her with the “grandparrot” title. 💛Lou
 
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Just a thought… cause it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the fact that you seem to be your feather baby’s only advocate. Try using terms of endearment with your mom. My mom calls our parrots her “Grand Peeps” and she’s ALL IN with her title. Hopefully your mom takes a grandparent role more seriously if you bless her with the “grandparrot” title. 💛Lou
She's Nanna LOL! She does love my Sunny. She loves to give Sunny her favorite treats. I know the love is there. She is just set in her ways. Both of my parents are. Both are stubborn.
 
Another thing you could try is running an air purifier in the room where your bird spends most of her time. It won’t catch all toxins but it will help. I use one made by Honeywell and have been very happy with it.
 
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Another thing you could try is running an air purifier in the room where your bird spends most of her time. It won’t catch all toxins but it will help. I use one made by Honeywell and have been very happy with it.
Yeah, I looked into that, but it doesn't protect against the PFOA and PTFE toxins.

My father is backing me up on this and is giving me the go ahead in to order a couple of items from Caraway (nonstick but nontoxic). It's going to cost me a pretty penny, but at least it will alleviate my anxiety. At this point, I just need to switch out a baking sheet, a small saucepan, and a Dutch oven, as these are the items she mainly uses.
 

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