How to Protect Your Bird From Poor Air Quality

How to Protect Your Bird From Poor Air Quality

Fires, Smog, Chemical Spills ...

Mother nature, disasters, and environmental issues arise and affect the air quality.  When that happens, our parrots are gravely affected.  Parrots have one of the most intricate respiratory systems on the planet.  They breath so efficiently that any abnormality in the air quality can be a quick death sentence.  

Us parrot lovers know of the hazards of teflon, aerosols and scents on our parrots respiratory system.  These kind of hazards tend to be easily managed.  "Just don't do it!"

But environmental hazards often come unannounced and require immediate action in order to save our pets.  I can think of four times when I've literally had to act quickly or evacuate my own flock.  All involved fire.

The first time was when an apartment building caught fire within several feet from my location.  We ran HEPA air filters in the bird room and used moist towels over cages and to block air from coming in doorways and windows to keep the air clean and our flock safe.

Next, when in our Colorado Springs location, we endured two summers of horrific fires.  The above photo is literally the smoke cloud as I drove out of town, birds in tow.  You can see the orange flames reflecting on the bottom of the smoke cloud.

And then, my neighbors house burned up, two doors down, infiltrating my home with so much smoke that I walked through every room to find out where it was coming from.  Maybe not the smartest and safest approach, but I had parrots to protect!

My advice....Have an evacuation plan.  You should anticipate that air quality issues beyond your control will arise.  Think 9-11, Katrina, tornado's, fires and smog alerts. Train wrecks and chemical spills happen. You will be wise to plan ahead.

What to do when your poor air quality happens: If You Must Leave

Prepare a Parrot Evacuation Kit Ahead of Time

  • Prepare a parrot evacuation kit in a large plastic tub ahead of time. Pack the following
      • Paper towels
      • Avian safe disinfectant like Avitech Aviclean
      • Avitech Avicalm - parrot calming formula
      • Parrot first aid kit
      • Your parrots medical records
      • Parrot identification information
      • A list of where to go and a nearby avian veterinarians 
    • Plan your escape.  That means have bird carriers ready.  Keep a plastic tub of parrot evacuation supplies ready (see above). Know where to go.  
      Timmy in her cage and ready to evacuate

      What to do when your poor air quality happens: If staying home

      • Consider purchasing an air filter, especially if you live in fire zones, smog zones or locations with otherwise poor air quality. Guess what?  Worst case scenerio... you use the HEPA filter air cleaner to rid your home of furnace destructive bird dust. 
      • If your bird is housed in an outdoor aviary, bring it inside immediately
      • "Tighten the hatch" by closing all doors and windows.
      • Place a moist towel at the base of any external doors to prevent toxins coming in from gaps.
      • Run your air conditioner.
      • Maintain air circulation (ceiling fans)
      • Run an air filter if you have one.
      • Cover your bird’s cage with a moist cover (not saturated as you still want air to pass through).  Don’t forget to cover any travel cages if you’re going to a safer location.
      • Increase bathing opportunities for your birds to wash smoke or other debris off of feathers.  Misting sprays are wonderful for this.
      • Provide plenty of fluids for your birds.
      • Eliminate flying opportunities or any activity that increases a bird’s breathing rate. Keep your birds quietly occupied.

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      • Diane Burroughs