In addition to non stick cookware, common sources of other toxic fumes include perfume, hairspray, oven cleaner, bug sprays, carpet fresheners and cleaning products, aerosol cleaners, air fresheners and cigarette smoke. The lungs and air sacs of birds are more sensitive even than a humans, and breathing dangerous fumes can kill quickly. Even non toxic paint must dry before it is completely safe. If you must use any of these products, put your Quaker in another room with the door shut and provide plenty of ventilation.
When using extremely strong products such as paint, varnish, bug bombs, sprays, or carpet cleaning solutions, I recommend boarding your Quaker at a friends house or other safe haven until the fumes have completely dissipated, and residuals have been discarded. Quakers can become seriously or fatally ill if they eat a roach that has been poisoned, and other insects including spiders and beetles may also poison birds that eat them. Since we cannot ensure that these pests will never gain access to our homes always watch your Quakers carefully when it is on the floor. Like the old saying, its better to be safe than sorry!
Cats prey on birds by instinct, and dogs may consider small birds as play toys. I never trust a cat or a dog to interact safely with any of my birds, no matter how disinterested they may seem to be. Even in innocent supervised play, another pet can seriously injure your Quaker. It can take less pressure to break a Quaker’s leg than it takes to break a toothpick. Always remember that safety issues are life and death matter for our birds. Avoid placing them in jeopardy by keeping them away from other animals. A fatal accident can take only seconds.
The key to allowing children to interact with your Quaker is safety, intelligence, supervision and the personality of your bird. Loud squawking can frighten young children, and beaks and nails can injure them. On the other hand, children can pose a risk to your bird. Most Quakers do not like very young children, those around the age of 8 or younger. I think it may be due to their small size! In any event, children should be taught to respect your bird, and teasing must be avoided.
Unfortunately, children don’t always look at what they do as teasing, but the bird probably will. My son had a bad habit of sticking his finger in my birds faces or directly below it, under the disguise of “petting” them on the head. He has of course been bitten a few times for his trouble! Older children are tolerated well, but I suspect they aren’t exactly considered favorites. At any rate, they also must be taught the hazards of aerosols, cleaning products and chemicals.
In a domestic environment, it often seems that a Quaker’s mission is to “seek and destroy”. This is caused in part, I believe by their natural instinct to forage for food, which in turn allows them to chew plants and strip bark from trees. And although some of what they find in your home can be sagely eaten, most was never intended to be ingested by a bird. We must all, as responsible Quaker owners, educate ourselves on these dangerous items and either remove then or keep them away from out birds.
Toxic foods include chocolate, cherry seeds or pits, apple seeds, and avocado skin. And while some common plants re sage, fertilizers and insecticides are not: therefore any plants treated with these chemicals become toxic. Chemicals travel throughout a plants system, and the ingestion of any part of the plant, including leaves, stems, etc, can poison your Quaker.
Quakers find shiny jewelry especially attractive. Dangling earrings, necklaces, and rinds are an open invitation to chew and conquer, and it is best to remove this type of jewelry when handling your Quaker. Costume jewelry can contain a lead-alloy solder or lead based paint which is poisonous to birds.
If your Quaker eats or breathes something you suspect maybe toxic, contact your avian vet immediately. If you are unable to reach a vet, you can call the National Animal Poison Control Center at (800) 548-2423. Prepare for your call by noting the time your bird was exposed to the toxin, the manufacturers name, and any ingredients you can find listed on packaging. The cost of the call is $30.00 per case (credit cards only) If you do not have a credit card, you may call (900) 680-0000 for $2.95 per minute.