As I anticipate the possibility of snow and ice that our local weather forecasters have predicted for our area, I remind myself that all winter weather emergencies should be prepared for way-way before necessary. No one wants to be that person standing in long lines trying to grab the last of the emergency items needed.
Living in the south, a few inches of snow and the least bit of ice can pretty much shut down everything. Only the very brave (or very dumb) are usually willing to venture out onto the icy roads with all the crazy drivers slipping, sliding, and spinning around often making a bad situation even worse.
Here is a list of some items you might want to always have on hand just in case you are snowed in for a few days. Not to mention being prepared for the possibility of dealing with a power outage due to icy power lines or falling tree limbs.
Here are some emergency items I always have on hand for my birds:
- Extra Seed, pellets, dried fruit/veggie foods that don't have to be refrigerated
- Emergency Avian First Aid Kit
- Emergency Carrier
- Warm blanket or quilt to cover the cage or carrier
- Tear up toys for stressed or bored birds
Other items good to have on hand include:
- a flashlight & extra batteries
- warm blankets or quilts for the humans
- bottled water for both my birds and myself
- hot snap hand warmers (optional) but kind of nice for the human and they can be placed under carriers for extra warmth.
Many people keep extra bird food in their freezer and rotate it out as needed so they always have some extra on hand for emergencies. A very good idea.
If you lose power you will need that flashlight, but make sure the light from the flashlight does not frighten your bird as it will be an unknown moving object to your bird.
If your only source of heat is electric and a power outage occurs, placing a blanket or quilt over your bird's cage can help keep your bird's environment warmer for a while. Placing your bird in a carrier is a smaller space to keep your bird warm in.
If you find you do need to use a carrier for your bird for both safety and warmth, that really nice tear up bird toy may help keep your bird occupied, calmer, and busy while in the carrier.
VERY IMPORTANT! - Never use Kerosene heaters around birds as the fumes can be toxic and can kill your bird.
My personal research on the use of propane or butane heaters is a little confusing as it seems split 50/50 on yay or nay. Many avian experts say do not use either propane or butane heaters around birds. However, some bird owners say they have used them with no ill effects on their birds. One source I found stated that butane is not a highly toxic gas and can be stored inside your home. Whether that means you can also use it safely in your home with birds, is an unknown definite to me and I personally tend to err on the side of unknown safety, means no safety.
It is, however a known fact that propane or butane heaters used without adequate combustion or ventilation can give off excessive carbon monoxide which is an odorless, poisonous gas, deadly to birds, and even humans. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning in humans are similar to flu-like symptoms, including a headache, dizziness, and nausea. For birds sadly there would be no warning to let you know there is a problem.
If you do have to use one of the above sources of heat in a prolonged severe emergency, please be sure to ventilate the area to help protect your bird as well as yourself. I encourage everyone to do their own research into these methods of supplemental heating as well as gas burning fireplaces before any emergency occurs.
A gas burning fireplace has been considered unsafe by many in the bird world but some of the newer gas burning fireplaces may have extra precautions of safety built into them. Again, I encourage everyone to research and even contact the manufacturer of your particular brand for more information and safety precautions.
If you are having to use a wood burning fireplace for heat, make sure your room is well vented and no smoke is coming into the room where your bird is. Before winter sets in it is a good idea to make sure your fireplace is clean and free of creosote and any leftover nesting materials by birds who may have set up housekeeping in the chimney over the summer.
Creosote is a residue that accumulates in your chimney from wood burning and can be extremely flammable.
Stay warm, stay safe, and stay inside if you can.