We all want our winter holiday season to be a safe happy time of the year. Here are a few suggestions and thoughts on how to help keep everyone safe during this often hectic time of year.
Plants & Trees: Birds should not be allowed to chew on the Christmas tree whether it is a live tree or artificial. Unless you know FOR SURE that your live tree has not been treated with any chemicals or pesticides, it's best to keep your bird at a safe distance. Also remember that mistletoe berries, holly berries, and Poinsettias are generally considered highly toxic plants to all pets.
Holiday Decorations: Although not many of us today still use the silvery strands of tinsel, and if you do although it does not contain any lead, it is definitely not a good idea to let your bird chew on it. Tinsel, strings of small beads, and some garlands can too easily tangle around tiny toes, legs or other body parts. Not all tree ornaments are safe either so keep a keen eye on your feathered friend when enjoying the holidays.
Beware also of fake snow or tree flocking which can pose a serious hazard and possible injury to your bird.
Double check to be sure all electrical cords for holiday lights as well as extension cords to hold all the extra plugins are safely out of your bird's reach. One small bite of an electrical cord can be deadly.
Aromas: Most candles contain essential oils which can be very toxic to birds when burned. Usually, the better the candle smells, the more dangerous it usually is. Better to simply enjoy the look of holiday candles scattered around for a festive look, rather than burning them anywhere near your bird.
Also be aware of the dangers of potpourri and pine scented sprays to make your home smell like the outdoors as they also can pose dangers for your bird.
You can make our own wonderful holiday smells by simply adding some cloves and cinnamon to water in a simmering pot. Just be sure the simmering pot does not boil dry and always unplug it when you leave the house.
Fireplaces: Although your bird may have his own Christmas stocking hanging by the fireplace, make sure the wood you burn is safe. Some Yule logs and holiday fire starters may contain heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and such. A bird's lungs and air sacs are very susceptible to smoke so check to be sure your fireplace draws as it should up the chimney. Making sure the room is well ventilated if you warm up your home with a nice holiday fire can save worry later. Also, don't forget to close the screen to prevent any accidental fly-ins and potential burns.
Gifts: Everybody loves getting and unwrapping presents, and your bird will too. Just be sure to wrap your bird's presents only in plain paper or what you know to be bird-safe wrappings, and let the fun begin. A plain lunch bag also makes a great wrapper for your bird's enjoyment of getting to the goodies.
Edible Goodies: First and foremost, be sure to keep your bird away from all the kitchen fumes. Remember Teflon-coated or any nonstick cookware should never, never, never be used in a home with birds. This type of cookware contains polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which is lethal to birds often causing death within only minutes. Many self-cleaning ovens are coated in PTFE also.
Share the healthy foods you prepare and keep the extra goodies at a minimum. No matter how much your bird begs, he or she really doesn't need any of the extra sweet or salty holiday goodies. Never give your bird (or allow anyone else either) alcoholic beverages, coffee or chocolate. Keeping some birdie treats handy will help your bird feel included with all the family.
The Other Stuff: If you entertain a lot during this festive time of year, you may want to designate a quiet place in a bedroom where your bird can be moved while there are lots of family and friends visiting. This can be the designated stress-free zone (you might want to take a break there occasionally yourself).
We hope you and all your feathered friends enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.
Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings from our Flock to Yours!