Is Your Home Bird Proof? Create a Safe Environment for Your Parakeet
In any given home, there are countless items and situations that can be very hazardous to a Parakeet. Before letting him out of his cage, it's important to go through your house and remove anything that might hurt him.
Since the list of hazards in the home can be almost endless, it's often easiest to confine him to one room. That way, your parakeet can have some time outside of his cage, and it won't be such a hassle for you to locate and eliminate potential dangers. Try picking a large bedroom or sectioning off the living room. Then, make sure that room doesn't contain any of the following common hazards for parakeets.
Open Windows or Doors
This is the first thing you should check. All windows and doors should be closed to prevent escape. This is especially true if you are giving your parakeet access to your whole house, rather than one room. This greatly increases the chance that your parakeet may accidentally discover an open window or door you forgot to check. And once he gets out, he is exposed to a whole new set of dangers. This is why I suggest limiting your parakeet's available space to just one room, it leaves much less open to chance!
Many of the products you normally use in your home can be dangerous for parakeets. It's important to locate and remove them from the area before letting your parakeet roam free. These hazardous items may include:
- Cleaning products. Make sure everything is put away so that your parakeet won't get near it.
- Food and drink. My parakeet is always interested in what I've got on my plate and in my glass. The last thing I want is for her to get a big gulp of something that can harm her. Make sure everything is put away before letting your parakeet out.
- Plants. Some plants can be poisonous to parakeets. Do your research and know about the plants that are in your home. If in doubt, remove it anyway.
Do a quick search of the area your bird will have access to and make sure there are no other accessible items that could harm him. Put them in another room or away in a cabinet.
Make sure there are no sources of excessive heat. Any candles should be extinguished, and the stove (if applicable) should be completely cool. Also, any candle warmers or space heaters should be turned off and cooled before your parakeet can get anywhere near them. Your bird doesn't know beforehand that the surface he's about to land on is hot. Don't let him find that out the hard way!
Mirrors and Windows
If there are any windows in the room, put the blinds down. Cover any large mirrors with a blanket. Your parakeet may mistake the reflective surface for open air and fly right into it! Have you ever seen a bird fly into a window and injure itself? This can happen to your parakeet if he hits hard enough into a reflective surface. In some cases, this can even cause death.
Other pets should be secured in another room while your parakeet is flying free. This is especially true if your bird's wings are clipped, which hinders his ability to take flight and get away from a predator.
In some cases, some animals may be okay with your bird. I know my dog absolutely loves my parakeet and is extremely gentle with her. I know some people who have raised kittens along side domesticated birds, and as adults the cats won't try to hurt the birds. If this is the case and you know for sure your pet will be okay with the bird, fine. But if you aren't entirely sure, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Remember that pets are still animals, and instinct can sometimes trump even the best training (especially for cats!). Birds are prey to many of the animals we keep as pets.
Gaps between furniture. Despite being a bird, my parakeet isn't exactly the best flyer. She runs into things and gets stuck behind furniture. If you are letting your parakeet roam free in a room with a lot of large furniture, be careful. He can fall behind the couch, the TV, or even the fridge and get stuck there. Sometimes those gaps aren't big enough for him to spread his wings and fly upward, and that can mean trouble for the poor little guy.
Either push all furniture completely against the wall, or watch him closely so that you know immediately if he gets stuck somewhere.
Closets. Always close closet doors. If your bird flies into a closet and gets stuck somewhere, it's not going to be easy finding him! And you risk squashing or otherwise harming him while you're looking because stuff is being moved around during the search. Save yourself the panic and keep the door closed.
Ceiling fans. Make sure these are off! Your parakeet will not know to avoid a spinning ceiling fan, and can be seriously injured or killed if he flies into one.
Large bodies of water. Be careful about sinks full of dishwater, or full bathtubs. If your parakeet happens to fly into these soapy tubs of water, the heavy suds could interfere with his ability to get out of the water. He could easily drown. Also, close toilet lids!
You. When your parakeet is out of his cage, try to always be aware of where he is in proximity to you. Watch where you step, and where you sit down! He may not move out of your way if you are about to crush him, especially if he is used to being handled and is trusting of you.
Do you let your parakeet fly free?
Have I missed anything important? Are there dangers in your home that I haven't covered here? Please share them in the comments below! The more we are aware of, the easier it will be to eliminate dangers while letting our little flighty friends fly free! It's easy to overlook situations that might become a hazard to our birds!
© 2013 Kristen Haynie