Posted: October 26, 2006, 12:30 p.m. PDT
Let your bird join in the fall festivities, but keep it safe too.
October is a great month to:
Have your furnace professionally checked and tuned up if necessary.
Install carbon monoxide detectors or check batteries in the ones already installed in your home.
Clean your oven while it’s still warm enough to put the birds outdoors during the process. Outgassing of chemical components in new stoves and smoke from burned on food can kill birds quickly.
Order heat panels, full-spectrum lights and even a new cage cover to keep your bird warm and healthy this winter.
Put the lights in your bird’s area on timers. It’s going to be getting dark early.
If you practice bird wing feather trims (aka wing clipping), now is a good time to do it. Escapes occur in cold weather too, especially around the holidays when doors are opened and closed more than usual.
Clean your humidifier and purchase new filters for electronic air cleaners. Closed windows mean more indoor air pollution.
Halloween Bird Safety
- The noise and confusion of costume parties are too extreme for most pet birds. Leave your bird at home if you’re invited out to a party; if you’re the host, move your bird to a quiet room during the height of the festivities.
- Supervise your bird. Halloween staples, such as candles, imitation cobwebs and apple-bobbing vats can be hazardous to errant birds.
- Do not permit guests to share drinks, snacks or Halloween candy with your bird. The high concentration of sugar in candy can cause digestive upsets. Serious illness and even death can occur if your bird consumes alcohol. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to birds and other pets.
- Protect your pet bird from frightening costumes and the eyes of predatory strangers. Put him safely inside his bird cage during trick-or-treat hours.
- Reduce the risk of burns by using small flashlights instead of candles inside jack-o-lanterns displayed indoors.
Bird-Safe Snack Tips
Keep the pumpkin seeds when you hollow out your pumpkin. Your birds will love them. I give my flock one helping of seeds fresh from the pumpkin, then dry the remainder on stainless steel cookie sheets or pan in a 300-degree oven for future use. Take advantage of autumn produce to add chunks of vitamin-A rich pumpkin and squash to your bird’s menu.