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Parrot Articles > Paula | You are here


10 Home Hazards For African Greys

June 11th, 2011

Home Hazards

1. Water

Water can be a big hazard also such as an open toilet, washing up bowl/sink, saucepan full of food/water, bath tubs, fish tanks…An African grey that is allowed to fly around the house could easily fall into any of these and can drown as they can not swim treat them as a toddler and keep all hazards out of the way so they don’t get hurt or die.

2. Household Plants

Household plants can also be very toxic to your African Grey that are found about the house these include Daffodil and Iris bulbs ,Poison ivy, Dieffenbachia, Tulip, Philodendron, Sanseveria (or Mother-in-law-tongue),Christmas cactus, Poinsettia, Oleander a couple to look out for around Christmas that you may bring into your home are Holly berries and Mistletoe. Safe plants that are very common in the house are Spider plants also most ferns are safe for parrots, best rule to follow is if your unsure do not let your parrot near the plant better to be safe than sorry! .This is just a very small list of toxic and safe plants and you will find many more on the lists.

3. Chemical Pesticides / Insecticides

Chemical pesticides / Insecticides such as Flea Bombs, Fertilizers, Fungicides. Cleaning solvents, Aerosol Sprays of any kind, Air Fresheners, Carpet Fresheners, Oven Cleaners, Furniture Polish, Tub & Tile Cleaners, Cleaning Supplies, Bleach and Ammonia fumes, Oil-based Paint and paint product fumes If you are re-painting a room make sure you take the parrot out of the room and don’t bring them back in until the room has been aired and the smell of the fumes has gone completely. The same applies to Spray-on Deodorants, Hair Spray, Perfumes/aftershaves, do not have your parrot in the bathroom if you are spraying any product and anything that gives off fumes can cause problems for your parrot and sometimes can even kill your parrot so keep everything away from your parrot and keep rooms well aired that you are using sprays or bleach in and your parrot as far away as possible.

4. Cigarette, Cigar, and Pipe Smoke

Cigarette, Cigar, and Pipe smoke, Marijuana smoke, Nicotine on hands and clothing, any smoke and fumes can be dangerous to parrots. If you have Nicotine on hands this can cause contact dermatitis, especially foot problems which would get the most contact with the nicotine on your clothes/hands also Ingesting tobacco products or Marijuana can make birds sick so if you have to smoke makes sure you do it outside or in a well ventilated room as far away from the parrot as possible.

5. Plug-in Air Fresheners

Plug-in Air Fresheners can be toxic to your parrot as they give off vapours from the oils which can be toxic to your parrot or even fatal Scented Candles, Incense, Potpourri also have the same effect and best avoided.

6. Burning rubber or Plastic

Burning rubber or plastic and non-stick cooking utensils are all dangerous to parrots as they give off deadly fumes.

7. Non Stick Pans

Non stick pans like Teflon T-fall and other non-stick coating used in Cookware, Bread Makers, Stove Drip Pans, Irons, Ironing Board Covers and other household appliances like hair dryers, irons/curlers all become deadly to parrots when the get over heated as they can give off fumes which are toxic and can be fatal to birds. You best to stick to the normal non stick cookware might mean a little more work cleaning them but much safer for your feathered friend.

8. Electrical Cords

Electrical cords need to be away from parrots as they love to chew everything in there reach and a cable is just as much fun as one of there toys in your parrots cage, they can kill your bird if it chews the cable so best kept away from them.

9. Other Pets In The House

Other pets in the house such as Cat?s and Dogs should be watched with your parrot and NOT left alone with your parrot at any time as they could cause your parrot serious injury or even death.

10. Windows / Patio Doors

Windows, patio doors are dangerous in two ways your parrot could fly into them and do themselves serious injury and it can even be fatal as they do not see them and think they can fly through them, also if they are left open your parrot can fly away and be at all sorts of danger from the big outside world, i lost my family pet grey Reggie this way but was very lucky to have him returned by a very honest lady who lived 25 miles away! Keep windows and doors closed or your parrot away when they are open.

Above are just some of the things i can think of that may help you, but that is no way a full complete list and should only be referred to as a small guide to dangerous items, you will find many more in books and on websites, you should always have to hand the number of a local Avian vet to you and directions on how to get there and a small towel, a pet carrier to take your parrot there in should you have to rush your bird to the vets, having these to hand means you can get there much quicker.

About the Author

Written by Paula Dansie of the African Grey Parrot Centre ™

This article may be duplicated in its full state but the above link must be retained, if this article is found duplicated anywhere on the web without the link preserved then legal action will be taken and your ISP will be contacted.

5 Hints And Tips For Your Parrot Cage

May 14th, 2011

african grey parrot cage

There is a mass abundance of information out there about parrot cages, their shapes, size’s, colours and styles, I thought I would put this article together to offer a few hints and tips and the basic’s I have learnt over the years to help you to decide which cage is best suited to you, your parrot and your home.

1. Size Counts

Firstly the most important factor is the size of the cage the best rule to go by is the bigger the better, and where you are planning on keeping your parrot to ensure you have enough space for it. The cage needs to be big enough for your parrot to be able to freely spread it’s wings have a flap about for exercise, on the other hand if the cage is too big it could cause a problem to smaller parrots, for instance if you had a cage big enough to house a macaw the bar spacing will be far too big for a smaller parrot such as a Timneh Grey meaning there’s a high possibility its feet and head are caught and panic could cause untold damage, any good pet shop that sells cages can help you with information on the size of the cage you should be buying to suit your parrot.

2. Maintenance

Also to consider when buying a cage is it easy to keep clean and maintain. The best type to look for are the ones with a pull out tray to make cleaning the bottom of the cage a lot easier. Also another great feature which make life a lot easier are food and water bowls that are replaced without opening the main door of the cage with the possibility of letting your parrot out, they are cheeky things and often take advantage of an open door, this type of water bowls have their own small doors and as I say really is a neat feature.

3. Positioning your Cage

The cage should be kept in a position where your parrot will feel safe which is away from drafts such as windows which can make your parrot too hot if left in direct sunlight, another really important factor to think about is if you put your parrot cage in front of the window you could be leaving yourself wide open to being broken into and having your beloved parrot stolen which unfortunately really does happen a lot. Your parrot is worth lots of money and thieves often target parrots these days and would rather steal your parrot than a big heavy appliance like a TV, you may think that it would be hard to steal a parrot but once covered over with something a parrot becomes quiet and still.

Also consider placing your parrot cage somewhere that you and your family will pass and visit a fair number of times a day, parrots are social animals and love to be part of the action and have contact with you and the family so the living room would make a great place, ideally your cage should be placed in a corner of the room that is well lit so your parrot has some security of knowing that it can’t be approached from the back of it’s cage and/or one side which gives it the feeling of safety.

4. Toys & Amusements

You need to think about what toys you are going to put inside the cage for your parrot’s amusement, African greys love playing with toys and can amuse themselves with toys for a long time, simple things like a rope can keep them happy for many hours or something as simple as a wooden toy that they can chew with a bell which rattles when moved (Make sure it’s not so noisy that it irritates you). There are so many toys out there you just need to make sure that they are safe and can’t get caught round you birds neck or have tiny bits that can be swallowed (just like a small child), check any toy you buy carefully and if your not 100% sure it is safe DON’T buy it. Once you have some toys you can always rotate them around in the cage to keep them amused and as soon as one becomes too damaged such as a rope being shredded into bits remove it, our African grey Reggie must have been shredding his rope toy when we were out as when we came home he had it all tied round his feet and was sat on the bottom of his cage, for this reason we now remove any toys that get a little tatty.

5. Perches

You really need to consider the type of perches you use in your cage, the perches that usually come with a cage as standar are not really ideal and should be replaced with something more appropriate as soon as possible, something like java branches or branches from fruit trees such as pear, apple, hazelnut or even willow tress can all be used as long as you wash them down first and let them dry before placing the in the cage. This will provide your parrot with different thickness of perches, I also highly recommend a placing a concrete perch in the cage near the food or water bowls to ensure your parrot uses them, this will help to keep your parrots nails trim and beak under control as they like to rub it on the perch, I use more than one in the cage near the bowls as I mentioned, you can even get them in different colours and sizes, these are sold at most pet shops and each pack should have what size bird it is most suited too, just use your intuition to work out what size is best.

If your planning on letting your parrot out of the cage a lot (which you should!) you can consider buying your parrot a play gym, there are many good play gyms out there on the market, the one we use is the Java parrot tower which is great as it is on castors and has a big tray that catches all the dropped food and droppings, best of all the java branches can all be taken off to be cleaned, also you can move them about and add rope and sandy perches to help keep the parrots nails down. Our African grey Reggie sometimes stay out for days on end, he is very good and will just sit and play on his parrot tower, have a fly about from time to time but always returns back to his tower, he hates being in his cage though I would not recommend leaving your African grey out when you’re not around unless your 100% sure it will not get into trouble or fly down and chew things (Read the home hazards for Greys article), I am home all day long so am never far away in such cases, if we go out at all and no one is at home then we put him away. Reggie has been trained over the 12 years we have had him and even now sometimes gets over excited and flies down when he wants some extra attention!

Cage Hints and Tips Summary

  • Get the biggest but most appropriate cage for your parrot that you can fit into your home
  • Choose a cage that is easy to maintain, check the bowls can be changed in their own doors and their are pull out trays, make sure you clean your cage regularly
  • Position your cage in a safe position away from drafts, hot/cold areas and always ensure it’s not on show to the outside world in case of theft
  • Always fill your cage with toys to keep your parrot amused but always ensure they are in good condition to keep your parrot safe
  • Dump those standard perches, replace with Java or safe tree branches and concrete perches near their bowls for ongoing nail/beak maintenance

About the Author

Written by Paula Dansie of the African Grey Parrot Centre ™

This article may be duplicated in its full state but the above link must be retained, if this article is found duplicated anywhere on the web without the link preserved then legal action will be taken and your ISP will be contacted.

Hideaway Boxes For Your Parrot

February 27th, 2011

Since I’ve started providing Digby with a box, a hideaway of some sort I’ve noticed that his behavior improved a lot and he behaves a lot more hormonal and destructive when he doesn’t have a box to hide in.

In fact, this is how I found out that he loves to have a box to hide in: he used to try and get in every dark nook and cranny when he just moved in with us. That was of course a sign of hormonal behavior as I thought and I tried to discourage it as much as I could but nothing helped. Tirelessly he would seek the corners, chew the walls and sometimes even go to sleep under the sofa! Until I found the solution – I gave him a box, he loved it, he calmed down and he has been happy ever since.

His hideaways are not always boxes, sometimes they are baskets or even a paper bag (given only under supervision). I never place them in his cage as he just doesn’t seem to be interested or brave enough to go in them when in the cage. They always rest on his part of the windowsill.

It works for Digby, but I am safe in knowledge that he is a boy and not going to lay an egg. I would not advise giving boxes to female parrots. Egg laying is a dangerous thing and can deplete the bird’s calcium storage and cause egg binding.

These are just some of the hideaways he had over the year:

Hideaway Box     Hideaway Box

I enjoy providing Digby, and Dudley the rabbit too, with large boxes. I usually put something inside as well, like a phone book or old toys for shredding. Then I watch them work, chew, shred, shaping their own habitat. They make the doors where they want them to be, Digby shreds the paper and toys to create perfect soft, finely shredded base of the box. With having a box he has something to work on, daily. Once I see there is nothing left to work on and the box is starting to look old and sad I throw it away and replace with a new clean one.

Hideaway Box     Hideaway Box

This is not strictly a hideaway but a pine shelf of his, but it does provide some sort of shelter and he enjoyed sitting on it, shaping it up, moving things around, trimming the wood.

Hideaway Box     Hideaway Box

Hideaway Box     Hideaway Box

Courtesy of Irina from Parrot Comforts

Double Baked Veggie Biscotti

February 20th, 2011


1 cup of buckwheat flour
1 cup of corn flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of ground pellets
2 jars of orange veggies baby food (like carrot, butternut squash, sweet potatoe)
1 egg
1/4 tsp baking powder


Combine all the flours and baking powder together.

Combine Baking Powder & Flours

You can use any other flours instead of those mentioned above, just avoid using white flour. Wholemeal flour, spelt flour, quinoa or rice flour would make good substitutes.

To make buckwheat flour just put the desired amount into a coffee grinder and ground it into a flour. This how it turns out after a good whizz

Buckwheat Flour

Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add two jars of the baby food and the egg. Mix well.

These are the jars of baby food I used

Baby Food

The dough should come off the sides of the bowl and you should be able to roll it out in a sausage. I sprinkled it with a few hemp seeds on top too

Hemp Seed Dough

Put “the sausage” in the oven and bake at 170C or gas mark 4 for about 25 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and cut it into thin slices.

Return the slices on to a baking tray and bake for further 30 minutes.

Once ready let them cool and freeze.

Second Baked Biscotti

Mine stayed slightly soft in the middle. If you want them dry all through then keep them in the oven for longer second time round but it is best to turn down the heat after 30 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

To make them more appealing just add some chopped dry fruit and nuts to the dough.

Bon Appétit!

Digby Eating Twice Baked Biscotti

Courtesy of Irina from Parrot Comforts

Cheese and Cracker Sandwich Recipe

February 13th, 2011

When you are having crackers or biscuits and your parrot is doing everything to get to them you can offer him an alternative which wont be harmful for him. Matzo crackers are made of flour and water, no added salt, sugar or anything else at all.

Matzo Crackers

Here is a little idea on how to make them a bit more fun


1 Matzo cracker
a pea size amount of any no salt added nut butter or palm fruit extract
a 5p size thin slice of cheese
a thin slice of apple of the same size as cheese


Break Matzo cracker into two small squares. Spread both with the nut butter. Put a piece of apple and cheese on one piece and cover with another. Microwave it for about 3-5 seconds. Squeeze it together. The heat would have melted the cheese and make everything stick together well. Cool down and serve

Cheese & Matzo Cracker Sandwich

Courtesy of Irina from Parrot Comforts

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