General Husbandry of Caged Birds

Teflon Toxicosis
The location of the cage and/or perch in the home is important. Some birds thrive in areas of heavy traffic, where they receive lots of attention and are part of all of the "goings on". Others seem to prefer more privacy and solitude. A pet bird should never be kept in the kitchen. In addition to the obvious gas fumes and occasional smoke from cooking food, there is another, much more dangerous, threat to birds in the kitchen. Teflon™ and related brand name non stick coatings emit fumes when heated to 380 degrees F that are deadly to all birds. This "accident" happens most often when someone inadvertently leaves a pan, coated with a non stick surface, on a lighted gas or electric range burner but it can happen simply by heating water and boiling hard-boiled eggs. The pan becomes hot and the non stick coating overheats, emitting toxic fumes that humans don’t notice. Birds that inhale these fumes die quickly and attempts to treat them are unrewarding. Birds become unsteady on their feet, go to the bottom of their cage and die shortly thereafter.

There are several other considerations when allowing birds unrestricted freedom and flight within the home. Birds flying about may end up in the toilet bowl, mop bucket with cleaning fluids or in an uncovered pot or pan cooking on the stove. Free flying birds tend to assume a more dominant posture in their relationship with people, and can become intolerably aggressive.


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Renton Veterinary Hospital
128 Rainier Avenue South
Renton, WA 98057
Phone: (425) 255-8676
Email: rentonvet@yahoo.com
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