How to Avoid Metal Poisoning in Birds

safe bird cageDo you own a pet bird? If so you probably already know the dos and don’ts to keep your pet healthy. There are many things to look out for and to be careful of so that your pet doesn’t get sick or become injured. Feeding your bird the best diet for his species, keeping him clean and providing fresh water are all primary concerns. What is less well known, however, is metal poisoning. This can be a potential risk when you own a pet bird.

Don’t buy a cheap birdcage! A good quality birdcage that you buy in the shops should be safe enough. The bars will be made either of stainless steel or they will be plastic coated. Feeding utensils are generally made of quality steel, or you can buy plastic or ceramic feeders. Toxic metals to avoid are lead and zinc.

One area you need to be aware of is a bird aviary that is kept outside. These are great for birds as they are able to spread their wings and get plenty of healthy exercise. You’ll need to check the wire that surrounds the aviary though. Unless it was manufactured with quality wire, there may be dags, or small pieces of wire that can come loose when the bird chews on them.

A simple way to find these is to run your hand gently over the wire. If it feels rough, chances are it has dags and you’ll need to wash it down well with a scrubbing brush and vinegar before putting any birds inside. This is a tedious job, but one that needs to be done for the health of your pet.

If you let your pet bird out of the cage from time to time, make sure you watch him at all times. Your bird could land on a hot stove, behind a cupboard or even fly out of an open window. Your bird may also be tempted to nibble on metal objects which may expose him to metal poisoning. The safest way is to have a room where there are no traps for your bird so he can fly around safely.

If you suspect that your bird has been poisoned, take him to the vet immediately. Signs of metal poisoning in birds are lethargy, weakness, loose stools and vomiting. Any time your bird appears fluffed up, it can mean there’s something wrong. If caught early enough, a vet can treat a bird by means of chelation which will allow the metal to pass through it’s system. However there is no guarantee of a cure.

Enjoy playing with your pet birds by letting them out of their cage now and then. Just make sure there are no dangers in the room before opening the cage door. If you are purchasing an aviary, always make sure the manufacturer is using good quality aviary wire and you and your bird will enjoy many happy years together.

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