Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 27, 2021

African grey bird


Our bird of 22 years in last few days is acting funny sitting in bottom of cage she’s not pooping in her spots my husband takes her out of cage and she poops almost instantly large amounts she eats still but only thing I can think is we had a ozinator going in a closed off room in our house last week ?


Answer:

Hi Karen,

On one hand, it sounds like she is nesting on the cage floor and may be getting ready to lay an egg. She doesn’t want to soil her nest, and since her entire cage is her nest, she waits to be out of her nest to poop. This is the same thing she would do with a nest box, except she would leave the nest box and poop in the cage.

However, ozone purifiers should never be used around birds, even in a different room. You should also never use the type with an ionizer. Both of these are harmful to a bird’s respiratory system and can also be bad for humans with asthma. If she is still acting this way, you should take her to an Avian vet to rule out respiratory problems or possibly an egg that she is trying to lay.

Here is a detailed article on air purifiers by Lisa Bono.

August 13, 2015

Parrots, Humans & The Importance of Clean Air

By Lisa A. Bono, CPBC and an authorized distributor of Austin Air products.

 

It is important that your family and companion parrots have clean air and are not breathing in every day dust and pollutants that are commonly found in our homes.

 

For any air purifier to work properly you have to make sure you have one that is large enough to work for your room and desired area.To keep the air quality in your home at an optimum I suggest a true HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter, not a “HEPA-like” filter. This type of unit can be noisy; to have one that is quieter, get a larger unit than the room size recommendations and keep it on the low speed. The air exchanges listed on the boxes are typically for filters run at high speed. This means if your room is 9- by 10-foot, and you purchase a filter for a room that size, you will have to run it on high speed continuously. If you purchase one that is recommended for a room that is 12- by 15-foot and place it in your room sized 9- by 10- foot, you can run the unit on low, and it will filter the air more efficiently. Keep in mind if you get a machine that is too small for the room, you simply wasted your money.

 

Warnings on Ozone Generating Machines.

 

Usually the filters you wash are electrostatic plated which creates ozone. Electrical attraction is another technology utilized by air purifiers to trap particles. Three types of air cleaners work using electrical attraction: electrostatic precipitating cleaners, electret filters, and negative ion generators.

 

Electrostatic precipitating cleaners or electronic air purifiers draw particles in by fan and charge them with a series of high-voltage wires. Several plates (precipitating cells) carry the opposite electrical charge and attract the contaminants as they pass by the plates. Electronic air purifiers are perfect for individuals who don’t want to worry about the costly replacements of HEPA filters. The downside to these units is that many create a very nasty byproduct, ozone.

 

Electret filters in air purifiers use synthetic fibers that create static charges to attract particles. Electret filters are offered in a variety of types including plain, pleated, disposable or reusable. Depending on the type of filter you need, will determine how often the filter requires replacement.

 

Negative ion generators or ionic air purifiers use tiny, charged wires or needles to create gas molecules with negative charges or ions that adhere to the airborne particles and collect in the filter. However, many ions end up back in the air, sticking to furnishings and other surfaces that may be stained by them.

 

Ionic air purifiers only remove certain types of particles and aren’t always effective against gases, chemicals, or odors. Some ionic air purifiers have been shown to re-circulate the same dirty particles that they draw in, making them much less effective than traditional air purifiers using HEPA filtration.

 

Instead of using filters to trap particles, ozone generators use high voltage electrical currents to convert oxygen to ozone, which acts as a powerful oxidant and breaks down molecules and microorganisms in the air. Several tests have proved that ozone generators are not very effective at removing indoor allergens.

 

Ozone, in fact, can be hazardous to your health, and both ozone generators and ionic air cleaners emit ozone. In nature, lightning creates ozone when it cuts through oxygen molecules in the air. In the atmosphere, ozone helps protect us from harmful UV rays; however, on the ground level, ozone is a powerful lung irritant. When created artificially, ozone can actually aggravate allergies, asthma and people who are immune compromised due to lung disease by damaging the lining of nasal passages and lungs, causing coughing, throat irritation, chest pain, and even shortness of breath. The Environmental Protection Agency and the American Lung Association advise against using ozone generator.

 

Asbestos, radon and mold are concerning problems in homes today. Heating devices produce carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases, and chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonia are increasing in your home environment. Since most Americans stay indoors an average of 90% of the time, providing fresher and cleaner air has never been more important.

 

There Is Nothing Like and Austin For Your Family And Flock.

 

When you are researching any air purifier, you need to make sure that you do not have one that produces ozone or has an ionizer. Some air purifiers that are recommended for parrots have ionizers that automatically turn on when the unit senses that the environment needs it. Austin is a true HEPA filter system and not a HEPA “like” filter. True HEPA filters such as Austin are capable of removing 99.7% of the particles in the 0.3 micron diameter size(size of a sharpened pencil point). This protects the our lungs against some bacteria, molds, dust mites, fumes and pollen fragments to name a few.

 

As mentioned, Ozone is harmful and irritating to the respiratory tract. You also do not want a machine with an ionizer. The major concern is that an ionizer weighs down dust particles, and if the dust particle contains a micro-bacterial organism on it, your companion parrot can inhale it. The particle and organism then become stuck to the respiratory wall, which often leads to Aspergillosis. Birds have a sensitive respiratory system and take in more air per body weight than humans do. This is due to the fact that their body is comprised of many air sacs in addition to their lungs. This makes them more efficient for flight. Because of this however, it also makes them more sensitive to house hold contaminants such as cleaning chemicals, fragrances, smoke, products coated with PTFE /Teflon and even each others dander and dust.

 

Air Quality With Powder-Down Parrots

 

African grey parrots are one of three species that have powder-down feathers. Cockatoos and cockatiels are the other two. On these species the powder-down feathers are identified as small, white plumes with almost brush-like tips that break up into a fine, white powder. If you live with a powder-down species you are aware of the dust and dander produced by the species. Some species of parrots such as Macaws have been diagnosed with Macaw Respiratory Hypersensitivity after sharing living spaces with powder down species. This condition is similar to asthma- affecting macaws (primarily blue and gold macaws) Only some macaws are sensitive to the dust and suffer allergies because of it.

 

So which machine would work for you? While there are many models of Austin Air Cleaners that are available, two come to mind when living with a parrot.

 

The Allergy Machine addresses the complete spectrum of air cleaning, removing sub-micron particles, noxious gases and chemicals. Austin Air’s 360-degree intake system draws air into all sides of the Allergy Machine, passing it through a 4-stage filter.

The result, more clean air delivered faster and more efficiently than any other air cleaner on the market.

STAGE 1 – Large Particle Pre-filter Removes particles easily seen by the naked eye (e.g.dust, hair and pet dander)

STAGE 2 – Medium Particle Pre-filter Removes small to medium size particles (e.g.molds, spores and pollen)

STAGE 3 – 60 sq.ft.of Certified HEPA Removes 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns

STAGE 4 – Activated Military Carbon Cloth Removes chemicals, gases and odors

The Pet Machine™ addresses the complete spectrum of air cleaning, removing sub-micron particles, noxious gases and chemicals. Austin Air’s 360-degree intake system draws air into all sides of The Pet Machine™, passing it through a 4-stage filter.

The result, more clean air delivered faster and more efficiently than any other air cleaner on the market.

STAGE 1 – Large Particle Pre-filter Removes particles easily seen by the naked eye (e.g.dust, hair and pet dander)

STAGE 2 – Medium Particle Pre-filter Removes small to medium size particles (e.g.molds, spores and pollen)

STAGE 3 – About 15 lbs.of Proprietary Carbon Blend Removes chemicals, gases and odors (e.g.sulfuric acid and ammonia)

STAGE 4 – 60 sq.ft.of Certified HEPA Removes 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns

 

The difference between the two would be :The Pet Machine has the 15 lbs of carbon blend to capture smells that may come from other pets such dog and cat urine. The Proprietary Carbon Blend is designed to remove chemicals, gases and odors. The Allergy machine has more activated military carbon cloth which works a bit differently and captures more of the dust and dander before the air circulates to the Activated Military Carbon Cloth to remove chemicals, gases and odors.

 

The Healthmate Jr model contains 6.5 – 7 lbs of an active granular carbon which is a higher density of carbon to filter out odors for smaller areas vs the larger Pet Machine which is only available in a larger unit.

 

Austin Air cleaners check every box for safety and reliability with superior results.

 

For more information or questions, please contact Lisa A. Bono at The Platinum Parrot. Lisa A. Bono is a Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant (specializing in the African grey parrot) owner of The Platinum Parrot, an authorized distributor of Austin Air, bird caregiver for four decades as well as Austin user.

 

This article is not to be reproduced without consent from the author or to be used as marketing material from other then The Platinum Parrot, Lisa A.Bono, CPBC or the Austin Air corporate office.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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