Ask Lafeber

Question:

February 28, 2023

Outdoor Risks – Ask the Vet Webinar Feb 24


We have a large flight cage that we are setting up inside because of outdoor diseases and animals and the weather is tough at times. what diseases should we worry if we put the greys outside during nice weather?

We have a couple of cages a round tall cage and a square cage for them to fly to in the flight cage, not to stay in. the cages are wrought iron with no rust showing, should i worry about metal poisoning from these cages or give them to good will?


Answer:

Hi Ron,

Taking birds outdoors in nice weather is one of those things where you have to weigh the benefits against the risks. Fresh air and sunshine is good for them. But I feel the risks outweigh the benefits unless you remain outdoors with them to keep them safe. There are many diseases that are carried by wild birds, and often they are more dangerous to our pet birds because they are not a disease the bird might have some natural immunity to. The same goes for countless parasites – both external & internal. In the wild bird population, these things mainly harm a bird that is already debilitated, so otherwise healthy birds carry these disease and parasites without being affected. They will get curious and get into the cages or sit on them and poop or shed parasites. Many of the wild birds can squeeze through very small spaces, so if your birds have food in the cage, this makes wildlife more likely to want to get in the cage. And of course parrots are a prey animal, so they can be attacked by predatory birds, rats, raccoons, domestic cats & dogs and more. Any predator will not hesitate to try to pull a parrot through the cage bars. You would think this isn’t an issue in broad daylight, but it definitely can be, and can happen very quickly, thus the reason to remain nearby. The good news is I believe one of the Vets mentioned that 20 minutes of sunlight can give them the daily benefit they need. Of course, we do have webinars on this topic so I will post links below.

As for the cages, wrought iron is perfectly safe. Parrots have lived in wrought iron cages for decades. Any danger would come from one that was painted in another country, like Mexico, where lead based paint is commonly used. Those are typically the older cages that are more ornate, and also not quite as heavy as the wrought iron made in the USA. They have thin trays that easily rust, or sometimes no tray. Also small doors and are generally not made the right way to house a parrot. The USA made cages are more sensible and have heavy trays, large doors and often access doors for food and water. As the Vets have mentioned in the past, heavy metals are everywhere. Most parrots that get in trouble are the individuals who are into everything, and when it comes to the cage, obsessively chew on the bars or welds and eventually wear them down while ingesting small amounts of metal that accumulates. Using a case for transport between the house and outdoor cage is not only very wise, but the bird doesn’t have much contact with it. It takes hours of chewing on bars and welds on a daily basis to cause any harm to a bird. Your outdoor cage ideally should have a double entrance, no matter how you take the bird outside to it. Many pets have flown out while trying to follow their owner when the owner leaves the cage.

Thank you for viewing the webinar,

Brenda

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