Safety Outside The Bird Cage For Parrots


Bird-Proofing Outside of the Bird Cage: Parrot Hazards in the Home (Part 1)

Home Should Be A Safe Place For Companion Birds, But How Bird-Friendly Is Yours?

The introduction of a bird into the home demands careful attention be paid to the environment outside of the bird cage. Parrots that are permitted to leave their cages can easily be harmed from the many different hazards that are a part of everyday human living. Bird-proofing a home is even more intensive than child-proofing it, since parrots can fly and can fit into tiny crevices. As owners prepare their homes with bird safety in mind, they need to visualize each room from a "birds-eye-view" to identify potential dangers.


Many bird owners may already know that kitchens aren't the safest place to keep a bird cage.  Parrot hazards here are too overwhelming.  But owners can still take measures to guard against some of these dangers.  It is safest to keep birds out of the kitchen, but this may not be entirely possible when they are roaming outside of the bird cage.  Parrot hazards in the kitchen include:

  • Hot stoves
  • Boiling/open pots of water
  • Variable temperatures
  • Hot oil
  • Cooking fumes
  • Standing water in the sink
  • Small appliances (toasters, coffee pots, etc.)
  • Knives or other sharp objects

A bird's natural curiosity can cause disaster with any of these hazards.  It is best to keep birds in their cages when someone is cooking in the kitchen.  However, even if no cooking is taking place, owners should be careful to guard against other hazards exposed through seemingly harmless daily activities.  This may include never filling dishes with water to stand soaking in the sink.


The bathroom also poses many risks for a parrot that is let out of its bird cage. Parrot hazards in the bathroom include:

  • Mirrors
  • Standing bath water
  • Hot irons
  • Open toilets
  • Hygiene products such as soaps, gels or creams
  • Medications

But these risks shouldn't necessarily restrict a bird to its bird cage. Parrots can enjoy time in the bathroom with their owners, assuming specific safety measures are put in place.  For example, owners can place decals over bathroom mirrors so that their birds will not become confused or frightened.  Toilet seats should be left down and all medications and hygiene products stored securely in cabinets not accessible to birds.  Finally, owner vigilance is essential if birds are allowed in the bathroom with full tubs or sinks.

Laundry Room and Other Chemical Prone Areas

The laundry room poses safety risks in the appliances and the cleaners typically stored there.  Owners must be careful as they are loading and unloading washers and dryers since birds are able to fly in and become trapped with loads of laundry.  Detergents, dryer sheets, stain removers, bleach and fabric softeners should be stored in cabinets to avoid ingestion.  However, as the list below indicates, there are plenty of other common household items that can be poisonous to birds and should therefore be kept in secure locations:

  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Antifreeze
  • Ant syrup or paste
  • Arsenic
  • Aspirin
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Boric acid
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Charcoal lighter
  • Copper and brass cleaners
  • Corn and wart removers
  • Crayons
  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Drain cleaners
  • Epoxy glue
  • Firecrackers
  • Floor cleaners
  • Furniture polish
  • Garbage toxins
  • Garden sprays
  • Gasoline
  • Gun cleaner
  • Gunpowder
  • Hair dyes
  • Herbicides
  • Indelible
  • Iodine
  • Kerosene
  • Lighter fluid
  • Linoleum
  • Lye
  • Matches
  • Model Glue
  • Mothballs
  • Muriatic acid
  • Mushrooms
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish
  • Nonstick
  • Lead-based
  • Paint remover
  • Paint thinner
  • Perfume
  • Pesticides
  • Pine oil
  • Plants
  • Snail bait
  • Prescription and
    non-prescription drugs
  • Rodenticides
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Shaving lotion
  • Shoe polish
  • Silver polish
  • Strychnine
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Suntan lotion
  • Super glue
  • Turpentine
  • Wax
  • Weed killers
  • Window cleaners
  • Wood preservatives

Windows and Glass Doors

Birds will also have difficulty navigating homes with lots of windows or glass doors.  Just like wild birds, a pet bird does not understand how glass works and will attempt to fly right through it if it is outside of the bird cage.  Parrot owners will need to guard against this hazard since all homes have windows.  A simple solution is to make sure that windows are covered by drapes or shades when a bird is flying outside of its bird cage.  Parrots can still become entangled in drapes or cords, but owners can lessen the possibility of injury from this if they keep the bird’s toenails clipped to a reasonable length.  Some owners clip their bird’s wings.  This can help slow a bird's flight, which prevents escape and minimizes injuries from windows and glass doors.


Birds love to explore objects with their beaks.  Owners encourage this by providing them with chew toys inside the bird cage.  Parrots will, however, continue this exploration when they are let outside of their cages, which leaves them at risk of electrocution or burns from exposed electrical cords.  Common household electrical hazards include:

  • Lamp cords
  • Telephone cords (while considered low voltage, when a phone rings up to 90 volts is sent across the wire, potentially enough to harm a bird)
  • Appliance cords
  • Computer cords
  • Power strips
  • Electronics charger cords

While it is best to hide all cords, owners may find it nearly impossible to eliminate every electrical hazard, especially since birds are small enough to fit into the tiny crevices they may be trying to use to hide the cords.  Also, many people use chargers on a daily basis, and it may be difficult to constantly keep them out of the reach of their birds.  Spiral cable wrap and cord concealers may be purchased to protect the most exposed hazards.  PVC pipe or hard tubing can also be used for this purpose.  An owner should always watch his/her bird when it is outside of the bird cage.  Parrots will develop favorite activities or places to spend most of their "free time."  If an owner realizes that a bird is too curious around electrical cords or begins chewing through the spiral cable wrap, additional measures will need to be taken to prevent electrocution, such as unplugging cords or limiting a bird's access to rooms with exposed cords.

Parrots can benefit greatly from spending time outside of a bird cage.  Parrot health depends on safe opportunities for regular exercise, exploration and socialization.  This article focused on some of the common safety risks for birds in most homes. Part Two of this article will discuss additional concerns including air quality control and preparing birds for socialization with children or other pets.

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