Heaters and Birds
As we sit here waiting for the impending doom of lots of snow and ice the weather forecasters are predicting for our area, we realize that winter weather emergencies should be prepared for way before necessary, or you will be one of those standing in long lines trying to grab the last of the emergency items needed.
Living in the south, a few inches of snow and the least bit of ice can shut down pretty much everything. Only the very brave (or very dumb) are usually willing to venture out onto the icy roads with all the crazy drivers slipping, sliding, and spinning around often making a bad situation even worse.
Here is a list of some items you should have on hand just in case you are snowed in for a few days. Be prepared also in the event you may loose your power from icy power lines or falling tree limbs.
Emergency items to have on hand for your bird:
Extra Seed, pellets, dried fruit/vegie
Emergency Avian First Aid Kit
Warm blanket or quilt to cover the cage
Tear up toys
Other items good to have on hand:
flashlight & extra batteries
warm blankets or quilts for the humans
hot snap hand warmers (optional)
Many people keep extra bird food in their freezer and rotate it out as needed so they always have some extra on hand for emergencies. A very good idea.
If you loose power you will need that flashlight, but make sure the light from the flashlight does not frighten your bird as it will be an unknown moving object to your bird.
If you loose your power and have electric heat, placing a blanket or quilt over your bird's cage can help keep your bird's environment warmer. If you are forced to use a fireplace for heat, you may need to place your bird in a carrier and bring into the room that is heated. In that case a nice tear up bird toy may help keep your bird occupied and busy while in the carrier.
VERY IMPORTANT! - Never use Kerosene heaters around birds as the fumes may be toxic and can kill your bird.
Our research on the use of propane or butane heaters seems 50/50. Many experts say do not use either around birds, and some bird owners say they have used them with no ill effects on their birds. One source stated that butane is not a highly toxic gas and can be stored inside your home. Whether that means you can also use it safely in your home is unknown.
Propane or butane heaters used without adequate combustion or ventilation, may give off excessive carbon monoxide which is an odorless, poisonous gas, deadly to birds, and even humans. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning in humans are similar to flu-like symptoms, including headache, dizziness and nausea.
We would suggest it is better to be safe than sorry, and to not use either if possible, but if you to have one as your only source of heat in a severe emergency, please ventilate the area well to help protect your bird as well as yourself. We highly recommend you do your own research into these methods of supplemental heating as well as gas burning fireplaces.
A gas burning fireplace is considered unsafe by many if you own birds. Here is a link to a very good article on the subject: Birds & Gas Fireplaces
If you are using a wood burning fireplace for heat, make sure your room is well vented as well and no smoke is coming into the room where your bird is. Before winter sets in it is best to make sure your fireplace is clean and free of creosote and any leftover nesting materials by any birds who may have set up housekeeping in the chimney over the summer.
So most important items include extra dry food, water, blankets, carrier, and flashlight.
Stay warm, stay safe, and stay inside if you can.