Bird Metal Poisoning

So I took Mikey in for a check-up. His yearly wellness exam was admittingly over due. They did an X-ray and they saw small peices of metal in his gizzard. Like tiny hairs.

I said that he eats everything, I called him my little Butterball (though his weight was surprisingly good!). The name stuck with the vets...but I meant food!
I didn't realize he's actually ingesting toys or some other mess!

He hasn't been acting strange. He's talking, cuddling, eating.

This further shows how important wellness exams are!
Remember, birds may be sick, they're just not showing it because it's in their nature.

Here are some resources you should be made aware of:

A startling look at the hazards of Bird Toys via Birdtricks
"Your parrot toys may be KILLING your bird and you don't even know it!"
Via Hot Spot for Birds
"Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
Both of these metals are potentially toxic to birds.
Brass padlocks are probably not a problem for cages of small birds who are unlikely to chew the padlock. However, they should be avoided around larger birds who are able to chew them.
There was a report recently in the Journal of Avian Medicine & Surgery of a hyacinth macaw who nearly died from zinc poisoning. He had destroyed 3 brass padlocks and had also chewed on the chrome cage wires (chrome also contains zinc).
Lead is also extremely toxic to birds.
Common sources of lead include lead paint, lead fishing weights, curtain weights, lead frames of stained glass windows and tiffany lamps, foil from champagne bottles, lead solder, old pewter, lead batteries and weighted ashtrays and toys.

Copper
is also potentially toxic to birds although avian toxicity from this metal is less common. Acidic foods stored in copper containers may leach out copper, and occasionally copper piping for water is a potential source of increased copper in the diet if the water is slightly acidic and has been allowed to remain in contact with the piping for some length of time. Allowing the water from the tap to run for a few minutes before filling the water dishes will prevent this problem.

Tin (not galvanized), steel and iron (not treated with antirust paints) are not toxic to birds.

Zinc is extremely toxic to birds.
Sources include galvanized cage wire, clips or staples, bird toy snaps, zippers, keys, nails, plumbing nuts, nuts on animal transport cages, hardware cloth, padlocks, chrome, and some antirust paints, shampoos and skin preparations."
Lastly, let's throw the Dangers of Rusty Cages via Ehow Dangers of Rusty Cages
"Owners should regularly check cages for signs of rust. Birds will bite and chew the bars of their cage. If the metal is rusty, they will eat the rust. This is toxic to birds and could kill them. The same danger is present in the metal and paint of the bars. Brass cages should not be used for birds. A good quality cage will be coated in non-toxic, durable paint. Cheap cages are more likely to rust quickly.

Preventing Rust
Bird owners can help prevent the formation of rust by keeping the cage dry and clean. After washing the cage, dry it immediately. Fix climbing aids, such as small branches or perches, to the inside of the cage walls. The bird will climb around the cage using these and avoid touching the bars.

Refinishing a Rusty Cage
Completely remove rust from the cage. It may be easier to disassemble the cage to do this. Use a wire scouring pad to scrub the cage. White vinegar, hairspray and black tea can help dissolve rust. When repainting, use paints that do not contain chromate, lead or zinc. Paints that are labelled as safe for a human infant are also safe to use on bird cages. Remove the bird from the area while painting and do not use the cage for a week after applying the final coat.
Providing a Good Cage
Birds need a choice of perches in their cages. They like to sleep high up, so one perch should be in the top one third of the cage. Other perches can be in different areas and of different sizes, to provide some variety. Birds need separate, easily cleaned, bowls for food, water and bathing. Do not place these underneath perches, because bird droppings will fall into them. Birds also need toys to keep them occupied in their cages. Mirrors, and wooden and plastic toys for birds are available in pet stores.

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