Birds And Second Hand Smoke

Birds And Second Hand Smoke

 January 27th, 2011
Posted By:

Camelot macaw

I was recently watching a talk show about second hand smoke.  One of the audience members recited a list of ailments she suffers as a result of cigarette smoke.  She, herself, has never smoked but her husband of many years did.  He passed away several years ago from throat cancer.  She is now a victim of HIS habit.

Her suffering brought to mind the many parrots out there living under similar circumstances. Second hand smoke is actually more toxic than that directly inhaled by a smoker. A parrot’s respiratory system is unique and sensitive and the habits of their humans can end or critically impair their lives.

I can’t tell you how many bird owners homes I have gone into where it is immediately obvious that they smoke excessively.  I could smell it in the air, on their furniture and, sadly, on their birds.  There have been occasions where the overall  appearance of some of these birds has made me question their health.  When they begin to discuss their bird’s behavior issues, I have to wonder what role their smoking has played.

If you smoke, please read, or re-read, this post for more information about the dangers of second hand smoke, and never, ever smoke around your birds.

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24 Comments on “Birds And Second Hand Smoke”

Kati  01/29/2011 4:13 am

I have a 30 year old Blue Fronted Amazon who was living in a smoker’s home for about 20 some years. I plan to get him into the vet to see if he is suffering from any ailments due to the longevity of his being around 2nd hand smoke.

MARILYN. 29/01/011 9:01  01/29/2011 4:51 am

Ihave just purchased a second hand very large cage, when we went to view!!! the house holder was a strong smoker, The cage was so discusting , brown stains all over, it took me a long time to clean and disinfect, you CANT do this for a loved parrot, I felt so sad for her remaining birds.

toby jaco  01/29/2011 4:51 am

Smokers: Go outside and light you sigarett. (I allways do).
Or I use my bathroom. Standing in the bathroom window havineg a smoke and look at the mountains knowing my birds are not effected, is very relaxing.

William Purcell  01/29/2011 5:49 am

Well, of course! Second hand smoke will kill people, and birds are all the more sensitive to any airborn pollutants (spray cleaners, air “fresheners”, mold in damp places). Always be vigilant!

les dudley  01/29/2011 6:17 am

our quaker parott seems to be moulting on a grand scale.shes 2 years old and we`ve never seen it before,any tips

don  01/29/2011 6:23 am

should I be worried that a male princess parrot is helping a pair of cockatiels raising their young eg sitting in box with them,feeding babies and dad, checking on them.He is not interested in his partner. thanks Don

Macawma  01/29/2011 9:48 am

Good luck…I can’t count how many people that have asked me what I think is wrong with their bird, why it has no feathers, as they light up another ciggy. When I tell them, it’s like talking to a brick wall. Tobacco addicts, when it really comes down to it, don’t care about anyone or anything but their own selfish selves. Many times those smokers have a mate in the house who smokes as well so the birds get a double whammy…so sad…

Chelle  01/29/2011 10:02 am

Duh, after all the info about how candles, etc. are bad for birds, why would people think smoking is OK? I am a smoker with 3 birds, but I NEVER smoke in the house (it stinks!) and always wash my hands thoroughly before handling them and don’t cuddle them in anything I was wearing while smoking. But there are still people out there who smoke in the house/car with their own children, so obviously those folks just don’t get it.

Marcy  01/29/2011 10:48 am

I have a male cockatiel that is going through his first molt and looks terrible. He has broken all of his tailfeathers but one. He has a new tailfeather growing in and it too looks terrible, it is a white one and it is already bent. Will he ever look like his beautiful self again? I feel so sorry for him, he doesn’t know what is happening to him. Please help. Thanks.

Catalyst  01/29/2011 11:47 am

I am quite a smoker myself (And any who say quiting is easy can bite me) and so is my roommate, we have two birds in the home, thankfully they are both rather happy and healthy (youngest was mistreated by her breeder but she’s recovering very well) and I have found that, if you have birds and smoke, especially a heavy smoker like myself and my roommate, invest in some HEPA filter purifiers, don’t go for ionizers as they have a side effect of creating ozone which isn’t any good for birds or you, just a nice, strong HEPA purifier, can find them for 50 bucks if you look in the right places, it will help clear the air greatly and make things easier on yourself and your parrots, that along with airing the house out frequently can help a lot.

Yes, it’d be great if everyone could just quit smoking if they have parrots but, lets be realistic here, the habit is not easy to break and some people become violent without their cigarettes, nicotine addiction is no laughing matter, for those unable to quit, at least take extra measures to help clean the air for your feathered babies.

LIsa Smeltzer  01/29/2011 12:45 pm

I have read this before and since then have been very concerned about smells in my house. I read scented candles and plug ins and cleaning supplies can be bad. Now I am wondering about my wood burning stove. It is our only heat and it does sometimes get smokey in the house. What about my perfume. I am thinking now if I can smell it, then it is bad for my bird. What can I do but get rid of him and I don’t want to do that.

Nicolas  01/29/2011 12:49 pm

Mine just got killed by the smoke of a teflon pan. Is it possible?

Mary Ann Perchalla  01/29/2011 1:50 pm

OK, is that “picture of the week” on the right, a picture of a cute little conure on a chair in front of a computer desk with an ashtray with cigg buts in it?

Howard  01/29/2011 3:45 pm

A little follow up on some previous blogs. I tried cutting slits in the “parrot pinata” that hung for months untouched in my Amazon Tupaco’s cage and placing some nuts in the slits. At first he ignored it, but then I noticed all the treats were gone. I began filling it nearly every day, but forgot one morning as I was in a hurry. When I came home, the pinata was on the floor of the cage. Now I don’t miss a day. I tried the pita sandwiches and he also like them, but will not eat the pita, only the treats inside. I’ve tried to get him to eat pellets using all your tricks. I think he would rather starve. Finally one of your commentors mention walnuts, so I tried shelled organic walnuts. Tupaco loves them and they have become his favorite food. Keep up the good work.

Deb Williams  01/29/2011 4:44 pm

I hate that people make their animals and their families suffer by smoking in their homes and in their vehicles. I am a smoker. I smoke outside. If the weather is bad, I do NOT smoke. My blue and gold Macaw Keisha was rescued from a home where the people smoked. She is a different bird today because of no smoking in my home!

LANI  01/30/2011 2:15 pm

I’m 59 and never smoked. My mother did & died at the age of 53 of Lung Cancer. I can imagine what secind hand smoke can do to a bird. I have a Cockatiel & I would NEVER allow someone to smoke around her. I NEVER let anyone smoke in my house or car. not only because of the health issues but I also think it stinks!

sarah Bayfield  01/30/2011 4:52 pm

I have a very lively dusky headed conure who likes to be warm and cosy especially in the British winter time. I often light my wood burning heater to heat the house and he is positioned about 5 metres away and seems to love the heat it brings to the room. I do not know how harmful this smoke could be to my bird as the wood burner has a glass door and a small vent to the front so i think a little smoke must be escaping.
What shall i do to remove any smoke odours in the room that may be damaging my birds lungs and is there any wood i should not burn due to the odours that are given off and could be more toxic than others? It is too cold and draughty to open a window at this time of year to ventilate this way.

Jamie  01/30/2011 9:37 pm

My bird is pretty lucky. I don’t smoke . I am an asthmatic and have lots of allergies. So Jazzy my 4 yr old parakeet looks pretty healthy, and I don’t think she’ll have any respiratory problems. We even have an air purifier in the room. Crazy bird! Love to spoil my pets.

Patty  01/30/2011 10:19 pm

Hi Nicholas,
Not only is death by teflon possible, it happens all the time. Please read this article: Do get rid of that cookware. The gases they produce are deadly to birds and humans! I am very sorry for your loss.

Patty  01/30/2011 10:26 pm

Hi Lisa,
Odors themselves are not deadly, it’s the particulates in them that flow into the air that cause the problems. As long as you spray your perfume on in another room your birds will be fine. Here’s an article that discusses the rest: Use the flashlight test I mentioned in the article to see how much smoke your woodburning stove is producing.

Roger Leclercq  01/31/2011 12:50 pm

What about fireplace smoke I keep my Gray in the room away from the fireplace 9wood burning stove)but in the evening she is on her stand in the same room and there doesent seem to be any problem

j mayne  02/01/2011 10:06 pm

I know for a fact that second hand smoke is not only harmful to our feathered friends,but can be fatel.I lost my best bud of 19 yrs. to lung and heart desease.I raised my blue and gold macaw from a tiny baby with no feathers.I’ve learned a valuable lesson at his expense.There will never be any smoking allowed in my home .So please, if you’re a smoker and have pet birds(or any pet) do your smoking outside.

Jamieleigh  02/02/2011 9:26 pm

Yes, since our topics this week are very smoke-related, we figured it was appropriate to show WHY we talk about the things we do. Many of our readers are in that situation and we feel it’s important to bring this information forward for them. Not to make them feel crappy about themselves for being smokers, but to bring them the information they need to change their unhealthy environment for their birds. The pic of the week is a subtle reminder that it’s a real issue and that people have more to learn. We’ll be having more topics like it this week.