Birds are extremely sensitive beings. Their respiratory systems have difficulty with household toxins (which affect all animals and humans negatively on some level). Artificially scented products, air fresheners, fragranced candles, liquid potpourri, and many cleaning supplies can be dangerous to birds. There is even information on the dangers to household birds that if exposed to noxious fumes of ‘overheated’ Teflon-coated and non-stick cooking pans can affect birds negatively. While essential oils are naturally-sourced from plant material, they still contain potent chemical components and must be used with care based on the individual and their health history, as well as the overall safety cautions and contraindications that apply. If you choose to use essential oils with your birds be sure to seek the advice of a veterinarian the also specializes in avian healthcare and who has additional education in the safe use of essential oils.
- Use caution when diffusing essential oils in a household that is home to domesticated birds (especially those restricted to a cage).
- Do not apply pure undiluted essential oils to birds.
- Avoid use of any artificial fragrances with and around birds.
- Some diluted hydrosols (based on the hydrosol components and the individual’s health history) may be used with birds and fowl: chickens, guinea fowl, turkey, ducks, etc.
- Use caution with handling the bird if you have applied essential oils/aromatherapy products to your skin (hands), etc.
- Always keep essential oils and aromatherapy products out of reach of children and pets.
There are some veterinarians that specialize in working with birds and who also have additional education in the safe use of essential oils and have had good success in incorporating aromatherapy for certain issues with domesticated birds. If you choose to use essential oils directly with your birds (especially parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and smaller birds) be sure to connect with a veterinarian that is trained in this modality.
Animal Planet online article: Teflon Toxicity (PTFE Toxicosis) in Birds