Tag Archives: parrot

How do you control feather dander?

One of our Twitter followers recently asked if we manage dander by bathing the birds a lot. The root of the question refers to the copious volume of dander that parrots (especially cockatoos) produce.

As you may recall from our blog post, Do you love dust and dander?, Garuda Aviary’s flock creates more dander in a week then the average household creates in a year. In one year, our flock produces more than 6 pounds of dander! That much dander can completely occlude air filters and destroy a building’s HVAC compressor. Not to mention the damage it can cause in the lungs of mammals and rainforest parrots. So our questioner is wondering how we manage all that dander. Good question!

Frequent misting showers are one important way of managing dander. At home, you wouldn’t want to shower a parrot too often. Some breeds will develop chronic dry skin from excessive showering. 2 – 3 times a week is the common guideline for showering most types of parrot.

At Garuda Aviary, problems like the high production of feather dander had to be addressed during building construction. The facility is divided in half. Both sides have their own isolated ventilation system so that the rainforest parrots don’t breathe the cockatoo and African Grey dander. Also, both HVAC systems have high capacity air compressors to circulate a large volume of air in a short period of time. And every two days, the Aviary’s ventilation return filters are blown clean with a portable air compressor.

So to our curious Twitter follower, the answer is this: Our flock does get showers for good hygiene and dander control. But with so many cockatoos, we had to implement more substantial measures from the beginning to manage so much dander.

Thanks for asking!

Do you have a question for the Parrot Whisperer? We’d love to hear it! Send it to us at GarudaAviary@earthlink.net

What Makes Parrots So Anxious?

(Question #4 from our new FAQ page)..

Parrots are prey (animals hunted for food by carnivorous animals). Parrots recognize humans as predators (animals that hunt and eat other animals) because we can look at them with two eyes at the same time. When a predator hunts prey, they focus their eyes on the prey to determine how far away it is and what they will have to do to catch it. When a predator stares at prey squarely with both eyes, an instinctive fear response is triggered in the prey. This ancient instinct is telling the prey to get away from the predator.

Not only are parrots prey, they are wild prey. There is no such thing as a domesticated parrot. Domestication takes a long time over many generations. Humans had completely domesticated dogs and cats a few thousand years ago. Parrots, however, gained their popularity as pets only within the last 150 years. Any parrot you find in a domestic setting is identical to its counterpart in the wild. Parrots as pets are not “domesticated animals,” rather they are “captive wild prey.” And parrots bred by people are not “domestic bred animals,” they are “wild animals bred in captivity.”

Also, parrots live in flocks. Being prey, gathering in large groups offers safety, as there are many eyes to look out for predators. A parrot’s whole sense of security and even their personal identity revolves around their flock. But we humans don’t buy flocks of parrots. We buy one parrot. We bring that parrot home, put it in a cage that is often too small, and stare at it with our predator eyes. As a result, most parrots in a domestic environment develop anxiety disorders.