In captivity, bird dander is the invisible enemy to both birds and humans. These minuscule flakes of dead skin make way for newer, healthier skin. And looking at the big picture, this is a good thing for your bird. However, constantly sending such a huge amount of particulates into the air can cause the air to become unhealthy. Here are 5 things you can do to minimize the dander and keep the air healthy.
Offer Bird Baths—I once met a lady who described a bird bath as throwing some water in the air and running from under it. Even though that may appear to be a pretty accurate description of what you pet does, offering your bird the opportunity to clean itself with warm water is one of the best ways to get rid of dander before it can become airborne.
Some will love having a bowl of tepid water placed in the cage for baths. Others might enjoy showering with you with the air of a shower perch. The water pressure should be set to misting so that it does not frighten or injure their wings. You are the best judge of which method your feathered friend will enjoy better.
Bathing should be done early in the day to allow for complete drying before cooler nighttime temperatures occur. This avoids the risk of chills. Check with your veterinarian for the healthiest frequency.
Clean the Cage Regularly—A complete cleaning at least once a month will really help clear the air. Particles can stick to bars of the cage, the underside of the cage roof, and to perches and other toys. Taking the cage outside for cleaning and sanitizing will eliminate particles that are invisible to the eye. Sanitizing the cage will kill bacteria and virus that often attach to particles which can and often are easily inhaled.
Control Your Numbers and Make A Careful Choice—-If you are dedicating a small space for the bird room, keep the number that you adopt small. Having too many in a cramped area makes living conditions nearly impossible to keep healthy. One or two birds make a smarter decision.
And whereas all birds create dander, there are powder down birds such as Cockatoos, African Greys, and Cockatiels that drop a white powder as well. If you are still in the process of deciding, give careful thought to whether you want to add to the clean up with a bird that generates bird dust as well as dander.
Clean Smarter—The thought here is to trap the pollutants rather than fan them into the air. This means damp mopping and wiping surfaces rather sweeping or dusting. Always vacuum with a cleaner that traps pollutants securely without letting them escape. Equipping your room with easy to clean surfaces such as tile, wood floors, blinds, shutters and easy-to-clean fabrics and furniture will help.
Filter the Air—Unless you actively remove particulates from the air, pollutants will continue to build in the air and make the air thick for you and your bird to breathe. For your pet this can mean clogged air passages which very often lead to disease and infection that is hard to reverse. For humans the increase in airborne particles causes flare ups for allergy and asthma sufferers and can trigger respiratory issues to begin.