There are a bunch of materials that we think will work when taking care of birds, but there here is a list that is really bad for your feathery friend.
Gravel/grit or Sandpaper products such as perch covers or cage liners
Gravel is not needed for hook billed birds such as Budgies, Lovebirds, Parrotlets, Cockatiels or parrots. Even Finches and Canaries do not require grit. We do not recommend putting gravel or gravel paper on the bottom of your cage. Quite often this product is sold with cages that have no grate. This method of cage care encourages the bird to pick at the gravel which may be contaminated with it’s own droppings. The gravel paper and all other sandpaper products are made with glue, and quite often irritate the skin.
Cuttle bones are sold as a calcium source for birds. We prefer natural Manu, containing calcium and many trace minerals missing in the cuttlebone. Also Manu is baked to ensure that they are free from fungi and bacteria. In addition there are also many excellent, safe, formulated mineral blocks, some available in many flavors.
Chemical Cage Protectors
Birds absorb toxins very quickly. It does not make sense to place a disk which emits a chemical or pesticide continually, on or near a bird’s cage. If your bird has no mites, and you practice common sense in cleanliness (for example do not buy open bin bulk foods for your bird) then it is very unlikely your bird will get mites, unless directly exposed to a bird already infested. If you suspect mites on your bird, see an avian vet immediately for proper treatment.
Seed Only Diets
Bird nutrition has come a long way in the past 20 years. Wonderful leaps have been made in developing formulated diets which help birds to maintain optimum health and better immune systems. It is not a coincidence that many species fed seed only diets have more health and behavior problems. However we do recommend that seed be used in moderation for most species, in addition to a formulated diet and fresh foods.
Round Cages or Too Small Cages
It has been well documented that most birds do not do well in a round cage environment. A round space does not lend to creating a flight or variety of play areas. Also it has been observed by many experts that most birds are stressed by a lack of definition and corners they can perceive as hiding places. Although some birds may adjust to a round cage over time, why not provide the best cage space for your bird? Wider, rectangular cages allow you to create a more interesting and healthy environment for your bird.
Open Bulk Foods
Many bird diseases are transmitted by air and touch. Open bins allow anyone in a continually changing public to put their hands in or lean over these bins. With so many excellent sealed packaged mixes on the market, the wise pet owner will not take this risk. Bins set up to pour out in bags without having to touch the bulk seed are much better. This method also circulates the stock for fresher seed.
Using Only Straight Dowel Perches
When a bird has only dowel perches, especially if they are all the same diameter, it is very unnatural, boring, and can even cause some health problems. We recommend lots of different diameters and textures, such as natural wood, cotton rope, sisal rope, and grooming perches. Perches do not need to always be placed straight across as it is much more interesting to arrange multi levels and different lengths with perches that attach to only one side.( In some cases, 2 sided attachments can be better. For example, in the case of very large active birds, the perch may need the added support.)
Over the Counter Remedies
It takes years of training to become an Avian Veterinarian. Diagnosing a bird’s illness is not a job for the average person. The variables are endless, and it can be dangerous to administer the wrong medication or the wrong dosage to your pet bird. Some over the counter medications only mask an illness temporarily, and waste precious time that could save your bird’s life. Quite often the cost of these medications equals the cost of a proper veterinarian check up. Some people purchase medical insurance for their pets, in the event of a costly illness or accident. Others may chose to set a little aside regularly to offset such an expense.
Peanuts in the Shell
Because peanuts grow underground, they may be contaminated with fungal spores which are linked to Aspergillosis in parrots. This can result in a respiratory infection. This illness is treatable, but can result in a permanent chronic condition. Unsalted, blanched , shelled peanuts are fine. However, we do prefer walnuts, and other tree growing nuts for their nutrition.