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There have been requests to add an emergency section to our Helpful Hints. Feel free to send in your suggestions.


In this world of current disasters and weather changes, it is important to be prepared for any last minute surprises....whether they are from earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, firestorms, extreme heat/cold or floods/droughts. Here are some ideas for things to do for any emergency:

  • Maintain a list of emergency telephone numbers at your fingertips. Create an emergency evacuation plan.
  • Keep all of your important papers in one safe place, including documentation on your Grey(s).
  • Keep travel carriers close to the door for quick evacuation. It may be helpful to have a wire cage, in case your Grey enjoys chewing through plastic, as Merlin Tewillager does.
  • Keep your car’s tank filled up.Make a list of emergencies and what to do for each one, in order to remind yourself should you get upset in an emergency. Include the telephone number for your veterinarian.
  • Keep a first-aid kit on hand and update it every six months.
  • Keep at least three days supply of water and food on hand.
  • Always update the supplies. This also includes some of your Grey’s favorite "dried" foods, such as seeds or fruits, which your Grey will eat, no matter the circumstances.
  • If you’re in an earthquake area (or potential area), make sure your grey’s cage is strong enough to withstand the pressures.
  • Always have the following supplies: flashlights/batteries; (non-scented) candles/matches; portable radio/batteries; disinfectant/bleach; gas lanterns/fuel; first-aid kit/spray bottle; and blankets for warmth and covering the cages.


Nancy Sheffer has forwarded to us the steps she follows whenever Twia and Alex have any mishaps, such as hurting their beaks:

  • The first thing to do if your parrot has hurt its beak is to stay calm.
  • Place the bird on a perch and look quickly to determine the problem.
  • Get a dessert dish, fill it with either flour or corn starch.....DO NOT USE QUICK STOP ON BEAKS!!!
  • Either dip the bird’s beak in the dish by placing dish up to beak (or with your fingers, if your parrot is too nervous–publisher) and do this three or four times and then wait a minute.If the bleeding doesn’t stop in about 5-8 minutes, call your vet.
  • Keep water away from your parrot because water weakens the "flour clot" and the bleeding may start again. If all is okay after an hour, it can then have some water.....but if bleeding starts again, just dip in more flour.
  • Always remain calm. For a few days after the mishap, your parrot’s beak will be sore and therefore, it will probably not crawl around in the cage with its beak and it will also need to be fed soft foods during this time.
  • Even if you do get your bird’s beak to stop bleeding and it appears to be healing, call your vet anyway. The vet may need to remove the rough edges and hairline cracks need to be looked at since bacteria can sometimes grow in them.
  • Humans have been known to fall apart when emergencies like this the best thing to do is to know what to do if this happens, and then love and cuddle your FID for your own well being.
  • If you don’t have flour or corn starch available, put something on the beak to apply gentle but firm pressure, until the blood clots. If it doesn’t stop bleeding in a few minutes, call your vet. (Please DON’T ever apply Quick Stop (Kwik Stop) to beaks. Publisher)


  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Rhubarb
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Pits and pips of many fruits, such as cherries, peaches, apples, apricots, grapefruit, nectarines, oranges, lemons, plums and so on–---remove them before serving, please
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Beverages containing caffeine
  • High fat and fried foods
  • High sugar foods, especially candy

If you’re unsure or don’t feel right about serving your Grey a certain food, DON’T!!!


Did you know that our birds’ respiratory systems are more efficient than ours? A bird’s respiratory system is connected to its skeletal system, and its bones are hollow and lightweight. Therefore, because of this connection, the moment it breathes something, it travels immediately through the entire body through the skeletal system. This means that the tiniest "toxic fume," even a fume that you can’t smell, can overcome your bird in minutes, as it travels throughout the bird’s body immediately through the hollow bones and skeletal system.

Further, due to a bird’s small size, high metabolic rate, low body fat AND efficient respiratory system, it is EXTREMELY sensitive to toxins and particulate irritants, and it can die in minutes when exposed to intoxicating airborne substances. This is why canaries were used to warn coal miners in the early 1900's .....if the canary died, the miners knew to evacuate the mines immediately before being overcome themselves by the fumes.

One of the worst dangers is the non-stick ingredient called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which comes under many brand names, such as TEFLON, SUPRA and SILVERTONE, to name a few. When cookware with PTFE (ANY NON-STICK COOKWARE) is heated, it breaks down and emits several types of organic gases and hydroflouric acid: the gases and acid attack the air sacs of the birds almost immediately. Also, after "teflon" or other non-stick surfaces are scratched or tainted in any way, they are susceptible to breakdown of the acid and gases, no matter the temperatures.

As the world becomes more modernized and the push is for more convenience, the grip of "teflon" or PTFE on many different products has escalated. Always check with manufacturers to make sure their products are "teflon free." Be careful and avoid the following types of products that have non-stick coatings:

computer printers
space heaters
crock pots
hot air poppers
hair dryers
coffee makers
heat lamps
bread makers
ironing board covers
non-stick rolling pins
stove top burners
lollipop molds
drip pans
never-stick stainless steel
broiler pans
pizza pans
waffle makers
tortilla presses
electric skillets
and MANY other appliances.

Other dangerous airborne products include, a partial listing only:

  • carpet fresheners
  • scented candles
  • heavy cleaning chemicals

If you notice your parrot gasping or wobbling from fumes, immediately put it near an open window for fresh air and call your veterinarian. Most birds die almost immediately from severe pulmonary congestion, but you might be lucky enough to save yours. But the best way to save your bird is to keep ALL appliances with ANY KIND OF NON-STICK SURFACES OUT OF YOUR HOUSE!!! Throw away the pots and pans with the coatings and purchase ones made from stainless steel without non-stick coatings.

NANCY of CALIFORNIA is great believer of corn starch to stop the bleeding. One time she clipped ZELDA’s nails too short and learned this safety trick.

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