It is important to be aware of the types of metals that can be harmful to birds and should avoid introducing them into your aviary or bird’s environment. Generally, any metal that has not been plated or treated with a protective coating is considered unsafe.
Examples of these metals include lead, zinc, and copper. Lead is a common toxic metal that can be found in many everyday items including batteries, fishing sinkers, and paint. It is an acute toxicant and can cause severe neurological symptoms and potential death in birds, even in small doses.
Zinc can be found in galvanized wire, nuts and bolts, some hardware utensils, and screws. Birds can develop a condition called zinc toxicity if exposed to large amounts of zinc. Copper toxicity is common in birds that are exposed to copper sheeting, copper wiring, and copper pipes.
Ingesting too much copper can be very harmful to birds, causing liver and kidney damage, as well as anemia. Chromium, arsenic, nickel, and mercury are also commonly found in everyday products and should be avoided due to their toxic effects on birds.
Is all stainless steel safe for birds?
No, not all stainless steel is safe for birds. Stainless steel is a great material for pet products because it is non-toxic, strong, and easy to clean. However, if the grade of stainless steel is wrong, or it is a metal alloy that contains certain substances like zinc or, in some cases, nickel, it can be toxic for birds and other small animals, even after being cleaned.
For birds, high concentrations of zinc, especially zinc sulfide, can cause zinc poisoning. This is why it is important to use high quality, food grade stainless steel when choosing bird toys, bowls, or any other products that come into contact with your pet.
Good choices include 304 or 316 stainless steel, which are safe and free of any toxic metals.