You are here:   Forums
Register   |  Login

***IMPORTANT NOTICE 6/4/2018*** - Unfortunately Birdline are now full with regard to rescue birds, and are currently UNABLE take additional birds into the charity. We will provide an update as soon as the position changes

WARNING – Please Be Aware 

If you are looking to re-home your parrot, please always use a reputable Parrot Rescue Organisation.

Always check to ensure the organisation you wish to use is registered with an approved organisation such as ‘The Charities Commission’ 

Please note that we only operate in England, Scotland and Wales. Birds going to be re-homed or safe housed must stay in one of these three countries 

PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 01-02-2012 4:49 AM by  SharonH
 1 Replies
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages
Registered Users

Advanced Forum Member
Advanced Forum Member

Send Private Message

01-02-2012 4:41 AM

    Looking around on the internet as I do every now and then for bargains, I came across this... scary! It is so sad when pet stores sell items that are no good for our pets, and they do not even know about it. How is the "average" maybe first time owner to know if they are not informed properly. Most people do NOT spend hours on the web reading up unfortunately.

    The company in question has been informed by the way.

    Copied and pasted from PSUK:

    Zinc and its Danger to Parrots

    The primary use of zinc is to coat iron or steel in a process called galvanization to prevent rust. Zinc protects steel and iron from rusting it also dissolves in aqueous acids or bases. Recently zinc powder coating has become a very popular way to finish steel cages. The incredible success of breeding parrots in captivity and keeping them as pets, has lead to many cage manufacturers producing galvanized powder coated cages in the moderate price range.

    Although a bird requires a certain amount of zinc to remain healthy, too much zinc is very dangerous and can cause degeneration in the liver, kidney and pancreas and even death. Certainly parrots must be viewed as very likely to be affected by all environmental zinc. Parrots are commonly housed in wire cages. Most are housed outside or in avicultural situations are in galvanized steel wire cages or aviaries. But parrots will be parrots and many regard their cages or aviaries as something else to chew on. Parrots are unfortunately cases of zinc poisoning waiting to happen due to their persistent habit of chewing at the galvanized aviary wire mesh or galvanized powder coated cages .

    So it is up to the Parrot owners and breeders to learn more about this deadly metal and how to safeguard their birds. They need to know how to recognize the symptoms of zinc poisoning and what can be done if our bird becomes ill.

    There are two types of zinc poisoning:


    Acute toxicity is caused when a bird ingests a metallic object containing zinc or flakes of paint which contain zinc pigments. In this case a relatively large amount of zinc is ingested at one time and the levels of zinc in the body quickly become elevated.


    Chronic toxicity usually occurs when small amounts of zinc are consistently consumed.

    Zinc is soluble in soft water and in acids. When galvanized dishes are used for water or for acidic foods (fruits and juices), the zinc can contaminate the food and be consumed. The amount of zinc ingested is less, but it is constantly being resupplied and causing internal damage to the bird's organs. Zinc rust from galvanized wire can be another cause of chronic poisoning.

    Zinc is a cumulative poison, which is not easily eliminated from the body. Once ingested, it is deposited in the liver, kidneys, muscle and pancreas. There is limited excretion through the urine, intestinal tract and bile. Prevention is the best method of dealing with zinc toxicity. Remove the sources of zinc and your bird will be safe and you will sleep better. Zinc comes from a wide variety of sources, but it must be ingested to cause harm. Since birds spend a majority of their time in their cages, this is the first area to protect.Paint - Birds can ingest flakes of paint. Today, most cage manufacturers use safe paints and powder coating, but do ask questions when buying a cage. If you have a cage with chipping paint, you should get the paint flakes tested for toxicity. If it is toxic, then either strip and repaint the cage or replace it. Be sure to use paints which are both lead and zinc free. Many anti-rust paints contain zinc, so check with someone knowledgeable. If you don't want to bother, then replace the cage.

    Galvanized Wire

    Galvanized metal which has been electroplated is safe, but galvanized wire (hot dipped) is not. According to Avian Medicine: Principles and Application by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison, birds can ingest zinc from cages and clips made of galvanized wire. Toxicity can be reduced (but NOT eliminated) by scrubbing the wire with a brush and vinegar or a mild acidic solution. This removes any loose pieces and the white rust (zinc oxide) which forms on the wire. Over time more white rust which is also poisonous will form, so enclosures must be re-treated periodically.

    The cheaper forms of galvanized wire are very poorly made and should never be used. If you examine it closely you will see pools of lead and zinc metal in the corners of each square of the mesh - an invitation to a curious bird. Although a bit more expensive, if you must use galvanized wire, purchase galvanized after welded wire, which has less pooling and should flake less, or electroplated wire mesh if available.


    There have been instances of zinc toxicity caused by padlocks. This has been reported in larger birds who are able to flake pieces of the coating off or to place parts of the lock in their beaks and dissolve some of the zinc.


    Common signs of zinc intoxication include excessive urine in the droppings (polyuria), polydipsia, weight loss, weakness, gastrointestinal problems, anemia, cyanosis, hyperglycemia and seizures. Feather plucking has also been a reported symptom(Resolution of zinc toxicosis has resulted in dramatic improvement in feather picking in many instances). Acute toxicity cases demonstrated lethargy, weight loss, birds may vomit, but may stop eating, greenish diarrhoea, loss of balance (ataxia), and death. . Chronic toxicity symptoms included intermittent lethargy, and depression, gastro-intestinal upset may occur. Kidney damage may result in a bird developing increased urination and water drinking. Feather picking is commonly observed in Parrots with zinc poisoning.


    If you suspect your bird may have zinc poisoning, take him immediately to a veterinarian. He can perform a blood serum test which measures the level of zinc in the blood. Blood zinc levels of greater than 2 ppm (parts per million) are considered evidence of zinc toxicosis. For example, 1.63 ppm is considered an average normal level for cockatiels. The White Blood Count may also be elevated. If your vet suspects zinc, he may take x-rays, looking for a piece of metal which may have been swallowed.


    One method of treatment is the use of a chelating agent which binds with the zinc in the body and is then expelled. Injections of Calcium EDTA and D-penicillamine have been used. There is also an oral chelating agent, DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid). If a piece of metal has been swallowed, then the primary treatment is removal either via catheter or forceps or by cathartics such as sodium sulphate, activated charcoal or mineral oil. Surgical removal can be used as well. Additional treatments are also available. Choice of treatment(s) should be made by a veterinarian based upon the individual situation. (References: Avian Medicine: Principles and Application by Ritchie, Harrison and Harrison)

    Forum Moderator

    Veteran Forum Member
    Veteran Forum Member

    Send Private Message

    01-02-2012 4:49 AM
    We have had a bird down here that was very seriously ill with this and i posted about it then. I was astonished when the vet said how many cases he sees of this.
    You are not authorized to post a reply.

    As part of the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) we have to give visitors to our web site an opportunity to choose not to accept Cookies each time they visit. The most straight forward way to achieve this is to ask people to 'Accept Cookies' (or not) each time they visit the site. The users choice will then ONLY be remembered while the browser is open, once it is closed or the computer is shut down the cookie will expire thus the users choice will not be remembered.
    To learn more about what cookies are and how to manage them visit