African greys are dusty birds and they will produce more dust than most other species. They are large birds and this alone can be a big source of dust, but even relative to their size African greys are quite dusty. There are steps you can take to mitigate the cleaning problem, but they are dusty.
Keeping a parrot is a big undertaking, and African greys can be one of the hardest to manage of all species.
They are large and they have complex emotional needs, not to mention the physical clean up involved with keeping one.
Dust is going to be one of the big elements of this, and African grey parrots are certainly a very dusty species.
Let’s find out more.
Are African greys considered dusty?
African greys are definitely a dusty species.
They are powder-based birds and they can cover a cage in dust with only a single shake.
Many large species of parrot are similarly dusty, like cockatoos, cockatiels, and Amazon parrots.
Keeping an African grey will mean maintaining their environment and keeping it free from dust, for both your sake and for theirs.
This often comes as a surprise to many new parrot owners, but it’s definitely something you’ll need to carefully consider before going ahead and buying an African grey.
Parrot dust, especially when it comes as a surprise, can be a deal breaker for many people.
Perhaps the most important thing to stress in this question, especially for those who have never owned a parrot before or at least those who have never owned a large species like an African grey before; keeping them is a huge job.
Some shelters report as many as 80% of these large species are rehomed within the first couple of years for a variety of reasons.
This is hugely emotionally distressing to the bird.
If you are going to buy a large parrot like an African grey, you need to carefully consider every single thing that their care will involve.
Dust, though a relatively small thing among some of the other demands of looking after an African grey is nonetheless something you’ll need to consider before buying one.
Owning a parrot will mean a huge commitment on your part, everything from the constant attention to the cleaning job.
Dust is going to be a constant battle, then, and one you’ll need to prepare your home for.
There are many ways you can do that, but first of all, let’s look at why they are dusty in the first place.
Why is my African grey dusty?
Bird dust is more properly known as dander.
This is a substance shed from the bodies of many animals that have fur, hair, or feathers.
African greys have special feathers which are closer to their bodies and much more down-like.
When your African grey preens—something it will do constantly—these feathers are then slowly broken down into this grey, sometimes white, powdery dander.
This powder further aids in keeping their feathers clean and soft. So, effectively, the dust helps your bird keep its skin and feathers clean.
So, again, dust is not something you can entirely eliminate.
We will look at ways to mitigate the problem, but ultimately it is something your parrot will always produce.
Without it, their feathers would quickly deteriorate and they would become irritated and their skin drier.
In a sense, human beings also shed something like dander in the form of dandruff from our heads.
It’s something that many animals need to do otherwise their hair, fur, or feathers would be impossible to manage—we just don’t notice it so much in ourselves because of our regular showers.
Firstly, then, are African greys messy in general?
Are African greys messy?
The short answer is that African greys are very messy.
They are large birds and this alone means that the clean-up job is going to be a great deal bigger than with other species.
They will poop a lot, and they will almost always tear up any toys they are given that are not sturdy enough to avoid this fate.
You’ll have to replace their bedding very frequently and fully clean their cages at least once a week.
The more you have, the bigger the cleaning job is going to be.
They use their beaks and feet for everything, and though intelligent as they may be, this lacks some precision.
This means that they will often end up throwing things around haphazardly and they will get their food and toys everywhere.
If they have the freedom to roam, at least in one room, as they should, then they will poop just about anywhere.
Again, you are signing up for a big job here—don’t underestimate the level of commitment this will take.
How do you deal with parrot dust?
Again, it’s important to stress that there is no getting rid of dust entirely.
It’s a fact of owning a parrot.
But there are some things you can do to mitigate the problem of parrot dust everywhere.
One of the most important things you can do is regularly bathing your parrot, or at least giving it a bowl of water in which to bathe itself.
This will catch the bulk of the dust if they are doing it regularly enough and it will not simply be shaken out all over their cage or environment.
Beyond that, though, you will simply need to regularly dust and clean in their environment.
Even taken as many baths as they possibly can, dust will get everywhere, and so you’ll need to have dusters and cloths to wipe it up before it gets to be too much.
Filters for the air are essential, too, especially if you cannot have windows open to let fresh air in.
You must get the dust out of the air otherwise you will breathe it in and, in the long term, this can be very bad for you.
So, while there are steps you can take to make the dust situation easier, again, remember that there is no eliminating it entirely—you’ll have to be cleaning up after your parrot on a regular basis.
What are the dustiest parrots?
The dustiest species are generally considered to be the African grey, the cockatoo, and the cockatiel.
Most parrots will produce some level of dust or dander, though, so it’s usually simply a question of size.
African greys produce a great deal more dust because they are larger, to put it simply.
Is it bad to breathe in bird dust?
Breathing in bird dust is extremely bad for you and can lead to a number of serious health complications if you don’t take steps to avoid breathing it in.
Again, air filters are absolutely essential and without them the very air you breath, both for you and your parrot, will become contaminated.
You must use air filters to get the dust particles out of the air, and you must not penny pinch on the price of an air filter—you can do lasting damage to your lungs if you don’t take the proper steps to get the parrot dust out of the air.
What are the symptoms of too much dust inhalation?
The symptoms will be similar to breathing in ordinary dust.
You will be sneezing and coughing a great deal.
You’ll get irritated eyes and they will start to hurt and water.
On the more serious end of the scale, your lung tissue will start to swell and you may develop asthma like symptoms as well as even throat infections.
Again, a lot of these will be due to long-term exposure but this is what you are in for if you don’t take the proper steps to filter the dust out of the air.
It is essential that you know what you’re doing with the dust.
So, again, unchecked parrot dust in your home can cause serious problems if you aren’t careful.
If you’re looking to get an African grey or any species of dusty parrot, you’re going to need to think carefully about how you will manage the dust and what you’ll do to prevent it getting into your lungs.
Unfortunately, there is no way around the issue of parrot dust in African greys; they all produce it naturally and without it they would suffer greatly.
Owning a parrot is not a small undertaking, and when it comes to African greys, dust management is one of the big parts of the clean-up job.