I’ve agreed to look after my friend’s Pionus parrot while he is away for the next couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the little bird.
While I’ve been getting everything ready, my number one concern has been cleanliness.
I like everything to be neat and tidy, and I know parrots can cause a bit of a mess.
I’m still more than happy to do it, but there was one question that was on my mind before I got started—are Pionus parrots dusty, like a lot of other species are?
I decided to look into it.
So, are Pionus parrots dusty?
Pionus parrots are not quite as dusty as other species, though they do produce some dust. They are certainly dusty, though not as much as the dustiest species, like cockatoos and African greys. All parrots produce some dust, but Pionuses are not that bad as parrots go.
Pionus have, in some cases, been known to produce enough dust to cause problems for people with lung conditions.
If you are particularly vulnerable to breathing in such particulates, then you will need to think very carefully about whether owning a parrot is right for you.
There are a lot of things to consider.
Let’s look into this.
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What is parrot dust?
Also known as parrot dander, or feather dust, this is a substance that virtually all parrots produce when they preen or flap their wings.
They secrete this dust through a gland on the base of their tail, usually.
Dust is spread from this glad over the feathers when the parrot preens itself.
This dust helps to properly clean and maintain the feathers, since they need constant maintenance in the wild if they’re to help them fly all the time.
Obviously, this natural instinct towards preening continues in a home environment, and they still produce the same amount of dust.
As a parrot owner, being prepared for this is going to be one of your roles. It will take some cleaning, so be prepared for that.
Now, let’s get back to Pionus parrots specifically.
Are Pionus parrots very dusty?
So, compared with the dustiest species, Pionus parrots are not especially dusty.
They produce dust, for sure, and you will notice it.
It will build up near where the parrot hangs out, and you will breathe some of it in.
This is a fact of owning virtually any parrot.
But the dust will be more than manageable if you know what you’re doing.
Pionus parrots are probably one of the better choices in terms of dust, for one thing, because they don’t produce a lot.
Also, though, the fact that they are not quite as manic as other parrots, and won’t spread it around quite as much.
By and large, it will mostly fall to the bottom of their cage.
Regularly clean their cage, and you should only have minimal issues with Pionus parrot dust.
If you are having big problems with it, though, then there are some tips we can give you to help you out.
How do I get rid of parrot dust?
There are a number of things you can do to reduce issues with dust, and they are all about maintaining your bird.
With proper grooming and cleaning of their living space, you should barely even notice the dust.
Firstly, be sure to give your bird regular baths.
Pionus parrots like physical interaction really only on their own terms, so you’re going to have to encourage them to take a bath on their own.
They should want to do this, though, and this will help to directly rinse the dust off.
As I also mentioned, you should change the bottom of the cage daily.
Be sure to have sawdust or something similar in place—this will make cleaning out the dust a lot easier, as you can just replace the bedding.
When you fully replace it, you can also wipe it down with a cloth.
You can also use a water mister so that you minimize the amount of dust that you disturb and stir up when you are otherwise maintaining the cage.
This will prevent the dust from simply travelling out into other parts of the room.
You will often disturb the bedding when you don’t want to change it—this is when you should mist it.
Can bird dust make you sick?
If you are predisposed to certain kinds of lung conditions, then yes, bird dust can make you sick.
In most cases, a single Pionus parrot will not produce enough dust to make you sick.
For someone with no history of lung issues, it’s very unlikely there will ever be any problems.
If you’re unsure, though, you should speak to a doctor before you welcome a Pionus parrot into your home.
Though it is, for most people, quite harmless, parrot dust can be an endless problem for those who are sensitive to it.
Parrots, in a lot of ways, are just as allergenic as dogs and cats.
So, no matter how you look at it, Pionus parrots are going to produce dust.
It may be less than other species, but it will be there.
It’s important to realize, though, that producing dust in this way is completely normal.
It’s just part of how they maintain their feathers. If you are prone to asthma attacks, or really any kind of lung condition, though, it’s important to take the time to consider whether a Pionus parrot is right for you.