If you have a bird you will have
feather dust in every nook and cranny of your home. It takes vigilance to
keep up with it.
So what is it and where does it come from.....
When a feather develops
you will notice a distinct sharp protrusion from the skin. As it grows, the
feather will take on the appearance of a quill complete with a blood vein
surrounded by a protective keratin sheath. This protective sheath will dry up
and fall off once the feather has fully matured. The breaking up of the keratin
sheath is the cause of feather dust.
When birds preen they are meticulously
rearranging and reordering their feathers. They are also breaking open the
sheaths on new feathers. These actions are usually followed by a fluffing
and shaking action whereby they send this very fine dust floating throughout
your house. Aaaachoooo!
To make matters worse, some bird species, most
notably Cockatoos, Cockatiels and African Greys, also have additional
feathers that shed a very fine powder of keratin which acts to waterproof their
feathers when the bird preens. Birds with these extra feathers are called “Powder
Powder down can be a hazard to one's health if you or a family member has
allergies, asthma, or respiratory problems. Your other birds can also develop
respiratory problems if you have a powder down bird.
There are some steps you can take to help
minimize the occurrence and impact of feather dust on your home and health:
Give your bird regular
baths to help rinse
the dust directly off of them.
Wipe down the surface of your bird's cage
with a damp cloth daily.
Change cage bottom daily.
Lightly mist the cage bottom liner before
disturbing it to decrease the amount of dust you stir up when you remove it.
Vacuum or damp mop around the cage
immediately after changing the cage bottom
Invest in an air purification system for
your bird room.
Use a vacuum with a HEPA or water filter
system to trap fine dust particles.
Replace furnace and air conditioning
filters at least monthly.
bird grooming sprays.