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"Finishes Safe for Domestic Birds"

April 9, 2010

We recently acquired a cockatoo and in all of my research, it seems that birds are extraordinarily sensitive to finishes on metal. In fact, zinc (a coating used in most metal hardware)is toxic to birds. Many bird toy and cage manufacturers still use metal w/zinc, in spite of this because it is cheaper and there isn't a watchdog organiztion out there who regulates safety of such products. The experts recommend stainless steel as an alternative, but it is so expensive! A stainless steel cage can run between $1200 and $2000! I just spent $10 for 18 inches of stainless steel chain to hang a bird swing. A stainless steel quick clip costs $6. Is there a cheaper hardware alternative that would also be safe . . . like something listed as nickel coated? Are there any spray paints out there that would prevent rust on an iron cage that is also non-toxic to birds?

Lynn Taylor
metal consumer - Heyworth, Illinois

April 13, 2010

First of all, shop around. If you're capable of fabricating your own bird cage, you'll be able to find stainless steel wire mesh at reasonable prices. Here' a link to stainless "space cloth". It looks like you could buy enough for a cage for less than $100.


Nickel plating is FDA approved for all food uses, so I believe it will be safe for birds too.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

April 15, 2010

Oldest food safe plating is tin plating,probably better and safer option than nickel (well known allergen).Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

April 15, 2010

Hi, Goran. Thanks, and probably a good idea!

But birds aren't people and might have very different allergies. To illustrate, one way of deterring squirrels from bird feeders is to coat the seed in cayenne pepper, which the birds don't taste, but which makes it inedible to mammals.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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