Wood

Best safe wood choices for birds:

Apple, ash, aspen, balsa, bamboo, birch, bottle brush, borneo wood, dogwood, dragonwood, eucalyptus, grapewood, java wood, magnolia, manzanita, maple (excludes red maple), mulberry, pine, spruce and willow

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Worst unsafe wood choices for birds:

Cedar, driftwood, oak, red maple and branches from apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach + plum trees (these fruit trees will release cyanide if ingested), any wood (with or without bark) that contain any pesticide residue (including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, dormant spray and miticides), wood infected by fungi or bacteria that produce toxins and any treated wood

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How to properly clean and sanitize wood before offering to your bird:

  1. Scrub all branches with a non-toxic disinfectant, such as hydrogen peroxide or GSE
  2. Rinse and dry well (you can leave the branches out in the sun to dry or leave to air dry inside after drying with a cloth or paper towel)
  3. Remove bark using a blade scraper (if desired)
  4. Bake the perches in the oven at 250F for an hour to kill off bacteria and possible insects, fungi, eggs, etc that could be on or inside the wood
  5. If there are any dark spots, moss or bits left on the branch that may not look safe to you, you can use an abrasive pad to remove them before offering to your bird

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Tips for offering natural, safe wood:

  • Never use branches found on the ground, only use branches attached to the tree
  • Avoid wood near highways or railroads, try to find trees away from polluted areas
  • Don’t use branches from trees if you’re unsure if it is safe or has any pesticide residue
  • Don’t use bleach to disinfect wood, there are safer alternatives like hydrogen peroxide or GSE
  • It’s recommended to remove bark from apple branches as it contains arsenic and may harm your bird if ingested
  • Choose branches that best suit your bird’s size, the larger the bird, the larger the branch diameter should be
  • Only use nickel plated or stainless steel hardware for building perches and toys as they are the safest metals to use for bird products
  • If you want to paint wood, use non-toxic dyes (like food colouring, cake icing colour or tempera paint)