How to Select a Humidifier to Use Around Parrots

Have you ever noticed how dry your hands get in the winter?  Or how the  texture of your hair changes?  Sometimes your throat and nasal passages can become dry and sore. This is due to the low humidity in the air, often during the winter months when our heaters are in use.

Underneath all of those beautiful feathers, a parrot has skin that needs care just as ours does.  When skin becomes dry, it gets itchy – when we’re itchy, we scratch.  Skin conditions are sometimes the underlying cause of plucking in a bird.   If you are noticing changes to your own skin, you might want to consider buying a humidifier.

There are many types of humidifiers on the market, all offering different advantages and drawbacks.  The purpose of any humidifier is to put moisture into the air, but this can be accomplished in different ways. An evaporative humidifier, which I find to be the best choice for those of us with parrots,  is energy efficient and has filters that prevent the introduction of microorganisms and minerals into the air. 

However, they have to be kept clean to avoid bacteria collection and eliminate stagnant water, and although most newer models include filtration to help with this, it will be a weekly chore.  Use vinegar and water or GSE (grapefruit seed extract) for cleaning. Make sure that the model you select is convenient to clean and check for any antibacterial options available.

A cool-mist evaporative humidifier eliminates the possibility of a scalding accident, however, vets recommend that we use a warm-mist humidifier with parrots because the heating of the water eliminates some mold spores and other fungals that might be dispersed into the air.  Also, a cool-mist humidifier takes several hours to bring the room to the desired humidity level (usually 50% or less) and tends to blow cool air- not a desired effect in the winter.

Be sure to note the tank size and buy one that is appropriate to the size of the room/s that you are humidifying.  This will save you the trouble of frequently having to refill the tank.  Also, make sure it has adjustable fan settings.

Remember that this will be operating around a parrot with a sensitive respiratory system.  Never add any chemicals, medicines or fragrances to the water and be aware that a dirty humidifier will throw unhealthful molds and bacteria into your breathing space.  Always be sure to place your humidifier in an area that distributes the mist evenly and is in a safe location away from prying beaks.

Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

12 comments

William Howell

I need to a humidifier tomorrow my Gray is working on itching and removing all the feathers on her legs and neck can you tell me what I can get without breaking the Bank

William Howell
Linda with Jack and Rosie Eclectus

Further to my message yesterday in answer to the calls of help on this page for a humidifier – I received the one I described through the post today within 18 hours of ordering it from Amazon. On the box it says H20 Humidifier and the brand advertised was StillCool. This machine is excellent value for money – very easy to use with a simple design. Absolutely no teflon, because it does not heat the water – and doesn’t need to… It holds 3 litres of tap water and has been running now on the top setting for ten hours and is still more than half full of water. The water vapour comes out the top from two exits and rises about 20 inches high above the machine – looks like steam from a kettle. There is no audible noise at all. Jack and Rosie have been intrigued by the rainbow of soft coloured light at the top that is changing hue all the time. I love it and my eyes and body are definitely less itchy now and my nose is less congested. I placed it on the bottom rails of their Liberta large parrot play stand, because I was unsure if it would create wetness around it (as I had read in the Amazon comments), but after all these hours there is no leakage or wetness at all around it and now the Parrots are in bed in another room, I have placed it next to me on my desk – Im very pleased. I hope that my messages will be posted soon, because this could be what some on this thread have been waiting 4 and even 8 years to find. Kindest regards Linda.

Linda with Jack and Rosie Eclectus
LINDA with Jack & Rosie Eclectus

I have just ordered from Amazon for £19.29… Brand ‘StillCool’ – It arrives tomorrow! Mist Humidifier, 3L Large Ultra-Quiet Cool Air Humidifier for Baby Home Bedroom Office. 2 Nozzles, 3 Mist Modes, Automatic Shut Off and Night Light Function- Lasts Up to 20 Hours. Powered by USB cable (can fit in USB Plug) Top-fill design for easier filling and cleaning. Size: 9.84*5.9*5.9 inch Water tank: 3L Low noise: <35dB Applicable area: 100-300sq.ft Information: The powerful and long-lasting mist greatly helps you relieve the discomforts such as nasal congestion, skin or eye dryness, etc. It can relieve coughs and colds, congestion, dry nose, itchy skin. Instructions clearly say this is Not to be used with essential oils, perfume, distilled water, which will cause the cotton clog and the Humidifier unusable. Ensure the cotton core has fully soaked a few minutes before turning it on, otherwise, it will not work… I will be able to see clearly tomorrow, but it seems that Cotton Humidifier Sticks strips are being used instead of the teflon coated elements that have been cause for concern for some on this thread. URL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08HKZPK8T SEE example of 40 Pieces Humidifier Sticks Cotton Filter Refill Sticks PRICE £6.99 – although in the advertisement it does not say that these are needed with the Humidifier I have ordered… which could indicate that they are for those who use essential oils which will spoil the filter sticks – which parrots certainly do not need. URL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Humidifier-Replacement-Portable-Personal-Humidifiers/dp/B086GB4RW9 We have a warm centrally heated house and the fact that there is no heater in this model is of no concern… I just want to maintains a relative humidity level of 40% to 60% for the Parrots and for me too, as I have COPD Stage 3 and Environmental Health studies (2010) have shown that keeping indoor air at an RH level of 40-60% can reduce survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air compared to lower RH levels. I hope that helps and that you can get this or a similar model in USA.

LINDA with Jack & Rosie Eclectus
Alli

My Avian Veterinarian…100% of my Board Certified Avian Veterinarians over the past 20 years, to be exact…have all said never to use a humidifier around parrots. Between the Teflon and the Aspergillus, it’s just a bad idea. With that said, my CAG does benefit from monthly prophylactic nasal flushes (at the vet), in the cooler months, as he is prone to sinus infections. Furthermore, my vet does have me perch him on the shower rod for a nightly “steam”. When the air gets terribly dry in the winter, I will boil away large pots of water daily. Good luck!

Alli
Brandi

I also have an African Grey and would like to know what humidifier brand is safe. Need a definitive answer.

Brandi
Dwight Stewart

Is there a warm mist humidifier that is safe to use around birds without a teflon coated heating element? My cool mist ones are constantly creating mold and crap on the filters in no time at all even using distilled water. Thanks I just ordered a Honeywell warm mist humidifier but there is no information on it saying if teflon is used on the heating element.

Dwight Stewart
Barbara

I have been looking for a parrot safe humidifier for 4 yrs .My parrot needs the moisture and I have little nose bleeds in the winter.Ive asked everyone what brand and model I can buy even my avian bird vet but all to no avail.Could anyone please tell me the name and model I can buy .Iam frantic!!!!!

Barbara
Kirk

So i cant add any water treatments to the water to prevent bacteria and mold for my burbs?

Kirk
Barbara

I like what was said regarding humidifiers .I have an African Grey parrot and I have been needing a humidifier for 8 yrs an have a lot of trouble getting the name of one that would be safe around my parrot.I get bloody noses , dry cracked skin and my bird has dry itchy skin in the winter.I need the name of one that’s bird safe in regards to mold.I cannot have any nonstick bologny in it either.I have asked numerous people including my avain vet and for 8 yrs I do not get a definitive answer from anyone which is soo frustrating.Can anyone help me????

Barbara
Shawna marzett

Wanting to get a warm air humidifier but I can’t find one without PTFE or Teflon..any suggestions

Shawna marzett
Arline

Includes all necessary information I need to purchase the best humidifier for my parrots.

Arline
J

Kind of confused on this statement above. “vets recommend that we use a warm-mist humidifier with parrots because the heating of the water eliminates some mold spores and other fungals that might be dispersed into the air” Don’t you want to AVOID mold spores by NOT buying a warm-mist humidifier?

J

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