Q: I got a gift certificate for a place that sells essential oils. Can I use them around my bird?
– Deanna, C. – Saginaw, MI
A: The use of essential oils is an age old practice that has earned itself a valid and respected place with those who use aromatherapy and have witnessed some pretty remarkable results.
Not only can you use them around your birds, but you can use them to improve your bird’s general well-being and to conquer health issues – as long as you do your homework so that you use them correctly. Perhaps the most important aspect to using essential oils safely with a parrot is in selecting the right, high quality oil.
The foremost authority on the use of essential oils with parrots would have to be Angela Nelson who has written a book that covers all aspects: Aromatherapy For Parrots. Anyone interesting in taking this journey with their bird should have her book on hand for reference.
In her book she says:
“Essential oils are complex mosaics of hundreds of different chemicals. A common essential oil such as lavender can have 300 or more different chemical constituents, and many of these constituents occurring in minute quantities, but nonetheless adding to the oils overall therapeutic effect to some degree.”
To me, this is a most important consideration. Much like the different foods we grow, each has its own unique signature. Our understanding of each component is sometimes minimal – but we know that when all of the pieces are together in the form provided by nature, it is right. In order for it to remain right, it has to be issued in its purest form or it becomes something other than the earth intended and no longer predictable in its safety.
If you question the need for essential oils in the life of your parrot, consider this thought provoking quote from Angela’s book:
“Since essential oils can be found in the roots, stems, bark, leaves, wood, fruit, flowers, rinds and berries of plants, is there ever a time where a wild parrot is NOT exposed to essential oils? Even when they are just perching on a branch, the essential oils within that branch is being absorbed through their feet. “
This begs the question of whether we can provide a more natural and healthy existence for our parrots if we return essential oils to their environment.
So here’s the thing – if you want to take a more holistic approach to your parrot’s care and explore essential oils you need to educate yourself and do it properly. There are different oils for different occasions and different delivery methods. This book will explain everything you need to know and give you all the DOs and DON’Ts. You can get Angela’s book on Amazon.
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.