Safe and Unsafe Plants

For questions about finch enclosures (cages & aviaries).
User avatar
nelloyello11
Weaning
Weaning
Posts: 1901
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:50 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by nelloyello11 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:18 pm

Has anyone any experience (good or bad) with Kimberly Queen Ferns? It's a common house plant, but can't find it on any of the safe or unsafe lists, though there are several other ferns listed as safe.
It would not be going IN the cage, just next to it, but they may be able to reach some fronds.
Nelissa
Image
1 NG (Peter), 2 SF/FF (Astrid & Nina) and 2 BC (Desmond & Penelope) Zebra finches
2 Owl Finches (Hedwig & Fawkes)
Painted turtle (Keeker)

User avatar
Sally
Mod Extraordinaire
Mod Extraordinaire
Posts: 17927
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:55 pm
Location: DFW, Texas

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Sally » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:29 am

I used a Kimberly Queen fern last year, and the only problem with any fern is that the finches love to tear them apart for nesting material. I really think that many plants on the unsafe list are more about hookbills than finches, though finches will eat vegetation. When using any plant either inside a cage/aviary or just outside (within reach of the birds), it is best to have extra plants so you can rotate out when they get looking ratty.
3 Purple Grenadiers, 1 Goldbreast + 1 cat.

National Finch & Softbill Society - http://www.nfss.org

User avatar
nelloyello11
Weaning
Weaning
Posts: 1901
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:50 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by nelloyello11 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:50 pm

Sally wrote:I used a Kimberly Queen fern last year, and the only problem with any fern is that the finches love to tear them apart for nesting material. I really think that many plants on the unsafe list are more about hookbills than finches, though finches will eat vegetation. When using any plant either inside a cage/aviary or just outside (within reach of the birds), it is best to have extra plants so you can rotate out when they get looking ratty.

Thanks, Sally! I'm not too worried about them destroying it. They will only be able to reach one side at a time, so I figure I can just keep turning it. Plus it was pretty cheap!
Nelissa
Image
1 NG (Peter), 2 SF/FF (Astrid & Nina) and 2 BC (Desmond & Penelope) Zebra finches
2 Owl Finches (Hedwig & Fawkes)
Painted turtle (Keeker)

User avatar
Nipper06
Novice Nester
Novice Nester
Posts: 446
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Wilmington, Delaware (USA)

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Nipper06 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:18 pm

I think in most cases, birds will avoid toxic plants, probably because they taste bad. I've had tame, free-flying birds over the years (doves, parakeets, Java Sparrows) and they've been allowed to fly around where I have every imaginable houseplant and none have ever poisoned themselves. Still, I wouldn't put any real (live) house plants in or next to their cages.

The key might be to provide ample safe greenfood in their cages so they won't be tempted to eat bad-tasting houseplants. But I would also make sure that no houseplants are ever accessable from or within their cages, as bored caged birds, left to their own devices, may chew on any accessable plants not just for food but also just out of habit, to satisfy their chewing instincts, or to gather nesting material (whether or not they are really nesting). But when mine are out having free-flight time, outside of their cages, they don't seem very interested in plants.

My doves, parakeets, and Java Sparrows currently get supervised free flight time in my sunroom and I have every imaginable house plant in there - including Poinsettias.
Image

The red colored plant on the left is a Croton (Codiaeum) which I sure is on a toxic plant list. No birds ever nibble it.
Image

Here are Java Sparrows I had in the 1990s. In summer, they were given hours and hours of free-flight time on my screened porch, in which I had tropical plants - none were eaten and no birds were poisoned.
Image

Image

This Scarlet Chested Parakeet has never chewed any plants in my sunroom - but this species of parrot is known to leave plants alone in an aviary - yet he loves spinach and salad greens in his cage.
Image

But inside my finch cages, I only use plastic or silk plants (for camoflaging nests or just to make them feel secure). My Green Singers, shown here, get safe greenfood several times a week - but I still wouldn't risk having any house plants (or any plants on the toxic list) next to their cages because they might chew them out of boredom or try to make a nest out of them, thereby ingesting some.
Image
Ron

My Pets: 2 Java Sparrows, 1 Canary, 4 Gouldian Finches, 1 Green Singer, 2 Ringneck Doves, 1 Budgie, 2 Rosy Bourke Parakeets, and 1 Mixed-breed Terrier

User avatar
DanteD716
Good Egg
Good Egg
Posts: 8084
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:16 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY
Contact:

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by DanteD716 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:29 pm

Great info and nice photos!
Dante

User avatar
DanteD716
Good Egg
Good Egg
Posts: 8084
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:16 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY
Contact:

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by DanteD716 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:32 pm

Nelissa, I have a large spider plant on top of my parakee t cage and it extends ino both my zebra cages and society cage, the zebras don't even go near the extending leaves
Dante

User avatar
Nipper06
Novice Nester
Novice Nester
Posts: 446
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Wilmington, Delaware (USA)

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Nipper06 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:04 pm

I let my birds fly loose in my sunroom, where I have all kinds of house plants on the toxic list, and they never get sick. In fact, I've never seen them eat any plants except the greens I feed them in their cages. Of my finches, only my Java Sparrow and Spice Finch get free flight time but they also don't eat any bad plants.

I think birds know not to eat plants that taste bad. I think only really bored birds that don't get any safe greenfood are at risk. But I would still avoid putting any potentially toxic plant inside their cages, where it's there tempting them constantly.

Image

My Java Sparrow likes to vist the other birds - he goes back in his cage when he's done
Image

One of my Doves likes to sit in a Ficus tree.
Image

My Spice Finch gets free flight time - here he is on another type of Ficus tree - he returns to his cage all by himself
Image

Bourke's Parakeets are safe around finches - one of the few parrot species that are so unaggressive
Image

It's quite a jungle in there but the birds love it. I even play jungle bird songs in there.
Image

I only use plastic or silk plants in my bird cages, however, ...just in case.
Image
Ron

My Pets: 2 Java Sparrows, 1 Canary, 4 Gouldian Finches, 1 Green Singer, 2 Ringneck Doves, 1 Budgie, 2 Rosy Bourke Parakeets, and 1 Mixed-breed Terrier

User avatar
Sally
Mod Extraordinaire
Mod Extraordinaire
Posts: 17927
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:55 pm
Location: DFW, Texas

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Sally » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:12 am

What a great place for your birds! I'm sure they love all that greenery, looks so natural for them. A wonderful place to relax.
3 Purple Grenadiers, 1 Goldbreast + 1 cat.

National Finch & Softbill Society - http://www.nfss.org

debbie276
Bird Brain
Bird Brain
Posts: 14789
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:30 am
Location: WV

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by debbie276 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:52 am

Now that's a sunroom!!
Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing =D>
Debbie
long time breeder of lady gouldians:
Green
SF Pastel (SF Yellow)
Pastel (Yellow)
Blue
SF Pastel Blue (SF Yellow Blue)
Pastel Blue (Yellow Blue)

GREAT articles on avian lighting:
https://mickaboo.org/confluence/downloa ... ummary.pdf
http://www.naturallighting.com/cart/sto ... sc_page=56

User avatar
finchfunaddict
Hatchling
Hatchling
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:17 pm
Location: Washington, Indiana

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by finchfunaddict » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:40 pm

Thanks so much for the info. I have been looking plants up online but they very seldom say what is poisonous to birds etc.....Thank you,Lisa
Lisa

User avatar
Ursula
Proven
Proven
Posts: 2186
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:07 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Ursula » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:13 pm

Ron, that's a beautiful place!!

I think most "unsafe plants for birds" lists are made for hookbill owners. My budgies would definitely chew anything in the aviary, any plant or wooden branch, including the window frames... :roll:

My only issue with finches is that especially the spice finches and lavendars rip off strips from the leaves of the palms I put in there, for nestbuilding and courting rituals. Because of that and the budgies no plant lasts longer than a few month max. :-)

Edited: P.S.: They do get enough greens as well, by the way, but the budgies still try everything, especially the young ones. It's also a difference if they have constant access to the plants like in my aviary, or occasional access like in Ron's sunroom.
Walk-in aviary with Waxbills (6 Cordon Bleu, 3 Orange Cheek, 3 Black-rumped, 1 Lavender, ), 1 European Goldfinch, 4 Gouldians, 2 Spice Finches, 6 Owl Finches, 4 Budgies and 2 male Button Quail.
I also have 2 parrotlets, 3 dogs, 1 snake and 3 freshwater fishtanks.

Learning Finch
Callow Courter
Callow Courter
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:20 am
Location: Waddell AZ (west of Phoenix)

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Learning Finch » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:31 pm

Ok there is a list of safe and unsafe plants....where is the list of BENEFICIAL plants and shrubs? I'm looking to place small trees or bushes and some type of veining plant in my new aviary. What do finch like best. whats best suited for there life style?? any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

flywhoaman
Pip
Pip
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:10 pm
Location: Texas Hill Country

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by flywhoaman » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:17 am

Ok there is a list of safe and unsafe plants....where is the list of BENEFICIAL plants and shrubs? I'm looking to place small trees or bushes and some type of veining plant in my new aviary. What do finch like best. whats best suited for there life style?? any and all suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
This is a great question, I think. So often, we are charged with creating these spaces and want to "decorate" them with plants that we like or that are readily available, looking only to avoid those that are considered toxic. I am a total "newbie" at finches, but my undergraduate training was in the naturalist curriculum (too bad they don't teach that anymore) and it is my opinion that depending upon the species of finch, you might well want to see what is usually growing in their native habitat. That would clearly be their preference, IMO.

I am starting out with Australian grass finches: double-bar, star, zebra and Lady Gouldian with societies thrown in for hatching insurance. I hope to add on to that group once I am able to make a much larger space for them. I am avidly reading this forum to see what people have done, what they think they did wrong and what they would do again if they had the chance to start over because I am at that exact point. With my grass finches, I intend to attempt to grow a lot of different grasses, especially ones that I know they eat or are fed in Australia. My plan is to use the kind of plastic tubs used in growing nursery stock and rotate the grasses through my aviary. Ultimately, this aviary will be a mixed species aviary and the sunrooms that I have seen here seem to be the best solution to control the climate that is not quite ideal for these birds. Good for me that I am just about to remodel my house!

Since I have been a parrot owner most of my adult life, I totally agree that the list of toxic plants is primarily aimed at hookbills. I lost my dear first African grey after 14 years when a *()(^^%^&%&^%^&%$ "boyfriend" fed him avocado. It was devastating. He was a wild caught bird, one of the last, from an area in Ghana where the birds are slightly smaller than what you see in many other Congo types. He spoke over a thousand words and had the whole house to himself, flying anywhere he wanted. Okay... off topic. He generated a thousand stories.

So back to the point that Learning Finch was making, I think it would be great to develop lists of plants that would be ideal for the various types of finches, whether they are from grasslands of Australia, savannahs of Africa, tropical or subtropical... Those are surely the logical grouping of birds and would make the most beneficial mix in an aviary. I don't think I have to be the Brooklyn Zoo but I think I can try to make the best place for my birds that I can.

User avatar
Sojourner
2 Eggs Laid
2 Eggs Laid
Posts: 716
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:22 am

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Sojourner » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:39 am

I don't know for a fact that pet finches will like this, but my wild finches are nuts for sunflower foliage.

Not the seeds - though they like their chips 'n pieces in the feeder very well - but the leaves. They will eat them right off the stem. I've fed finches for years (mostly goldfinches and house finches) and never had noticed this behavior before - but then I've never before had sunflower volunteers to come up right under the feeders, either.
Molly Brown 11/22/15
Pyewacket 6/15/17
Trudy 2/24/18

Turn towards home, and go there. Many overs, over woods and fields, streams and hills, many overs. Just turn towards home. How else would one go there? Perhaps it was a dream, and you have awakened from it. May the earth rise up beneath you, with home in your heart, and your person waiting.

Maleficum
Nestling
Nestling
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:45 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: Safe and Unsafe Plants

Post by Maleficum » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:24 am

I can't remember the site now (and don't have time looking for it) but on it they had a study of different plants toxicity on budgies and canaries and the one thing a remembers was that Hya ps. was toxic for budgies bot NOT toxic for the canaries so I think its more complicated than just "this plants are toxic for birds".
I have also used a lot of plants on the "toxic lists" earlier for finches without problems.
Deviantart <-- Drawings, Photos, Porcelain painting.

Instagram <-- Follow my blind rabbit on Instagram.

Post Reply