Not even sure where to start. I guess I will start by saying that I was at a store and over heard someone say they used Fabreeze in their living room and their birds all died. I know other people that have used it with no problem.
Several years ago on another bird board a guy that posted frequently told all of us that he wouldn’t be back and wanted to offer a warning. He, his wife and two children lived in an apartment and shampooed their carpet. Without replaying the details they lost their birds after the use of a common steam carpet cleaner. I owned the same machine and used the same name brand cleaner, used it many times with no problems.
I can go on with a number of sad stories and these are just two examples off the top of my head. Why do these things happen to some yet don’t seem to effect someone else the same way? I DON’T KNOW.
I was with my sister a couple years ago when she came to town and she wanted to go to Yankee Candle. I fell in love with their accessories as much as the candles. As I was explaining to the clerk why I would never burn candles she said she had never heard of that and she was sure that their candles were ok and wouldn’t cause problems. Another clerk came from the back room and heard the tale end of our conversation. She came up alarmed and asked if I had birds that died. I explained the conversation to her, and she wished she had known the dangers of candles several years ago because she lost her beloved bird after burning a candle. For the record I never asked if it was a Yankee or if the wick was cotton, zink or lead. I asked exactly what type of wax was used in the Yankee candles and she said she didn’t know for sure. I looked her in the eye and said “so your willing to promise me that I will not loose 10,000 dollars worth of birds and you don’t even know what kind of wax is used”? She said I was right and said I should do more research. That is exactly what I did. I searched and searched the Internet. I called and talked with one of the teaching doctors at the Kansas State University Veterinary Hospital. I called veterinary doctors I have worked for and called three doctors I have taken my pets to in the past ten years. I also called a number of veterinary clinics that stated they were avian vets in the Colorado Springs area. NOT ONE OF THEM COULD answer that question definitively. Is it the wick, the wax or the scent????? Oh, my husband also worked with a number of vets associated to Zupreem food and we asked them too.
Not sure who else to ask.
I also thought there had to be a way to safely enjoy candles without putting my birds at risk. At one of the bird shows in KC that was spoken about I purchased one of the air filters they demonstrated several years ago. It was one that during the demonstration showed someone pour straight ammonia on a cloth and put it against the intake of the air filter. In seconds you could cover your face with the cloth without a trace of odor. Thinking it had to be a trick we ran out, bought ammonia and a rag and went back to try it for ourselves. We got the same result and ended up buying the air filter on the spot. (800 dollars) We have since purchased a second for the basement. We also have an attic fan powerful enough to clear out smoke from the house in about 40 seconds.
About 14 months ago I decided to buy a “woodwick”soy candle, I love the sound of a fireplace and we burned it on the head of our bed while we read before bedtime. I sat the air filter in the hallway just outside our door. For Christmas I made candles as gifts. Right after Christmas I found a wax that far exceeds the soy candles everyone is so crazy about and it holds (and releases)12% more scent than soy wax and the best part is it has about the same consistency as soy . It is called coconut wax. I also found out that Yankee candle uses 30 soy and 70 paraffin wax in their candles. (I took a couple of Yankee candles and melted them down putting them in my own containers next to my mixture of 70/30 then gave them to family and friends and asked them to tell me which was which. They couldn’t tell, period. Paraffin can be obtained from petroleum or can be a synthetic paraffin. Since I can’t tell the difference and don’t KNOW the difference and generally the packaging doesn’t say, I tend to stay away from using it.
I have since started selling my candles because I know of several die hard Yankee fans out there that flat told me if my candle was on the market they would buy it. Yes I too MAKE AND SELL CANDLES, and I burn them around my birds.
I also know that there are many avian lovers out there doing without candles. It would be easy for me to honestly say I burn my candles with absolutely no problem.
So why do I include a warning on the bottom of my candle that says NOT TO BURN AROUND BIRDS? Several reasons.
Sooner or later someone will burn a candle and a bird with die. It may or may not be because of the candle but I can’t afford a law suit. I can’t prove that my candles won’t cause problems for any bird out there. With all the negative information about candles that IS what it would come down to, having to prove my candle didn’t kill their bird. No matter what the bird dies or how the law suit turns out I will get some very negative publicity.
Remember the air filters I said we have? They run 24-7 and the people I sell to most likely don’t have one, (even a cheap one).
When I make the candles I have a window open just on the other side of where I stand, and the attic fan is pulling air out and away from my birds.
I honest to God believe that the wicks and wax I use cause no problems because I have burned them in the same room with my birds, unscented and later scented. I also believe that 99% of the scents I use are also harmless however there are 3-5 that I will not order nor will I allow anywhere on my property. The one that comes to mind is cedar. I have read that the wood and scent are both toxic to birds. I believe that it is only a matter of time before my bird customers will forget which scents are ok and which ones are not ok....it will only take one time to forget. Pine is also a no no.
I also know that not all of my bird customers will have the same size house as I do. I can’t sit here and tell anyone that the scent that is dispersed in a small apartment will be as harmless and the scent dispersed in a larger house.
I can honestly say that my birds have shown no problems while burning my candles. I can’t tell anyone with 100% confidence that there is no LONG TERM damage being done. How sure are YOU?
I have to assume that other people love their birds as much as my husband and I do so I am unwilling to promise anyone their birds won’t die because I simply do not have the documentation or research to back that up. In my opinion anyone that makes that clam is irresponsible and or possibly a little dishonest. (It does matter exactly what is said and how it is said).
So can you say scensy is safer because it doesn’t have a wick......I think NOT because it depends on the scent and to my knowledge no one has done a comprehensive, independent unbiased study on candles or scented wax. (not and research that I was able to find between one and two years ago)
Can you say that any candle that uses a cotton wick is safe.....I think NOT. Can anyone say that it only depends on the wax used? Well NOT that I know of.
One thing that I can state that has been a fact in my research is that any candle that can be sold and shipped in the hot summer time has something else added to it. That is also true about the coconut wax I use. That certainly has created a problem selling or shipping. It also creates a problem for the customer because if they buy it and then leave it in the car while running into another store real quick has and will create problems for the customer and seller. I guess that is another topic however I want to stress that I have doubts about any candle that would hold up in the sun or on a very warm day. I have not found a bird “safe” additive to raise the melting temp of the two safe waxes I feel comfortable saying I believe are safe.
Just in case someone asks about Palm wax.....It is a wax that is already responsible for the destruction of many acres of forest in Indonesia. Coconut wax comes from coconuts and doesn’t require the tree to be harvested. Palm wax requires the whole tree to be cut down. So you see I want to be totally responsible to the earth, the animals and the people. I have literally spent months researching the topic of candles, especially bird safe candles. 9continued below)
Last edited by BirdsMom; 10-27-2011 at 12:28 AM.
Owned by and slave to:
Freedom, Dakota (German Sheppard's)
Leggs (Blue tick coon hound, rescued from Katrina and highway)
Two brother mix breed dogs found dumped in the middle of the highway
Duck (cat rescued too)
Burt, Maxine- Congo African Grays
Bobby- Lesser Sulfur cockatoo
Guetto, Quincy -Blue crown conures
Birds are rescues or have come from previous homes