Blue Indian Ringneck Parrot standing tall on pile of blankets.

Essential Oils are Not Essential to Parrots

Essential Oils are Not Essential to Parrots

Like foods and wing clipping, essential oils and diffusing makes the list of debated subjects that probably won't end with a final debate. Because it's all very personal. Personally, I don't diffuse oils. Not because they are a threat, but because they aren't proven safe and effective compound quantities for companion parrots. I opt out of things I can't know for certain. When in doubt, don't. This last thought saves heartache and frustration.

Which isn't to say these volatile aromatic compounds found in plants are dangerous. They carry a 5000-year history of human use and application to the holistic front of healthcare both physical and mental. So, there's certainly a case to be made they can work, and do work, for humans.

Inside healthcare points of the avian world, there is a lot we do not know for fact. Anecdotally we find many examples of success in a wide variety of subjects to include feeding, housing, and stress reduction. But let's face it, each flock lifestyle is its own island. It's all very personal. No one knows your parrot better than you. Certainly no one knows my flock better than my husband and me.

Is diffusing essential oils safe around parrots?

I look at airborne anything in our home as a whole, not parts. Dust, dander, household cleaners, personal hygiene products, perfumes, diffusers, plugins, Febreze (banned here), new flooring, paint, new appliances, new furniture and the like are manmade elements that literally bring in and emit some form of outgassing compounds. New carpet can knock you off your feet for the smell. The cheaper the carpet the more petroleum is involved. 

Air quality in every person's home is different. Science and study results say the most polluted location in our daily life is our own home. Because of all the elements living inside a controlled environment. If you have family members in your home with respiratory issues you know cleaning your home's HVAC ductwork is mandatory. All manners of compounds and mites and uglies that jet around our home live in there, and some spawn in there. Add the element of humidity or lack thereof and that is a big ball of floating compounds we can't quantitate nor truly understand as an impact. We can just agree a breath of fresh air is nice.

I don't diffuse essential oils for another reason; in the wild when a companion parrot lights upon a tree or bush full of fruit and flower, they enjoy the impact of those essential oils; outside, in breeze and open air. Diffusing inside a home is not the same thing, at all.

The human dynamic is hard on a parrot's physiology. There's no getting around that point. We can only offset and compensate to the best of our ability. So, for me diffusing is just one more thing added to a closed environment and its air quality that does not need to be added. It's a choice.

I've banned plugins, candles, scented whatever that gadget is, sprays, Febreze, and dryer sheets. I banned all my personal hygiene and makeups that contained petroleum compounds and heavy metals. Which is to say, I banned 99%. I had to start all over on that thinking. I do not wear perfume. I do not handle my parrots after applying lotion to my hands until I can no longer feel the lotion.

The question of diffusing, scenting, cleaning, and affecting our in-home environment really needs to boil down to one simple question; is it necessary? We love our parrots so very much; we want to give them the world. And sometimes we cook up ideas just to be able to nest and smother them with our love and adoration. (Or is that just me and my excesses?). End of the day the question should be, is it necessary?

We all have the same goal: The best we can for our companions. The state of "the best we can" is a very personal definition. I can only share our definition with you on this subject. I won't arrogantly stand ground on a foundation of unknowns and claim a truth. So, I won't.

But I will say putting orange peels in a crock pot and slow simmering all day sure smells good. I also know that the simple citrus oils came straight from my oranges. No labeling needed. 

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Leave a comment

* Required fields