If you are planning to get a pet cockatiel, there might be several questions on your mind. Perhaps the most important s – are cockatiels hypoallergenic? I answer this in detail below.
While no bird or animal can be completely hypoallergenic, cockatiels are less likely to trigger allergies in someone who suffers from them.
Their smaller size means they shed less feather dust than bigger pet birds.
In the following article, I will discuss feather allergy, why cockatiels are hypoallergenic, and how to manage cockatiel dander in your house.
Can Birds Be Completely Hypoallergenic?
As I said above, birds cannot be completely hypoallergenic because all birds produce some amount of dander.
Dander is the powdery flakes that you see coming out of your bird’s feathers and skin.
You can find it settled in the nooks and crannies of your home or settled at the bottom of your bird’s cage if you do not clean it regularly.
But as I said earlier, cockatiels produce less dander than most birds and, therefore, are less likely to trigger allergies in those who are sensitive to it.
Birds that are larger in size produce more dander than small and mid-sized birds. Therefore if you’re someone who suffers from allergies but wants a feathered companion, the latter can be your best option.
How Common Is Feather Allergy?
True feather allergy is not as common as you might think. It’s quite rare.
Most of the time, allergies that are suspected to be caused by feathers are actually caused by mites in the feather dust.
Feathers, by themselves, are not a potent source of allergies. But the powdery particles they produce can cause allergens.
Having said that, a few people are allergic to feathers and may experience symptoms like wheezing and coughing on exposure.
Those that suffer from severe allergies might experience breathing discomfort and respiratory issues as well.
Hence if you start experiencing these symptoms persistently after being exposed to feathers, it’s best to get it checked out by an allergist.
Why Smaller Birds Are Less Likely To Trigger Allergies
Smaller birds, such as cockatiels, budgies, and parakeets, are less likely to trigger allergies.
This is because larger birds usually shed more dander, and that can be problematic for allergy sufferers.
A smaller size means lesser feather or bird dust. It also means that your bird is likely to create a smaller mess which is easier to clean.
But, all birds produce some amount of dander. So if you are keen on getting a pet bird, you should always try to live around it for a few days before taking a final call.
If you find yourself experiencing a reaction to the feathers, it might be best to consult with a medical expert.
Can You Be Allergic to a Cockatiel?
Although rare, there’s a possibility you could be allergic to a cockatiel.
They produce some amount of feather dust, so if you are allergic to animal hair or dander, you could be allergic to them.
If you have bird allergy, dust mite allergy, or any other underlying allergies, the presence and dander of a cockatiel might trigger those and cause a reaction.
However, I know of a lot of cockatiel owners who keep their birds despite a mild allergic reaction because cockatiels are excellent companions.
As long as the symptoms are manageable, many bird lovers are ok to live with them, just to have a bird around.
What Are Some Cockatiel Allergy Symptoms?
If you are allergic to your cockatiel, the persistent presence of certain symptoms will help you diagnose your allergy.
Some of the most common symptoms you might notice are a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing.
Often, these symptoms can be mistaken for a cold, cough, or throat infection.
On a more severe level, the allergy could manifest as respiratory issues, asthma symptoms, congestion in the nose, and sinus pressure.
If your symptoms persist and become severe, you should consult an allergist as soon as possible.
How To Relieve The Symptoms
Several over-the-counter anti-allergy medicines are available to help relieve your symptoms. Oral antihistamines should do the trick and provide you relief.
If you’re experiencing blocked sinuses, try cleaning the nasal passage with a saline solution.
However, if you find the allergies triggering a severe reaction like tightness in the chest or trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention.
During this time, avoid contact with allergens by reducing direct contact with your bird. The distance should provide you with some relief.
There are a couple of ways you can prevent allergic reactions altogether by managing bird dander in your home. I will discuss a couple of ways in the next section.
Managing Cockatiel Dander in Your Home
You can take several precautions to manage your cockatiel’s dander and avoid allergies.
- Keeping your bird clean is of utmost importance. Regularly misting or bathing it will keep its feather dust to a minimum.
- Every time you touch your bird or physically interact with it, wash your hands afterward to avoid transferring particles to your nose and mouth.
- Clean the cockatiel’s cage regularly. Feather dust mixed with bird droppings can also create a significant allergen. Cleaning with a damp cloth will take care of loose dust and prevent it from mixing in the air.
- Consider investing in a good air purifier or a HEPA filter that absorbs loose particles and dust and keeps the air in your home clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of birds are hypoallergenic?
As I said earlier, no bird is completely hypoallergenic. All of them produce some amount of dander or bird dust.
But among the parrot species, birds such as cockatiels, parakeets, macaws, budgies, and toucans produce dander in lesser quantities because of their smaller size.
This makes them fairly hypoallergenic for all practical purposes.
Do cockatiels have a lot of dander?
Cockatiels do not produce a significant amount of dander. Their small size means that the amount they produce is much less than macaws or cockatoos.
Cockatiels are tropical birds and hence do produce lots of feather dust.
But as long as you regularly bathe your bird and keep it clean, the feather dust won’t be a significant issue.
What is the most hypoallergenic pet?
While no birds are completely hypoallergenic, some of them in the parrot species shed less feather dust.
Small-sized birds such as cockatiels, budgies, parakeets, macaws, and toucans are among the ones which are the most hypoallergenic.
Conures, Quaker, Pionus, and Eclectus parrots are also among those that have lesser feather dust.
Can cockatiels make humans sick?
Cockatiel dander can make someone prone to allergies sick.
The dust from their feathers could trigger allergic reactions in someone sensitive to bird dust or has other underlying allergies.
Cockatiel dander can also significantly impact people with a history of asthma or lung issues.
No bird is completely hypoallergenic, given that they have feathers that will create some dust.
However, if you are keen on getting a feathered companion, you can opt for a bird that will produce significantly less dander.
Cockatiels are among those birds which produce less manageable dander, making them an ideal choice for allergy sufferers.