Hello there! So, I have two wonderful budgies by the names of Sprite and Storm, and one cockatiel, Hazel.
I will be going on a trip to my grandparents house that lasts for a week, and I have nobody to care for my birds while I'm gone. My birds travel quite often, and it doesn't bother them.
The only catch is that my grandparents smoke. When we're there, because they know we disapprove of it, they only smoke outside, but the smell and chemicals are still in the air.
I am worried about taking my birds into a smokey environment like that.
Do you think they'll be okay, or is it an absolute no-no?
What about lingering smoking odors?
Thereís no research in the medical literature as of yet showing that lingering cigarette odors cause cancer in people. Research does show that particles from secondhand tobacco smoke can settle into dust and onto surfaces and remain there long after the smoke is gone. Some studies suggest the particles can last for months. Even though itís no longer in the form of smoke, some researchers call this thirdhand smoke or residual tobacco smoke.
Tobacco smoke residue is still being studied. Particles that settle out from tobacco smoke can combine with gases in the air to form cancer-causing compounds that arenít found in the fresh smoke. NNK and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), carcinogens that are known to cause lung cancer, have been found in dust samples taken from the homes of smokers. Research has also shown that thirdhand smoke can damage the DNA of human cells in cell cultures.
Though yet unknown, the cancer-causing effects of smoke residue would likely be small compared with direct exposure to SHS. Still, the compounds may be stirred up and inhaled with other house dust, and may also be absorbed through the skin or accidentally taken in through the mouth. This is why any risk the compounds pose may be larger for babies and children who play on the floor and often put things in their mouths.
More recent research has shown that these compounds that settle into fabrics can be removed by normal washing.
No actual cancer risk has been measured at this time, but the health risks of smoke residue are an active area of research.
If it's at all possible, I would get a trusted friend or neighbor to care for your little ones while you're gone.
The article Deb gave you is very good--I would add that since budgies have such tiny, delicate lungs, I wouldn't risk it and would leave them with someone you trust to care for them.
If it's not possible to get someone like that to look after them, then take them, and they should be okay.
and Princess Mallorn!
Thank you to Deb for her wonderful Faery magic
Excellent advice from everyone as usual. I would like to add that since there is no risk from lingering cigarette smell, the only discomfort for your budgies being in that house would be the bad odour (I know I wouldn't like it either!)
Definitely in a room that doesn't smell too bad, if possible air it before you move your budgies in. Lastly, and again only if doable, keep a window ajar so some air can circulate but make sure that the budgies' cage in in a draft free zone of the room. Use a match or candle to check for drafts.
I agree with the plans suggested above-- that is some great advice. While certainly not ideal, your budgies would only be in that home for a short time and you will take steps to limit their exposure (ask your grandparents if you could remove the curtains and any fabrics from that room, keep a window open, etc.). Plus they won't have to go without your company
But I would like to clarify that there is indeed risk from lingering cigarette smell, aka "third-hand smoke". It's not as bad as first-hand (you smoking) or second-hand (breathing in smoke from someone else's cigarette) but it certainly is not benign. There is plenty of research showing that third-hand smoke has similar dangers to first and second-hand smoke. This is why doctors counsel parents who smoke to change their clothes and wash their hands and even hair before holding their baby, for example.
I completely agree that there is a risk associated with third hand smoking, not that it is a concern when staying a short time in a smoker's home, especially when there will be no active smoking inside the house in that period.
So relax and do the best you can for your birds. They'll be fine
Whew, thank you guys so much.
I was really worried about them...
I will do my best to try and find them a trusted caretaker before going though, I think it'd be better If that doesn't work out, I'm glad to know they won't die or anything. Thank you all!!