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Almost every bird enjoys chewing on the bark of a fresh tree branch. Avian vets often recommend such chewing activity as important occupational therapy. Like most breeders dream, my first aviary was decorated from wall to wall with very exotic and very
expensive live plants. I tried to replicate indoors what my sister, living in Southern California designed in her back yard aviaries. On my first visit to California, I couldn't wait for sunrise each morning to pour my cup of coffee, wrap a blanket around my legs and rush outside to sit and watch her birds dive and soar in the sunlight and dart from shrub to shrub in excited exploration! It was truly the most soul soothing experience I have ever had.

When I returned home, my dream was to combine both my hobby of raising birds and my love for gardening in my bird room just like my sister. Within the first three weeks I realized my dream had become my nightmare. My finches chewed up and pooped and pooped and pooped on every plant I had in the flight! It was a complete mess! I tried everything to keep the beautifully planted flight clean but in the end I pulled all the plants out. The one thing I didn't take into consideration was that my sister could use her hose. Every couple of days, like magic, she just sprayed all the poops away with her lawn hose! If you decide you want a beautiful planted flight in your home where you can sit an enjoy your birds, make sure you pour a cement floor with a drain first!

Live plants in the bird flight
Although bird owners worry about plant toxicity, veterinarians rarely diagnose plant toxicity in pet birds. I have included a list of safe and possibly harmful plant species, thanks to the efforts of Myra, my webmaster, who spent hours of research to come up with this great list of safe and dangerous plants.

An aviary decorated with live, exotic plants is always the dream when one starts planning for a large-scale aviary. Naturally however the dream can become longer than our homes budgets allow. The complete garden paradise for your birds may have to remain a dream, but that doesn't mean you can't add a little nature to your aviary. Even small, single pair flight cages can be accentuated with a little greenery either beside the cage or draped on top.

Plants do more than just add a little color to your finch set-up. They also provide the finches with a feeling of extra security, especially if they can hide behind or inside the plant. When live plants are used, the plants often become another food source and/or natural nesting material. They also give the finches something on which to perch other than their wooden perches.

Because your finches will chew up, poop, and destroy any plant you provide always choose a plant that is safe for them (non-toxic). In return it's best to buy a plant which can also survive the finches attack. For more delicate species, it is best to allow the plant leaves to hang into the aviary or cage while keeping the majority of the plant outside the finch's reach.

Potting soil can be just as dangerous for finches as some plants can be. Most plants sold in stores come with nutrient enriched dirt that is also treated to prevent weed growth. Many of the fertilizers and chemicals used are quite toxic if ingested. Finches are known for trying to eat everything in sight.

If a live plant proves too much of a risk for you, maybe a fake plant would work better. There are two basic types of fake plants: Plastic and Silk. Plastic plants are a bit hardier and handle the chewing quite well. Plus they clean very easily and are fairly inexpensive. Silk plants can literally be unwoven by some of the more determined finches and end up as nesting material. They are a little more expensive than plastic but also cleans up just as well.

If you do chose a flake plant you must note that many potted fake plants use a painted foam base to simulate dirt. This foam is dangerous for finches and shouldn't be put within beak range. Personally I've always preferred the vine type plastic plants. They don't have a pot and therefore no foam. They are simply a long string of vine, leaves and colorful flowers.

Below is a large list of safe and dangerous plants. Always use your best judgement when selecting any addition to your aviary.

Safe Plants
Acacia
African Violets
Aloe
Areca / Butterfly Cane
Asparagus Fern
Australian Umbrella Tree
Baby's Tears
Bamboo
Bird Nest Fern
Begonia
Bottle Palm
Boston Fern
Bougainvillea
Bromeliads
Chickweed
Christmas Cactus
Cissus / Kangaroo Vines
Coffee Tree
Coleus
Corn Plant
Crabapple
Creeping Charlie
Dandelion
Dogwood
Donkey Tail / Burro's Tail
Dracaena Varieties
Dragon Tree
Easter Cactus
Gold Dust Dracaena
Elephant Foot Tree

Ferns:
  Asparagus (Not A True Fern)
  Bird Nest Fern
  Boston Fern
  Brake
  Ribbon
  Dish
  Button
  Motherfern
  Maidenhair
  Sword
  Squirrel's Foot
  Deer's Foot
  Fiji
  Polypody
  Ball
  Staghorn
  Elk's Horn

Gardenia
Gold Dust
Grape Ivy
Hen and Chickens
Hibiscus
Honeysuckle
Impatiens
Jade Plant
Kalanchoe
Magnolia
Mango (friut)
Marigold
Monkey Plant
Mother-In-Laws Tongue
Nasturtium
Natal Plum
Nerve Plant
Norfolk Island Pine
Orchids

Palms:
  Areca Bamboo
  Bottle
  Fern Date
  European Fan
  Fan
  Fishtail
  Howeia
  Kentia
  Lady
  Parlour
  Phoenix / Date Palm
  Pony Tail Palm (Not A True Palm)
  Pygmy Date
  Rhapis
  Roebelin
  Sentry Palm

Pansies (Purple, white & yellow bi-color blooms are safe)
Passion Flower Vine
Peperomia
Petunia
Pittosporum
Pony Tail Palm (Not A Palm)
Prayer Plant
Purple Passion / Purple Nettle
Pyracantha (Ripe Berries Only)
Red-Margined Dracaena
Rose
Rubber Plant
Schefflera (Umbrella)
Sensitive Plant
Snake Plant
Spider Plant / Airplane Plant
Sweedish Ivy
Thanksgiving Cactus
Thistle
Toyon Tree / California
Wandering Jew
Wax Plant
White Clover
Velvet Plant / Purple Passion
Yucca
Zebra Plant
Zinnia

Safe Woods
Apple
Ash
Beech
Citrus (any)
Dogwood
Elm
Eucalyptus
Guava
Kiln dried Pine
Madrona
Magnolia
Manzanita
Maple
Nut (except chestnut & oak)
Oak (clean and disinfect thoroughly)
Papaya
Pear
Pine
Poplar
Prune
Ribbonwood
Sassafras
Thurlow
Vine Maple
Willows:
  Goat
  Pussy
  Weeping

Dangerous Plants / Poison
Alacia
Amaryllis
American Yew
Apricot
Aralia
Arrowhead Vine
Arum Lily
Autumn Crocus / Meadow Saffron
Australian Flametree
Avocado
Azalea
Balsam Pear
Baneberry

Beans:
  Castor
  Horse
  Fava
  Broad
  Glory
  Scarlet Runner
  Mescal
  Navy
  Pregatory

Birch
Bird of Paradise
Bishop's Weed
Bittersweet Nightshade
Black Laurel
Black Locust
Bleeding Heart / Dutchman's Breeches
Bloodroot
Bluebonnet
Bluegreen Algae
Boxwood
Bracken Fern
Broomcorn Grass
Buckthorn

Bulb Flowers:
  Amaryllis Daffodil
  Narcissus
  Hyacinth
  Iris

Burdock
Buttercup
Cacao
Camel Bush
Castor Bean
Caladium
Calla Lily
Cana Lily
Candelabra Tree
Cardinal Flower
Chalice Vine / Trumpet Vine
Cherry Tree
China Berry Tree
Christmas Candle
Clematis / Virginia Bower
Clivia
Cocklebur
Coffee (Senna)
Coffee Bean / Rattlebush / Rattlebox & Coffeeweed
Coral Plant
Coriander
Corncockle
Coyotillo
Cowslip / Marsh Marigold
Crape Myrtle
Crown of Thorns
Croton
Cutleaf Philodendron
Daffodil
Daphne
Datura Stramoniun / Angel's Trumpet
Deadly Amanita
Death Camus
Delphinium
Devil's Ivy
Dieffenbachia / Dumb Cane
Eggplant (Only friut is safe)
Elderberry
Elephant Ear / Taro
English Ivy
Ergot
Eucalyptus
Euonymus / Spindle Tree
Euphorbia Cactus
False Hellebore
Flame Tree
Felt Plant / Maternity / Air & Panda Plants

Figs: (if much is eaten these plants can make a bird ill)
  Creeping
  Edible
  Fiddleleaf Fig
  Laurel Leaf
  Rubber Plant
  Weeping

Firethorn / Pyracantha
Flamingo Flower
Fly Agaric Mushroom / Deadly Amanita
Four O'Clock
Foxglove
Glory Bean
Glottidium
Golden Chain / Laburnum

Grasses:
  Johnson
  Sorghum
  Sudan
  Broom Corn

Ground Cherry

Heaths:
  Kalmia
  Leucotho
  Peires
  Rhododenron
  Mountain Laurel
  Black Laurel
  Andromeda
  Azalea

Heliotrope
Hemlock (Poison in plant & water)
Henbane
Holly
Honey Locust
Horse Chestnut / Buckeye
Horsetail
Hoya
Hyacinth
Hydrangea
Indian Licorice Bean
Indian Turnip
Iris / Blue Flag
Ivy (English & Others)
Jack-in-th-pulpit
Japanese Yew
Jasmine / Jessamine
Java Bean
Jerusalem Cherry
Jimsonweed / Thornapple
Johnson Grass
Juniper
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Lantana / Red Sage
Larkspur
Lily of the Valley (Poison in plant & Water)
Lily, Arum
Lima Bean
Lobelia
Locoweed / Milk Vetch
Locusts: Black & Honey
Lords & ladies / Cuckoopint
Lupine / Bluebonnet
Malanga
Mandrake
Mango Tree
Marijuana / Hemp
Mayapple / Mandrake
Mescal Beans
Mexican Breadfruit
Medican Poppy
Milkweed / Cotton Bush
Mistletoe
Mock Orange
Monkshood / Aconite
Moonseed
Morning Glory
Mountain Laurel
Mushrooms, Amanita
Myrtle
Narcissus
Nectarine
Nettles

Nightshades:
  Deadly
  Black
  Garden
  Woody
  Bittersweet
  Eggplant
  Jerusalem Cherry

Nutmeg
Oak
Oleander
Oxalis
Peace Lily
peach
Pencil Tree
Periwinkle

Philodendrons:
  Split Leaf
  Swiss Cheese
  Heart-leaf

Pigweed
Pikeweed
Pine needles & berries
Plum
Poinciana
Poinsettia
Poison Ivy
Poison Hemlock

Poison Oak:
  Western
  Eastern

Pokeweed / Inkberry
Potato Roots & Eyes
Pothos
Privet
Prune
Pyracantha
Rain Tree
Ranunculus / Buttercup
Rattlebox / Crotalaria
Red Maple
Red Sage / Lantana
Rhubarb (The Leaves)
Rhododendrons
Rosary Pea Seed / Indian Licorice
Sago Palm (Not a True Palm)
Sandbox Tree
Scarlet Runner Beans
Skunk Cabbage
Snowdrop
Snow on the Mountian / Ghostweed
Snowflake
Sorghum Grass
Sorrel
Sudan Grass

Spurges:
  Pencil Tree
  Snow-on-mountain
  Candelabra
  Crown of Thorns

Star of Bethlehem
Sweet Pea
Swill Cheese Plant / Monstera
Tansy Ragwort
Tobacoo
Umbrella Plant/Tree
Vetch: Hairy & Common
Virginia Creeper
Water Hemlock
Wattle
Weeping Fig
Western Yew
White Cedar / China Berry
Wisteria
Yam Bean
Yews
Yellow Jasmine

© lady gouldian finch.com 2011

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