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Are feathers dangerous?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is really random, but the nature thread made me think of this...
Do you let your kids collect feathers they find, or do you think it's dangerous? I've always let my daughter do it and recently found out that two of my friends don't let their kids touch feathers. I just did a quick search online and couldn't find any info.
post #2 of 22
I'm very curious to know about this as well. My kids love to pick up feathers but they totally skeeve me out. ICK. I'm not sure why, but I"ve always been that way about them.
I wonder if they are nasty, like I think they are, or if I'm just being a little OCD about them.

Thanks to anyone who actually knows anything about feathers...
post #3 of 22
I think it's fine unless the feather is soiled with bird poop. The rule for me growing up was to wash hands after dealing with wild animals, no matter what the animal--turtles, frogs, or bird feathers. That's what I will insist on with dd.
post #4 of 22
There really isn't anything to be worried about. I have heard that people fear mites but after the animal is dead (or they lose a feather), the mites leave very quickly to find another host. For example, my MIL took in a baby bird a few years ago that fell out of the nest. She tried for days to save him but he was too sick and ended up dying. She said that she never saw any mites on him (and she was very close to him, she was trying to handfeed him) but the moment he died, she said hundreds of mites started coming off of him. They know when their host is no longer there and will leave immediately. So if that is the reason, it's not a valid one.
post #5 of 22
I agree with Angie. I've had parrots all of my life. I know with inside birds, the only health risk is the dust they emmit. Dust can lead to breathing problems and such. Good ventilation takes care of that problem. Fresh air takes care of wild bird dust.

The only thing that concerns me about wild birds is the poop, needless to say.
post #6 of 22
So there's no disease that a human can catch from handling wild bird feathers? I was always told to stay away from them as a kid, but I didn't listen...
post #7 of 22
this is just my own personal opinion.

nothing is ever 100% safe.

if you are in the unlucky statistic then no matter what - the fan blade might come off and land on you.

so ... what the heck. i am not going to miss out on years of excitement and passion just for a chance that might not happen.

and yes we too are avid feather collectors.

i remember this whole fear going around over feathers when the bird flu was around just coz the warnings said dont touch a dead "bird".
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasharna View Post
So there's no disease that a human can catch from handling wild bird feathers?
Not that I know of. Bird droppings can be a concern but you can clearly see if the feather has been pooped on. If not, then I don't see any reason why you couldn't pick it up.
post #9 of 22
feathers aren't allowed in our house for a truly ridiculous reason... Our cat, yes, cat, is allergic to bird feathers...we once bought him a toy that was made with real feathers, and ended up having to rush him to a vet emergency room, he was wheezing and his eyes swelled shut.

But if the kids want to collect them, touch them, look at them, while we are outside, it's allowed...no worse than rocks imo, none of it is clean, they wash their hands when we go back inside!
post #10 of 22
As long as they aren't trying to pluck them off of a dead bird I'm cool with it.
post #11 of 22
they gross me out but lots of stuff my kids do gross me out. they may be dangerous but everything can be dangerous and we like living on the edge. . .thats just how we roll. so we have had all kinds of feathery fun. then we wash our hands.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
this is just my own personal opinion.

nothing is ever 100% safe.

if you are in the unlucky statistic then no matter what - the fan blade might come off and land on you.

so ... what the heck. i am not going to miss out on years of excitement and passion just for a chance that might not happen.
I agree. I pick the biggies - crossing the street, carseats, pills/poison, etc. - to really drill into my kids. I don't care if they pick up feathers (unless they look particularly nasty, but that goes for anything). But we also lick the beaters, so we definitely walk on the wild side.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
I agree with Angie. I've had parrots all of my life. I know with inside birds, the only health risk is the dust they emmit. Dust can lead to breathing problems and such. Good ventilation takes care of that problem. Fresh air takes care of wild bird dust.

The only thing that concerns me about wild birds is the poop, needless to say.
: I also have parrots & I rehab starlings. Fyi for those who were asking, the mites wild birds carry are species specific, you can't contract them as a human. If you're really worried, seven dust kills them, sprinkle or dust some on your collected feathers with a paint brush & you're gtg.
post #14 of 22
I have issues with feathers too because my Mother told me they had lice, when I was little.

I still can't pick them up, or let DS1 pick them up without feeling gross.

Recently Mum was collecting feathers with DS1 and I said something shocked. She said 'Oh, I probably just told you that because I didn't want you collecting them'. Thanks Mum. Way to give me a life long paranoia!
post #15 of 22
Growing up, I remember my grandparents telling me I'd catch some disease if I played with a feather I found on the ground. Part of me was always anxious about that, truthfully, I still am. But, I let my kids collect them,, play with them, etc. as long as they don't try and touch me with them.

My 7 year old found an owl feather while walking into OT last week. He's been carrying it around proudly ever since. :
post #16 of 22
I've never heard of any disease people can catch from bird feathers. Mites or lice wouldn't be on feathers that were no longer on a bird, and as others have said they wouldn't want to live on people anyway. My kids can pick up all the feathers they want, and they don't have to wash their hands afterwards.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Jessica* View Post
As long as they aren't trying to pluck them off of a dead bird I'm cool with it.
: That, exactly.
post #18 of 22
JUST yesterday, DD And I were hiking in the park and she was bent over a feather with her magnifying glass. I said "Are you looking at the disease?" as a joke but I do remember everyone telling me not to pick up feathers as a child.

Anyway, here's some info from the NYT.

"The danger of getting a disease from pigeon feathers is small"

"the diseases that can be spread by some birds, like histoplasmosis or psittacosis, come mostly from inhaling particles from birds' feces, once they have been on the ground long enough for spores to multiply"

"Even bird lice and mites are mostly specific to the species that carries them, Dr. LaBranche said, and are hard to spread to other members of the same bird family, let alone people"


Here's another.

"the chance of contracting the virus [avian flu] from a feather found on the ground is unlikely because these feathers were most likely shed by healthy birds."

Don't know if I'll ever get over the paranoia of feeling that they were harmful and dangerous. It's kind of like swallowing gum. Even though it's absolutely fine (and does NOT stay in your system for 7 years), I still spit it out and always will.
post #19 of 22
I don't mind but she can't bring them to her bedroom. She keeps them in a box in downstairs and after playing she washes her hands. That's the rule.
post #20 of 22
Thanks for this post! Feathers are one of the many many OCD mommy paranoias I try to keep in check!
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