Candles to Avoid for your Parakeet

Candles have been used since the dawn of mankind. Until modern times, candles were VERY smoky and would stain the insides of homes with their black soot. Parakeets have very tiny bodies, and their lungs very easily fill up with smoke and soot. Think of the "canary in a coal mine". The reason they would bring in a canary is that the canary would die right away when a bad gas was in the air. They knew, then, that it was not safe for miners. You don't want your parakeet to do the same thing!

A key to a candle burning "cleanly" without smoke was trimming the wick. Until the 1800s, if you didn't trim the wick (i.e. regularly cut off the long used part) it would smoke and flicker. Modern candles have self-trimming wicks for the most part - but they still burn more clearly if you keep the wick trimmed. Any time you light a candle, make sure there is only a short 1/2" or less wick there to start with. Keep it trimmed properly to avoid smoke being set loose in the air.

There are several materials that candles can be made out of. Some common ones are beeswax (made from bee wax), soy (made from the soy bean), paraffin (hydrocarbon mix like kerosene) and tallow (animal fat). In medieval times it was the bees wax in high demand, because it burned extremely cleanly. Unfortunately it was also expensive.

A candle burns the cleanest if it's a taper style, or a votive - so that the excess wax drips down and doesn't create a pool. Candles that are "trapped" in a jar or container burn far less cleanly.

Beeswax is generally the cleanest burning wax there is - however by far the worst soot creator is scents and colors. Adding a scent or color to any wax type will make it a huge soot generator compared even to "stepping down" to a lower quality material. If you have keets in the room make sure you are only burning scentless, colorless candles. Also, as always, never leave a candle burning unattended. It only takes a few minutes for a knocked over candle to start a fire that could jeapordize the lives of the parakeets.

Candles and Odor
I wanted to comment on the thought that a candle burning *without* any scent removes odors. The theory behind this is that tiny odor particles in the air meet up with the flame and are turned into carbon (i.e. burned).

Remember when you smell something, it is that your nose sensors are interacting with tiny little chunks of floating matter. That is how smell works. So if a fish is cooking for example, part of the cooking process is that tiny bits of fish are lifted up by the steam and float around the room. Some float into your nose and you smell them. If those tiny bits float into the candle flame, they are turned into carbon and now the room is less smelly.

The problem is that, of course, a candle only has a tiny little flame and it really can't affect a whole room. The percentage of the little odor chunks that meet up with the flame to burn up is small. Other than that one action, a scentless candle doesn't "do anything". Where a scented candle makes tons of tiny little "good scent" chunks that float around, which is how it works. Hopefully all those "good scent" chunks outnumber the "bad scent" chunks.

So that all being said it is far more effective to directly remove whatever is creating the odor scent chunks in the first place - i.e. clean the cage, replace the cage liner :) It's also safer too!

Parakeet Household Safety Checklist

Parakeet Safety Medical Kit

Parakeet Info Homepage

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