Heating With Infrared Light at Night for Birds

Written by julia selch
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Heating With Infrared Light at Night for Birds
Baby parrots in particular need extra heat to be healthy. (one baby parrot is whispering to another baby parrot image by Ramona smiers from Fotolia.com)

Many parrot species come from tropical regions and are not used to harsh winters. Keeping your parrot away from the cold is essential for the bird's well being. Likewise, a sick parrot or baby bird needs extra warmth to be comfortable or heal. Bird-safe infrared lights are ideal for this purpose, especially at night since they do not disturb the bird's natural sleep cycle.

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Background and Benefits

Farmers are known to use infrared heat lamps to keep chicks warm, imitating a brooding environment. Breeders of exotic birds and parrots use infrared light or ceramic heat lamps to provide heat to their birds in case of an emergency such as sudden illness. Infrared heat lamps are the safest, most efficient source of heat for birds because they warm objects in their vicinity rather than the air. They also do not disturb their natural sleep cycle because they only omit a dim red light.

Safety And Setup

Buy only infrared heat lamps approved for avian safety. Some regular bulbs may be coated with PTFE, the same substance on non-stick cookware. This substance emits toxic fumes when it overheats and is lethal for birds. Set up a thermometer outside of the cage where your parrot can't reach it. Attach the lamp at a vicinity that keeps the temperature around the thermometer at around 25-30C. Keep cords, switches and bulbs out of the bird's direct reach and away from a water dish that could splash on it.


Purchase a ceramic heat lamp if you cannot get an infrared one at your local pet store. Ceramic lamps are equally safe for your birds and are especially practical since they do not emit any light, and are therefore great for keeping your parrots warm at night. Ceramic heat lamps are also available for reptiles, so if you cannot find a bird-specific one, ask your local pet store for a suitable reptile lamp that can also be used for your birds.

Winter Heating with Infrared Heat Panels

Provide your exotic bird with extra heat if you do not wish to crank up your thermostat to 80F. in your entire house. The Bird Channel website suggests "Avi-Tech's Avi-Temp infrared heat panels," to avoid sky-high electrical bills. These attach directly to the bird's cage for concentrated heat and only reach about 150F. on the surface. Attach a panel within 2 to 4 inches of the cage and out of reach of the parrot.

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