Do air fryers kill birds? [THE TRUTH]

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As the Air Fryer Bro I have come across some interesting claims about air fryers over the years, but nothing prepared me for this one! I was browsing the internet when I came across posts saying that air fryers can kill birds! At first, I thought this was a joke. But no, there are really people out there claiming that air fryers killed their (or people they know’s) birds. So I decided to take a closer look at this and see if there is any truth to this claim.

Just to be clear, they are talking about exotic birds such as parrots, not wild birds flying past their house and suddenly kicking the bucket 🙂

do you need to worry about air fryers around your pet birds?

As a disclaimer, I am not a scientist or medical expert. I am an avid air fryer user, that is all. I did research for this article and simply want to present my findings and related opinions. I would recommend that you do the same if this is a topic that affects you. Preferably by contacting an expert 🙂

Who is saying that air fryers kill birds?

I came across (what appeared to be) the same person posting on bird related forums that air fryers are not safe for people with birds and that they will kill them. I saw titles such as “WARNING! Air Fryers kill birds!” and “Bird people! Do not use an air fryer”. As someone who has been immersed in the air fryer world for a while now, I was surprised I hadn’t heard this before. Is it really a problem? Let’s find out!

do air fryers really kill birds?

Let’s look closer!

Of course, my next step was to see if I can really find any evidence for or against this claim. When doing research, most posts that were talking about this issue were on forums. The problem with forums is that anyone can post on them and it’s hard to verify the credentials behind these people posting. They could be crack pot bird fanatics for all we know 🙂 Or just misinformed 🙂

What a lot of these forum goers were saying is that the Teflon in the air fryer is what caused their bird to die. Although, I didn’t see anyone trying to explain their reasoning behind this. It just seems that a lot of exotic bird owners have conditioned themselves to avoid Teflon. Surely so many people couldn’t be wrong! They must have had real experiences to suggest that birds are killed by Teflon! Or is it just a vicious rumour that got out of hand? We need science to answer this one 🙂

So I had to dig harder, to try to come up with a more credible source (and hopefully a scientist or something!!). Thankfully, a local newspaper in South Carolina ran a piece on this (they must have a lot of bird lovers in their state :)) They are called WLTX19 and they interviewed a Doctor….well he must be a Vet if he is talking about this and owns an animal clinic 🙂

can air fryers kill birds?
Parrots love bananas but do they like air fryers 🙂

Anyway, the long and short of it is, he backed up this idea of avoiding Teflon when you own a pet bird. This is what he talked about… When the teflon gets heated to a certain temperature in your air fryer, it could release a gas that, when inhaled by the bird, might coat its air sacs/ lungs and cause it to die.

I found another interesting article on a website called PetCoach, in which they claim to give you answers to pet related questions directly from vets. Although, this is a hard thing to verify. They had an article that talked about this problem and called it Teflon toxicity. They explained that a birds lung needs to be very efficient to give them enough oxygen to fly (flying is quite a task, I can tell you!). Although, the problem is, this efficiency can quickly transport both good and bad things through their system. This is why birds are particularly sensitive to anything toxic in the air.

The final article my research brought up was this one from 2003. It is talking about Teflon frying pans and their toxicity to birds. Even though it is not directly related to air fryers, we can surely take on board their findings about Teflon frying pans all the same. The applications seem similar to me. They also came to the conclusion that offgas from Teflon products could infact be harmful to birds.

Bringing this all together, it does seem to be a valid concern that Teflon could cause harm to a birds delicate respiratory system. And this is not only limited to Teflon, it would include any type of PTFE that is heated to the point where it starts to degrade and release gas.

Can an air fryer really kill a bird?

Yes, an air fryer with a Teflon or PTFE based coating could conceivably kill a bird. This is due to the gases these coatings could produce under the high heat of an air fryer. Although not enough to harm humans, birds are much more sensitive and could be affected even in trace quantities. Although there is no scientific research directly relating to Teflon air fryers, there are for Teflon frying pans. This is more than just a tentative link.

What should an air fryer user do if they have birds?

If you own pet birds but still want to experience the joys of an air fryer, have no fear! There are actually air fryers on the market that are free from Teflon and PTFE coatings. I wrote an article going into the finer details, I will leave a link below if you want the long answer:

Best air Fryer without Teflon/PTFE Coating

For the short answer, the easiest thing to do is to buy one of the newer air fryer ovens. As they are based on traditional ovens, you will find that a lot of them have mostly stainless steel and/or metal construction. This means very little Teflon or PTFE coatings need to be used. An example of a popular air fryer oven would be the Ninja Foodi below, click the image to see it on Amazon.

If you are interested in a particular air fryer, I would recommend contacting the manufacturer directly if you have doubts about Teflon/PTFE coatings. Better to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. And better to be safe than sorry too!!

It is NOT only air fryers that can kill birds!

As you can see from the studies highlighted above, people have been worried about the effect of Teflon/PTFE on birds for a while now, not only since the advent of air fryers. Teflon is the problem, not specifically air fryers! (I wish those forum posters had highlighted this in their titles, rather than blanket accusing all air fryers!!).

This means that you should watch out for Teflon in everything you keep in the same room as your birds. These are some of the appliances/utensils you might find Teflon in:

  • Non-stick pots, pans, and other cookware
  • Stain repellants
  • Space heaters and heat lamp covers
  • Non-stick irons and ironing board covers
  • Hair dryers
  • Non-stick oven drip pans and broiler pans
  • Non-stick griddles, woks, waffle makers, electric skillets, tortilla presses
  • Non-stick hot air corn poppers, coffee makers, bread makers
  • Non-stick slow cookers, roasters, pizza pans
  • Ceramic cooking stoves

SOURCE: PetCoach

You CAN have an air fryer with birds

I was a bit worried when I first heard about these reports of air fryers killing birds, and to be honest at first I thought it might be baseless gossip. However, it turns out to have a real valid backing (from several vets at least) and warrants our attention and care.

Although, this doesn’t mean you cannot have an air fryer if you keep pet birds. It just means you need to be extra vigilant and make sure you research one that is totally Teflon/ PTFE free. That way you can enjoy your pet birds and the delights of air frying too!!

If you have your own experiences with air fryers and birds, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below.

14 thoughts on “Do air fryers kill birds? [THE TRUTH]”

  1. I have a Congo African Grey parrot and was very relieved to read that the Ninja Foodi is considered fairly safe. I’ve been using it for weeks now with no obvious effects on our bird! Over the years, I have had 2 other parrots and many Teflon pans. Despite that, both of our birds lived longer than their life expectancy by years! At the time, I wasn’t aware of the dangers of Teflon. When I went to get an airfryer, though, I did check to see which one would be safest. Thank you for the information!

  2. Thank you for letting me know and I was just going to use mine.
    I will check what it’s coated with first.
    Thanks again

  3. I had the misfortune of losing 2 beloved birds in one fell swoop due to toxic gasses emitted from my oven while on the self-clean cycle.
    Seemed safe enough since I had used the oven many times before just fine. There’s definitely something to this at certain temperatures. Thank you for doing the legwork, I’m now cautiously optimistic the right air fryer might be okay.

  4. I recently purchased a Ninja Foodi Smart XL Indoor Grill. Their customer service reps (several) assured me it was safe to use around my parrots. After thinking about it I asked for some reassurance from Ninja in writing that it would be safe to use with my birds in the house. After several emails to Ninja with no response I decided to return the grill, which was very difficult to re-pack and return. I called and talked with one more customer rep and told him if they can assure me in writing (email) I would be glad to purchase the grill again. A few days later I received an email from a customer service rep. stating that it is safe to use with parrots. I feel like I need more info. from them other than a customer service rep named whatever her name was it’s safe to use. I just don’t feel comfortable using this item until I get more scientific information.

    • Yeah, they usually say that the air fryer won’t get to temperatures high enough to cause the bird killing fumes. In my eyes it is better to be safe than sorry, just dont have air fryers and birds in the same room and ventilate your room when in use.

  5. Hi
    I have a cockatoo and a grey. My mom got me a cosori air fried asa housewarming gift. I called them and they told me that it does have a Teflon coating but the temperature doesn’t get anywhere near the level it should cause off gassing. I will run it in the guest powder room with the fan on but have you heard of it needing to reach a certain temp to off gas to dangerous? Thanks!

  6. Thx Air Fryer Bro! I’ve wondered about the Air Fryer and figured we couldn’t get one. I have had parrots for 23 yrs and use only glass ovenware and stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans. Something I heard from a breeder once is that it’s not the Teflon itself that kills the birds but the chemical it releases when it’s overheated that does.


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