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Bird Toy Safety

No bird toy is completely safe, but you can help keep your bird safe by following these tips.

Jamie Whittaker

Moluccan cockatoo

There is no such thing as a completely safe bird toy for every bird. I have seen birds play inappropriately with some of the safest toys on the market. Each one of us should watch our parrots play with their toys, especially new toys.

If you see your bird doing something that looks dangerous with a toy, take the toy out of the cage. You may want to let your bird play with the toy, supervised, on the playgym. You may be able to modify it a little to be safer for your bird.

Birds can vary in the way they interact with a toy. One bird might not be able to pull a part off of a toy but another bird, even of the same species, might be able to pull a part off or catch itself up in a rope or nylon part and injure itself. Never assume that because it is a toy made for birds that it is 100-percent safe for your bird.

It is tempting to make your own toys out of inexpensive items to save money. The more toys the merrier and the less you have to spend, the more likely you are to provide more toys. However, some items that look like fun are too dangerous to have around your birds, including:

  • Stained-glass ornaments are bright and colorful, and they look interesting to chew on for your bird. Unfortunately, there might be lead between those colored pieces of glass. Fishing lures are also colorful and look like fun, but they often have lead weights attached. Costume jewelry can have lead in it, too.
  • The rope that you use in bird toys should be 100-percent cotton and not treated with a chemical. Nylon and polyester add to the strength of rope, but those fibers can get wrapped around toes and cause serious problems. Trim frayed rope pieces to prevent accidents.
  • If you use leather in your toys, it needs to be vegetable tanned. Leather might be tanned with harsh chemicals, including formaldehyde, which can be dangerous for your bird.
  • Toys with chain components should have closed links. Little open links can easily catch a toe or a beak and cause injury. Stainless-steel links are another thing to consider when toy shopping. Not only are they durable, but they are also zinc-free, which is an important consideration if your bird likes to chew on the chain parts.

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Posted: January 28, 2014, 3:45 p.m. PDT

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