Are Packing Peanuts Safe For Birds?

We are constantly receiving letters and emails requesting guidance and opinions. So we’ll be sending along some of these chats from time to time.

QUESTION: Is it permissible to keep packing peanuts as a play in a parakeet’s cage? Also, would bubble wrap be OK in the cage?

ANSWER: Do you like listening to POP-POP-POP all night? I wouldn’t feed this to my own children, much alone my birds! We do have an African Grey who is obsessed with popping them, but we keep a tight eye on him to make sure that’s all he does.

I can understand how these may be entertaining to play with, but packing peanuts and bubble wrap are not.

Bubble wrap is a simple solution. NO WAY! It is toxic not because it is poisonous, but because it cannot be digested. That thin plastic is simple to chew and swallow. It will get trapped in the bird’s digestive tract, causing severe health issues and, most likely, death.

Are you packing peanuts? It depends. Many businesses are starting to employ bio-degradable packing peanuts that dissolve in water, are non-toxic, and are environmentally friendly. They are composed of a maize or potato starch combination that degrades readily in landfills. They are completely harmless, with the exception of a very tiny quantity of polymers employed as a bonding agent.

Polystyrene packing peanuts are the most prevalent kind (better known as styrofome). This product is hazardous, cannot be digested, does not degrade, and will cause your bird great injury if consumed.

Even though starch-based peanuts are deemed safe, I would never use them as a bird play. I believe you might find something more safer and more enjoyable to play with.

QUESTION: I was advised by a friend that rope toys and perches are terrible for my bird. But I’ve seen them in various bird cages at pet shops. Should I take them out of my cage?

ANSWER: The difficulty with utilising rope perches and toys is that the bird enjoys chewing on them. They get frayed after a short period, and small threads begin to dangle off them. These threads will quickly get entangled around those tiny bird toes, entangling the bird and trapping it. The bird starts to fear and, in many circumstances, may gnaw off its toe to escape.

Threads may get entangled around the neck or wing in various instances, creating comparable fear.

We used to put all of these toys in the cage when we initially began our aviary. We had over 100 birds at the time. We went out to conduct our nightly check and feed one day and found one of our lovebirds hanging from the top of the cage, its leg bleeding. It’s one of those “cotton candy” rope toys. That was the day we got rid of every rope toy in our cages.

Leather lace is what we propose. Make certain that it has not been exposed to any hazardous substances. This product is available from a variety of bird toy manufacturers, and you can simply build amusing bird toys for them to gnaw on.

If you must use these items, check for and remove loose threads on a regular basis. It’s also worth noting that they absorb a lot of moisture (and the germs that comes with it), and they may be tough to clean. You don’t want your bird gnawing on them, so throw them away as they become filthy.

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