Safe Materials for DIY Bird & Parrot Toys


WOOD

Wood is an ideal substance to fulfill the natural drive that birds have to chew, which they get through their beaks. Toys made of wood are the most popular choice for bird playthings. Toys made of wood are intended to be played with and broken. It’s possible that the destructive behavior of certain bird owners’ parrots drives them to frustration. Chewing, on the other hand, is a natural urge that is essential to the mental and physical well-being of birds. If you just give them toys made of acrylic, they will often look for other, more costly methods to fulfill their urge to chew (i.e., molding, furniture). It is essential that you be familiar with the types of woods that are suitable for your bird. Toys often make use of both soft and hardwoods in their construction.

The following is not an exhaustive list of safe woods:

  • The following trees and plants are classified as conifers: pine, balsa, birch, basswood, poplar, maple, walnut, ash, apple, elm, cholla, and manzanita

Unsafe Woods include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Cedar, Red Cherry, Plywood. Oak

If you like making your own toys for your bird, you should under no circumstances use pressure-treated wood since it has been treated with arsenic and may harm your pet. If you are going to use natural branches, you need to be sure that they have not been treated with any kind of pesticide. Additionally, take care to harvest branches in locations that are not close to roads or other regions where plant life may have absorbed harmful pollutants from vehicles. Scrub each branch with a non-toxic disinfectant (dilute chlorine bleach works well), then thoroughly rinse and dry the branches.

Do not submerge wooden toys in water if they need to be cleaned. Either use a moist towel to wash them down, or sand the dirty area until it is clean, whichever comes first. In the event that your bird enjoys dunking his toys, you should be aware that wetness might encourage the spread of germs. In this case, the toys should either be thrown away or completely cleaned and dried in an oven set to a low temperature before being given back to the bird.

Because birds are able to identify different hues, toys made of wood that include colors are more appealing to and intriguing for birds. Food coloring or vegetable dyes are often used by manufacturers to provide color to wood. Because the bird should not be enticed to eat the wood and, unless carefully managed, the fruit sugars that are typically utilized offer the ideal substrate for bacterial development, we do not feel that flavoring the wood is necessary or beneficial. Do not purchase toys that have had staining or varnishing applied to them in order to add color. If you are interested in purchasing a toy that has pieces that have been painted (for example, ABC blocks), you should make sure that only non-toxic colors that are suitable for children were used.

ROPE

Toys for birds often consist of many varieties of rope. Toys for birds should be crafted only from ropes made of natural fibers, such as those made of cotton, hemp (jute), or sisal. If the birds get entangled in the rope, it is imperative that you do not use a rope made of a nylon mix since the strength of the strands poses a significant risk of severe harm and wounds. If they are properly maintained and the bird’s beak and nails are trimmed on a regular basis, ropes may be safe for birds to use. When there is an excessive amount of fraying, there have been reports of safety issues. Due to being entangled in ropes that were not maintained properly, several birds have suffocated to death and lost circulation in their legs. Due to the fact that rope toys have been shown to be quite effective in resolving issues with feather plucking, we do not like to exclude rope as a potential material. Bird owners have a duty to monitor the safety of their bird’s rope toys on a regular basis and to either trim the rope toys when they get frayed and pose a risk to their bird or get rid of them entirely when they reach that point.

CHAIN

The chain needs to have welded links rather than open ones. It is possible for the unwelded chains to have jagged surfaces and small gaps, both of which might cut a person’s toes. Be careful that the links are not too small for your bird; if its toes get trapped in the links, it might cause serious injury, including broken toes or legs. The length of the chain should also be taken into account since it is possible that an extended length of the chain might get entangled around the bird’s neck if it is allowed to engage in intense play. A chain danger may emerge when the wood components are gradually eaten away by the rodent. Toy owners have a responsibility to monitor the condition of their possessions and ensure that new potential dangers do not emerge as a result of toys’ natural deterioration over time.

FASTENERS

Due to the high cost of quality fasteners, this is a critical area of concern. As a result, many manufacturers try to save money by using potentially hazardous items such as split key rings or snap hooks that are similar to those used on dog leashes. Toys with split rings and spring-type clamps have been responsible for the severing of birds’ legs and the cutting off of circulation to their toes and tongues. When it comes to conures or bigger birds, we suggest using either Quick-links or Pear links to connect toys to the bird’s play area. Quick-links are also frequently referred to as C-clamps. To prevent the bird from unhooking his toys, they are available in a number of different sizes, and it is simple to use a wrench to make them more secure. The risk of harm is reduced to a minimum with this particular kind of fastener. If you need to replace dangerous fasteners on already-existing toys, you can get them at your local hardware shop in a range of different sizes, and you can buy them there if you need to do so.

When you are fastening your toys, do not make use of split key rings, spring-driven clips, or metal shower rings. It is possible to mistakenly swallow small bits of hardware. Split rings and spring-type clamps have been known to cut the toes and tongues of birds.

ZINC

In recent times, there has been a lot of discussion over the toxicity of zinc to birds. Components composed of zinc-coated or galvanized metal are used in the construction of several bird toys. Zinc is another element that is often seen in cage powder coatings. Some experts in avian health believe that for zinc-related health problems to develop, the parrot must actually swallow the metal components; “beaking” the parts is not sufficient for toxicity to develop unless the galvanized coating is extremely brittle and flaky. These experts believe that for zinc-related health problems to develop, the parrot must actually swallow the metal components. If a bird spends a significant amount of time chewing on toy hardware (such as washers, quick links, or wire), there is a chance that they will consume sufficient quantities of zinc to cause dangerous amounts to build up in their systems over time. Homeowners who are concerned about the potential adverse effects on their health may often locate substitute components made of stainless steel at the hardware shop in their area. Choosing this alternative instead of shopping for toys made with components made of stainless steel may also save the customer a significant amount of money.

PLASTICS

Acrylics are utilized in many toys produced nowadays and may be nearly unbreakable provided they are proportioned appropriately to the bird being played with. If you plan on buying toys made of acrylic, our recommendation is that the acrylic has a thickness of at least 3/16 inches. In recent years, there has been a trend for wooden toys rather than acrylic ones. This is due to the fact that acrylics, despite their longevity and their appealing appearance, are not as engaging for a bird that enjoys chewing. We strongly suggest that some of the toys you give your birds are made of acrylic or a combination of acrylic and wood. Not only will these toys endure a long time, but the vivid colors that are utilized in their production are quite exciting for birds.

When shopping for toys for their birds that include plastic parts, owners of birds should take into account the nature of the plastic part (i.e., whether it is soft or brittle) in relation to the size of the bird. It is not recommended that bigger birds be fed brittle plastics since, when they shatter, highly sharp, cutting edges are generated that, if unintentionally eaten, might result in the rupture of internal organs. Toys made of tough plastic and developed primarily for smaller birds like parakeets and cockatiels should never be given to bigger birds since their beaks are more than capable of destroying the toys.

LEATHER

Birds may safely play with and chew on leather, making it an ideal material for these activities. Untying knots that have been formed in leather strips is a favorite activity of the majority of birds, in particular.

On bird toys, you should only ever use leather that has been vegetable-tanned. Do not purchase toys made of leather that has been colored or leather that has been tanned with chemicals since the majority of these materials are poisonous to birds (i.e., chromium, formaldehyde). Because of this, you shouldn’t put old shoes, belts, or purses in the play chest for your birds either.

If the leather becomes dirty or damp, you should replace it. Under these circumstances, bacteria will thrive and multiply. There are a lot of toy manufacturers who offer replacement leather strips.

If you are going to hang toys that are strung on leather (or rope, or chain), it is important not to leave a lengthy strand of the material hanging between the toy and the cage. When playing rough with their toys, some birds run the risk of getting the leather twisted around their necks, which might result in death. It is recommended that the toy be tied as near as possible to the bars of the cage.

RINGS

If you choose toys for your bird that include rings or huge plastic chain links, you need to be sure that the rings are not small enough for the bird to get his head trapped in them and choke on them. Be wary of toys that have numerous rings that are directly looped together since birds have been known to suffer the same fate when they get caught in the rings of some toys.

BELLS

Bells are a great way for birds to get in on the fun of creating noise, which is something that birds like doing. There is a risk of choking or swallowing for the bird if it is mechanically inclined and can remove the clapper. Check to see that the clapper of the bell can’t be taken off by the bird. If it is not attached firmly, you should either weld it or take it off (we recommend silver solder). Verify that the clapper is not made of lead, which is a poisonous metal; if it is made of lead, you will be able to dent it with your fingernail. Do not choose toys that have jingle-type bells since it is possible for toes to be caught and sliced in the broad to tiny apertures. Instead, consider purchasing toys with a cow or liberty bell style. To ensure that the bell is able to withstand the force of the bird’s beak, adjust its size so that it is proportionate to the bird.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Even though the packaging claims that the item is risk-free, this does not always indicate that it is suitable for your pet bird. Any toy has the potential to be hazardous to the bird’s health if it is not appropriately proportioned for the bird. In order to choose a toy that is suitable for your bird, you should inquire about assistance or guidance from the person who sells the toys or the owner of the bird shop.

Just as with children, there is no toy that is completely risk-free for all birds. When you initially introduce a new toy to your bird, you should use common sense and keep an eye on it. Keeping an eye on how he plays with the toy will help you identify the most effective way to display it, as well as when and where he should be allowed to use it (some toys are safer outside the cage).

It is important to provide a diverse selection of toys, which should be rotated in and out of the enclosure or play area. Your bird will be more attentive and interested in its surroundings if you provide it with a variety of things to do and see. Keep no more than two or three toys in the bird’s cage at any one time and avoid overcrowding it.

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