SAFE TOYS AND CAGE ACCESSORIES FOR BIRDS
1. What are the safest toys and accessories?
It is important that birds have toys to play, explore and interact with. However, not all toys sold for pet birds are safe. The safest toys to use include hard plastics, untreated wood and paper, and native branches and flowers. Make sure your bird has a variety of toys and even hide some treats in them so they can spend their day foraging and exploring.
2. Why are many soft toys and accessories not safe?
Many birds enjoy rope toys and accessories - however they are not always safe toys. Rope toys, perches, snugglies and happy huts have small fibres. When these fibres are chewed and swallowed, they commonly lead to blockages in the ventriculus (stomach) or crop.
Cockatiels, conures and lorikeets are the species most commonly seen with these conditions, though problems may be seen in any species. The blockages in the crop or ventriculus are very serious medical emergencies and may be fatal.
3. Are metal toys safe?
Heavy metal poisoning is a very common condition in birds. The most common metals involved include lead, zinc or copper. Toys which are usually the source of these metals include galvanized or copper bells, metal keys, lead sinkers and painted lead toys. Rusty toys are considered more hazardous. Avoid metal twist-ties to secure cage items as they may contain heavy metals.
4. Which plastic toys are safe?
Most unpainted hard plastic toys are non-toxic. Problems may arise when there are metal balls inside the toy as many birds are able to chew the toy open and get to the metal balls. Be careful of painted plastic toys as some paints may contain toxins including lead.
5. Which wooden and paper toys are safe?
Wooden toys coloured with vegetable dye are usually safe. Avoid fibrous cage accessories such as coconut husks or wood shavings as these often cause blockages. The cardboard inners of toilet rolls make great toys which are easily replaced when chewed and destroyed.
Do not let your birds chew on treated pine or MDF (compressed wood chip) as they are toxic.
6. What are some safe natural toys and accessories?
Banksia, eucalyptus, acacia, grevillea, mallee, casuarina, melaleuca, fresh grasses and hakia are all groups of plants your bird will enjoy. Always rinse the plants and avoid those which have been sprayed with pesticides or plants from the side of a busy road. Natural toys are great as the birds can destroy them completely and then a new branch or flower put in to replace the old ones. This encourages the birdsí natural behaviour and creates benefits for their mental and physical health.
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