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Toy safety

Keeping your parrot safe

Did you know it is very common for companion parrots to harm themselves on unsafe bird toys? But how do you know what is safe? Don’t worry - My Parrot Shop has your bird’s back!

Toy safety is very important and a huge responsibility you take on when you own a parrot, and there can be common health problems associated with buying cheap toys sourced from unsafe suppliers. My Parrot Shop aims to source bird safe materials and we take extra care when designing our toys to help keep your bird safe.

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Heavy Metal Poisoning

Parrots do not have hands, so they play with their toys using beaks. This can cause cheaper metals to be ingested by your birds. Some common metals used by other suppliers include nickel, aluminium, zinc, copper, tin, lead and brass. Some of these metals are toxic to birds and can build up in your bird’s body over time. Additionally, toys may be made of plated metals, whereby a thin layer of more expensive metals are coated over a cheaper, sometimes harmful metals. If a toy is made from plated metal, as your bird plays with the toy these metals may chip exposing harmful metals or rust when exposed to water or humid environments. Not all parrot toys are made in Australia, so quality control standards vary from country to country.

It is widely accepted that stainless steel is the safest metal for bird’s toys, cages and feeding bowls. This is because stainless steel will not cause heavy metal poisoning, is resistant to rust and is strong enough to withstand parrot beaks.

At My Parrot Shop, we only use stainless steel in the construction of our parrot toys and where possible we only source toys with stainless steel. Some of our imported toys do have nickel parts but this is always disclosed in the product description. Nickel is safe for use on bird toys.

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Jingle Washer made with stainless steel products

 Cotton ingestion

All parrots have a storage organ, called a crop, where they can store food prior to digestion. This allows your parrot to eat larger meals, less often, and still keep their energy levels up. Crop impaction is where food or foreign bodies build up in the crop, causing a blockage and the build-up of harmful bacteria. If not treated, this condition can be life threatening.

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Location of the crop in parrots

Toys containing soft materials, in particular cotton ropes, are prone to being ingested by your parrot as they chew on the toy. Some species, such as Budgerigars, Cockatiels and Lorikeets, are more prone to ingesting these fibres, however crop impaction can occur in any species.

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 Frayed cotton rope

At My Parrot Shop, we do not use any cotton ropes or soft fibres in the making of our toys, helping to reduce this problem in captive birds. Instead we use tougher, natural products like seagrass, paper and raffia which are less likely to cause crop impaction.

Entanglement

Long cotton fibres, long chains and ropes can cause entanglement, especially if the toy is chewed, frayed or as the toy gets worn. Entanglement is extremely dangerous for your bird, causing major damage depending on which part of the bird’s body is entangled. It is extremely scary for both you and the bird, if this occurs.

At My Parrot Shop, we reduce the likelihood of this occurring with our toys by not using cotton rope in our toy making, reducing the length of toys, having multiple attachment points for our toys and using stiffer materials that are less likely to wrap around your bird’s body.

As a parrot owner, entanglement can be avoided by keeping an eye on the toys in your bird’s cage. As soon as the toy begins to wear, or after your bird has chewed all the components off a toy leaving a single hanging chain – it is time to remove the toy you’re your bird’s cage.

Toy attachments

Unsafe toy attachments such as clips and spring-loaded links can be a hazard for your pet bird as they can catch their beaks or toes in the openings. Always make sure that you attach your toys in your bird’s cage in a safe way.

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Unsafe toy attachment

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 Unsafe toy attachment

My Parrot Shop sells screw gate quick-links that’s can be screwed up to help avoid this issue. As parrot’s love games, they often unscrew these links. Always check your toys to make sure the links are always screwed up tightly. If you have a particularly persistent parrot that likes to undo these gates, My Parrot Shop sells a Stainless Steel Toy Hanger that your parrot cannot undo.

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My Parrot Shop stainless steel quick link  

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My Parrot Shop stainless steel toy hanger

Always remain vigilant

Whilst My Parrot Shop makes every effort to manufacture and supply safe bird toys, every bird is different and general wear and tear occurs over time. Here are some simple steps you can take to help keep your bird safe:
• Always check your parrot’s toys and remove any toy that is unsafe,
• Know your bird’s personality and habits. Particular types of toys may not be suitable for your bird,
• Always screw up and keep tight toy attachments,
• Supervise your bird and learn how it interacts with toys in its cage,
• Remove toys after they have been heavily chewed,
• Always source bird products from reputable places,
• Keep educated on parrot health and wellbeing,
• Understand parrot first aid and have access to a good avian vet, and
• If in doubt, consult your avian veterinarian.

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