Parrot Toys and their Dangers


Don’t think a parrot toy is safe just because it comes from a reputable catalogue or shop. There are hidden dangers in many toys.

A recent phone call from a friend described traumatic half hour he had just spent with a Patagonian conure. A minute cotton thread from a new toy tethered the unfortunate bird to its perch by its foot and was tightly wound around its wing and neck. Because the thread was so small and  buried deep inside its neck feathers, the owner was terrified of strangling the conure. He eventually released the conure unharmed, but the bird was very stressed. If the owner had been out when this had happened, he would have returned to a strangled bird.

The toy in question was a wooden one shaped like a person with knotted rope and beads for arms and legs. The offending part was the small raffia hat. There are a number of toys on sale featuring these raffia hats. Don’t let your bird near them because the first thing it will do is to shred the hat, thus releasing several feet of fine cotton.

 Accidents, sometimes fatal, with parrot toys happen all the time. I have heard of a parrot’s beak being stuck in the clapper of a bell, a lory nearly strangled by a toy on a chain which held some wooden blocks and several plastic rings. One ring was just the right size for the lory’s head to go through. This would have been another case of strangulation had the owner not been there in time.

Really, its safer to make your own-- and so easy. All you need is a drill, some small blocks of untreated wood (you can use off cuts), some strips of leather and perhaps some old cotton reels. Thread these on a length of chain, put a dog clip on each end to secure the items on the chain and hang the toy. Make sure you use stainless steel clips and D-clips. Be careful not to use cheap clips as these could contain poisonous zinc. Another danger I spotted was a clip on a manufactured toy which would not close properly. A parrot could have caught its beak or its toe inside this partly-open clip.

Rope toys start off as safe items but those that have free ends are quickly unraveled by some parrots, leaving a mass of individual threads. These are a hazard as they could become entwined in the feet or around the neck. Cut them short at the first sign that they are coming loose to remove any potential danger. (article as per parrot society UK)

Please feel free to let us know if you have had any similar experiences and should your bird get into any form of difficulty please take them to a vet as soon as possible.

Steve Macher