A variety of toys for your pet bird are as essential as food and water for maintaining a bird that is happy and emotionally healthy. But toys are only a plus if they are safe. Here are 6 hazards to avoid when shopping for toys for your feathered friend.
Zinc and Lead-These metals are toxic to birds and should be avoided. This is sometimes not as easy as it sounds because smaller parts like bell clappers or links of chain that attach hanging toys may contain traces of these metals. To be sure, look for a label that indicates the toy is "bird safe", use only toys made of organic materials, or make the toys yourself with products you know are safe. Stainless steel toys are an option, and though they cost more, they are certainly worth the peace of mind they give.
Choking Hazards-The size and personality of your bird will have a great influence on what defines a choking hazard. A bird that is a chewer and can disassemble a toy into smaller parts may be able to break off pieces that become small enough to cause a problem. You will need to select toys carefully and supervise your bird closely with the new toy. This will be trial and error for a while, but as you learn your bird's personality you will become expert at gauging which toys are least likely to cause it to choke.
Lose Links-Rope toys, swings, and some perches attach with links of metal or fabric. Make sure that they are tight enough to avoid trapping a beak or a foot. Rope toys can become unraveled, and what was safe at one time may develop a hole big enough to cause a problem. Having a beak or foot caught can cause your bird to panic and injure himself in the struggle to get free, and can aso result in strangulation. Inspect all toys frequently, but particularly those with links to make sure that they remain tight and safe.
Dyes and Chemicals-Many toys are visually appealing to both birds and their humans because of the bright colors. Make sure that the dyes used are organic rather than chemical to avoid ingestion of these chemicals when your bird chews. Toys that use vegetable dyes are best, and this is usually indicated with an organic seal or a label indicating it is safe for birds. If there is any question about what kind of dye was used, leave it.
Sharp Parts-These may be covered with fabric when the toy is new, but may become exposed once the toy has been chewed or becomes worn. If unnoticed, these parts can easily become a hazard to your pet's eyes, feet, and body. Be alert, and remove toys that could create potential hazard immediately.
Spoiled Foods-Your bird's favorite treats are probably those that contain food--peanut butter, popcorn, fruits, and seeds. Make sure that these foods are only allowed in the cage for several hours to avoid mold growth, and prevent your pet from ingesting food that is spoiled.
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