Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 3, 2021

Birds eating fibers


Are rope perches, orbits and toys with rope the same possible issue as the hidy huts?


Answer:

Hi Gloria,

Rope toys are generally safe, but you should always observe how your bird plays with it. If you notice he is clipping off small bits, then there is the risk that he is eating them. Most pet birds do not seem to swallow non-food items, but there are always exceptions. It’s best to initially watch the bird with any new toy. No matter how safe a bird toy is, there is a bird somewhere that can get in trouble with it.

There are several issues with the bird huts and tents. Even if they are made from safe materials, I do not recommend them beyond the age when the bird is sexually mature. At that point, the bird views the huts as a nest and this triggers hormones, and with that comes issues. Both sexes can suffer from prolapses if their hormones are over stimulated, both sexes can become aggressive, and female can start laying eggs and often become chronic egg layers if the hut isn’t removed. In the wild, a nest is a tool that is used once a year during breeding season. The rest of the year, birds roost in various places depending on the species. So the presence of a nest, or anything they view as a nest, year round is not natural. It can put the bird in a constant state of being hormonal. Even breeding birds need to have their nest boxes removed or blocked off except for breeding season.

In the case of the green cheeked conure, the tendency for them to love these huts as well as consume the fibers is very likely related to a wild behavior. But without more studies of wild conures as well as a study of the captive conures with these huts, it’s hard to say if it is a wild instinct or it’s just because they are a very common captive species and a lot of bird owners buy those huts not understanding the potential harm.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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