As a bird owner, it irks me whenever I shop at my favorite pet store and still see fabric huts/tents/snuggies marketed for birds. Parrot tents have been responsible for more avian injuries and deaths than any other product type sold.
Here are the three reasons why:
1 – Crop impaction
3- Hormonal issues (prolapse, chronic egg-laying, etc.)
Crop impaction is not just an issue with fuzzy types of huts. With denim, there is a less likely chance that a bird will pick and chew on them, but either way, any birds subject to these dangerous toys are ingesting microfibers that naturally shed from fabric. Whenever your bird even lightly brushes against the fabric, invisible fibers stick to its feathers, and after the unfortunate bird preens, the fibers are swallowed and collect over time in their gut— until one day, you wake up and find your bird dead at the bottom of their cage and without ever being warned as to why.
Here’s the thing. Denim is treated with chemicals to improve its durability, which means the fibers persist in the environment for a long time, We don’t know exactly what chemicals. That’s proprietary information and it’s hard to know because different chemicals are used for different processes. Researchers at the University of Toronto say they have even found denim microfibers in sediment taken from the Great Lakes!
Human-made microfibers include fibers from natural sources such as cotton and those from synthetic sources such as plastic-based nylon and polyester. One study discovered that used jeans shed about 50,000 microfibers per wash. Please, please don’t take the chance with these products like hundreds of clients have. As cute as they look, it’s not worth the damage they are doing to your birds.
Entanglement happens faster than you think. It can be difficult to see the level of destruction that takes place inside the small openings. Some people opt to continually trim the excess fray from the fabric, but they can’t control what happens when their birds are in their cage unsupervised. Dangerous fraying can occur in a single afternoon.
The stories on the internet of horrific experiences are everywhere. I know that it will be hard to take away something that your bird loves so much, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that because they have not yet begun chewing on the tent, they will not do so in the future, especially when they get “nesty” during a particularly hormone driven breeding season.
It isn’t worth the gamble. The moral of this article is: Don’t buy or use happy huts. There are alternatives: Pvc tubes, seagrass houses or tunnels made from mats, and hanging coconut toys. These all have a bottom, however, which can cause hormonal behavior, so I’d encourage you to DIY or buy the bottomless “SafeCorner” by ‘Furnibirb’ instead.
We need to provide our pet birds with attention, enrichment with toys, a large enough cage that allows for exercising their wings, and a safe area to retreat.