Monday, August 3, 2009

Internet Bird Toys

Gosh, I must be molting, because I've been wandering around the internet and finding things a bit annoying today!

Here I am, taking a quick step up to the soap box again...

Being on my soap box is a bit like eating ice cream off a spoon from the freezer... it can be secretly addictive.... pulling the gallon of ice cream out of the freezer, sticking a spoon into it, and saying 'just one spoon'.

No, really - I'm putting that ice cream back... right after this second spoon.

Just one more.

It is important to smooth the surface of the ice cream - you know, even it out - just to make it look pretty and even.

That doesn't really count as a 'spoonful'... it is just being polite for the next person. One should not leave their footprints in the ice cream container.

It is so hard to get the surface perfectly even. Whoops - I took a little too much off that side over there - well, I'll make this side match! Smoothing calories don't count like regular ones.

So, stepping onto the soapbox:

A nameless purveyor of internet razzle-dazzle marketing schemes for changing bird behavior by using punishment, aversive tactics and coercion also sells bird-safe toys.

(It would not have surprised me if I had read that these toys were themselves constructed by unemployed parrots that, but for their toy-making job, might be sleeping on bare tree branches at night and standing in line for seed-stamps during the day.)

What got my beak was the contention that purchasing such toys were the only way to know that bird toys were 100% safe. (Oh, and they will take your credit card number....)

That's just crazy-talk. It is not the only way. I don't mind people selling bird toys, and I think it is a good thing. What I find shameful is using fear as a marketing ploy. Before I gave one red cent of my money to purveyors of coercion, I would rather cut the legs off my piano and make them into parrot toys.

I know for a fact that not everything sold at a 'pet store' with a pretty picture of a bird on the front of it is necessarily safe for birds -or- safe for every bird.

For example, I wonder if pet stores owners or employees where the tin can 'mite protectors' are sold would be willing to put one under their infant's pillow every night, and on the bars of the baby's crib, because of course - they are safe. Even though they are an insecticide. I do not think they are safe; yet, they are sold with cute little pictures of birds on them. I know many veterinarians that upon seeing these tin cans on a bird cage go into a tizzy that makes my molting look tame by comparison.

So, yes - there are things sold at pet stores that can be unsafe.
Even 'safe' is relative, as what is 'safe' for a budgie is not 'safe' for a parrot, and so on. While, certain items are not safe for any bird such as lead or zinc metal parts.

The majority of toys sold at pet stores are perfectly safe when used appropriately. The burden is on the companion to employ common sense by purchasing a well manufactured toy that is appropriate for the intended bird - based upon that bird's needs. Because it has a picture of a macaw on the piece of cardboard attached to the toy doesn't mean it should be given to every macaw or perhaps even any macaw. Daily checking toys for wear and tear and replacing as needed is critical.

What got me on my soap box was the contention that the only way to be guaranteed a safe toy was to purchase it from the self-appointed safe parrot internet toy club (I'm making up that name).

Buyer beware - caveat emptor - especially on the internet. The more the razzle, the more dazzle, the more caveat emptor should be employed.

Free toy suggestion of the day (no credit cards required):

Take a piece of fleece (fabric) and sew to make a small 'pillow case' with the pocket opening in the center instead of on the end like a regular pillow case. Place a nut inside down in one of the 'corners'.

Free tip #2:
Take strips of fleece (fabric) and tie them in knots, with things such as hard plastic or solid metal rings between them. Hang from cage bars, etc.

Free tip #3:
Sing. Interaction with a human is a toy that keeps on giving. And, the price is right - free!


1 comment:

scotty said...

And to add to that.....PLEASE NO STRINGS....
Many toys are filled with these lil strings that the birdies can actually swallow.I once gave my canaries my Collies hair to make a nest. Brought the lil girl to a breeder coz she was acting wierd,and her leggies were all intwined in COLLIE HAIR..MY BAD!!


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