The Most Dangerous Parrot Cage Accessory

 November 5th, 2012
Posted By:
Patty

I am going to try to do this post without actually mentioning any brand names so as not to incur the wrath of their manufacturers. They tend to get angry when we trash their products. Let’s just say that if you google the words “hut” or “tent” in combination with the words “happy” or snuggly” you will get product results.

The parrot huts look like miniature pup tents. They are made of various fabrics and many are fleece lined. The interior is about 6 inches from the apex of the tent to the bottom – the sides are plush and comfy. It’s the perfect size for a small parrot.

Many conures just love them. It is their place of choice for a good night’s sleep and they look cute as can be inside them. So, the post that follows might be a big disappointment to some small bird owners…

These tents have two MAJOR downsides:

  1. Many birds that use them become very hormonally aggressive. They tend to envelop a bird’s entire body – something that puts many birds “in the mood”. They are also reminiscent of nesting spots just about the size that a small bird would prefer.These facts might bring the “mood” on during any time of the year, and they are definitely responsible for escalating normal seasonal breeding behaviors in many birds. Conures and quakers are known for their cage territorialism and the tents are known to increase those aggressions as well.
  2. If the above isn’t enough to make you think again about these products, THIS WILL: They are, without a doubt, the single most dangerous cage accessory on the market today. Parrot tents have been responsible for more avian injuries and deaths than any other product type sold.

The problem is that they are made from fabric, which is also their attraction for a parrot. It’s what makes them comfortable and warm and alluring. Birds love fabric because it’s soft and pliable. Chewing on it makes it fluffy and plump and a parrot will spend hours manipulating fabric to their own specifications.

Some products are sold with fabric strips inside, sometimes marketed as an attached preening toy, that encourages further chewing. As the fabric is broken down, it exposes smaller strands that get tangled around legs, toes AND necks.

When a bird gets caught in fabric strands, they tighten as he bird struggles to free itself leaving no room for it to snip it away with the beak. If the strand prevents blood flow for too long, the result is amputation of that body part. I don’t think I have to elaborate about what happens when a bird’s neck becomes tangled.

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.

This was posted on our Facebook page just shortly ago:

“Just a word of warning to all bird owners, PLEASE re-consider getting any type of [parrot tents] for your birds (especially Conures, as they love to chew on them). I nearly lost my beloved jenday today in one of them (the soft, fleecy type). Her foot became caught up in the newly chewed threads, on the floor of it, and had twisted among some of the threads, and then she panicked, and got her whole head and torso caught under just a couple of the threads. I grabbed the scissors right away, and immediately cut her free, and was able to save her. She’s fine, no harm done. Actually, I was worse off than she! Permanent end to that hut in her cage!

But…. was not so lucky last year, when my mom lost her dear conure to a very similar accident with one of those huts, it was one of the stiffer types of these things, that have red and blue cloth, over cardboard. She had chewed around on the front part of the hut, along the edge, and was going after that “one thread more”, when her head became entangled between the threads on the fabric, and the cardboard, and she strangled to death. She died instantly, despite our quick efforts to save her.”

The stories on the internet of similar 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 he has not yet begun chewing on the tent, that it 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.

Note: As much as we wanted to share real photos from real people of their sleeping birds in snuggle huts, people felt slandered having their names on such photos that they would openly share on a facebook page so we decided to use the product pictures instead from stores that sell these.

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24 Comments on “The Most Dangerous Parrot Cage Accessory”

Rhonda gilman  11/05/2012 2:31 pm

Thanks for the info. i have a sunconure named daphene and i wouldnt want anything to happen to her.


Donna Franzen Berglund  11/05/2012 5:04 pm

We had a lorikeet and he died from eating the fuzzy fabric, once small enough. I will never let a bird have one of these.


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Shannon  11/05/2012 8:15 pm

There is another DANGER with these and any toys that are fibrous. it is called fibre impaction and it occurs in the crop. It can come from ANY fibrous toy, including rope perches and these “huts”. My local avian vet showed me a box full of colourful fibre balls that had been removed from the crop of many birds, some birds lived and unfortunately some did not. I know its hard to imagine, but it’s a true factor and if bird tricks could please do some research into this very real problem and let all the bird owners out there know, we would have a lot of safer birds out there.
I have linked to my local vets page, that describes the matter in-depth.

http://www.currumbinvetservices.com.au/foreign_body_ingestion.htm


Darlene Kessel  11/06/2012 10:30 am

My jenday doesn’t like the huts. I bought one and she never used it so i took it out and my other birds are too big for huts also you have to be on the lookout for the rings that hold the toys together. My calico macaw got one caught on his lower jaw and what a time getting it off almost had to take him to the vet. lucky friends of ours came over to help.


Kim  11/08/2012 4:17 am

Thanks, really good to know, I was considering one – not now!


Jayem  11/08/2012 4:52 am

My (rescued) Sun Conure bit throught his favourite fleecy teepee tent until the plastic bottom showed, then I read an article about choking on them, so I panicked and took him to the vet and luckily he was okay. I did not replace the tent, but had been considering an open type. I’m glad I didn’t get one. Meanwhile, he sleeps holding onto a very very large cotton and wood hanging toy, rather like a preener, which I initially thought he might not like at all. I’ll keep an eye on it, but I think it’s probably safer then a tent.


Autumn Morning Star  11/08/2012 9:03 am

I wholeheartedly agree! Any type of tent that has FABRIC on it is absolutely dangerous! Birds WILL shred this and become entangled. It is not worth taking the risk. Even the suggested baseball cap can become a deathtrap, because it can be shredded.

Just ask yourself when buying a toy:
1. Is this made of fabric, string, or threads? If the answer is “Yes” then the toy is NO!


Susan  11/08/2012 11:21 am

Although they are expensive, my birds love their heated perches, and there’s no danger there and they last for years. My birds even use them in the summer since we have air conditioning.


Cynthia Nall  11/08/2012 12:39 pm

Try boxes. My patagonian loves any box he can get in. I always keep a supply for him. Even my moluccan likes them.


Lisa Vaughan  11/08/2012 12:48 pm

My U2 lost part of her toe after becoming entangled in a thread from her cage cover-she was impatient with how long it was taking me to uncover the other cages, and thought she’d help me. Then her toe became necrotic and she required surgery to remove the whole toe….Even those wonderful braided cotton perches can become a hazard–No loose threads!!! No zinc, either, and watch out for dangling chains, etc….it’s really hard to be so vigilant, but checking cages for hazards daily is soooo vital to their well-being. Thank you for posting–


Susan Davis  11/08/2012 2:17 pm

If these snuggly tents and heated perches were baby accessories, they would have already been taken off the market due to all the deaths they have caused! People, get over your discomfort with not wanting to stress your bird, they will be fine! How will your bird feel as it’s either dying inside it’s cage while you sleep, or chewing off it’s feet? Really, your bird will be fine without these death traps!


Tina  11/08/2012 3:35 pm

Yes I had one of these in my cage my bird didnt get hurt but it caused her to lay eggs. Which in turn caused a hole lot of other problems to the tune of 5.000 dollars. I wish someone would have told me sooner. GET RID OF THE HUT your bird will be just fine without it.
Thank you for getting the word out.


Name (required)  11/08/2012 4:16 pm

An alternative I have found works for some conures is to place a perch high in the back corner of the cage and at night drape fabric on the OUTSIDE of the cage. I remove it in the morning. I have had no chewing problems and it does give the “protection” feeling of having the side and back covered from “threats” that conures feel is necessary for good sleep. Just an idea.


Deb Van Hooser  11/08/2012 5:28 pm

My green cheek has a tent and a cubby. When he went through puberty he got aggressive maybe this is why?
I will try the newspaper in a ball cap idea. he doesn’t like hands and if I try to take him out he really lets me have it now I know why. Thanks!


shirley Martin  11/08/2012 7:20 pm

I keep nest boxes on all my cages for my birds to sleep in. I have not had any problems so far. My sun conure male and blue crown male sleep together in their nest box and all my pairs sleep in one. They don’t cost any more than these huts which I have had problems with.
I am a breeder and I give my customers printed instructions for the safety of their birds.
A bird can get injured from a loose string or thread dropped on the floor, so be careful of this also.


spiritpaw  11/09/2012 9:35 am

I wish they were safe, because they do love them so much. perhaps some safe alternative can be created? With grass and wood? Also be careful of rag mop style preening toys made of cotton. My lil green cheek had one and loved snuggling in it. Had it over a year, then one day he was making a funny chirping noise and I saw he had the treads tangled around his neck. He calmly tried to untangle himself but we had to help him with scissors cause he was only making it tighter. He was sad we took it away but he is safer, and got over it pretty quick.


toofunforwords@gmail.com  05/08/2013 12:07 pm

Im a brand-new conure owner and am wondering if I could design/make a tent out of very thin glass. Is that a no-no? I’ve had my wonderful bird for a week now and really wanna make her little home fun and inviting for her. Also, know how to tell male from female conures? I can’t tell, but I feel she’s a ‘she,’ like me :)


Debbie  11/03/2013 2:55 am

I just lost both my budgies after putting the blue tent/red liner in their cage a few days prior. At first when I noticed their increased activity within the cage I thought it might have been something they were eating ie my choice fresh fruit or veggie, never thinking even once about having newly put the hut in. Then aggression and what appeared to be hormonal behaviors presented including attacking my hand when changing feed and water. I let them out of the cage for exercise and they’d seem to calm down but then once back in the cage, got all fired up again. Then late one night, I noticed one of them huddled on the floor of the cage in a corner. When I lifted him out to inspect/evaluate him, he seized in my hand. I was so distraught, not knowing what was causing this. He seized again two hours later and then passed. The next morning I got up for work and immediately checked in on my other bird. To my horror, she too was lying dead in the bottom of the cage. It wasn’t until I took to cleaning the cage, did it occur to me that the odd behaviors began when I had placed the hut inside their cage. Upon inspection of the hut, the red fibers of the liner easily pulled out. I then realized that this was more than likely their cause of death. I will never buy another hut or snuggly product. My birds were healthy, happy and well cared for. I bought the stupid hut thinking they might stay warmer in the coming colder months, never imaging this kind of outcome.


Anonymous  11/06/2013 4:18 pm

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Connie Pruitt  02/21/2014 10:43 pm

Our beloved Sun Conure named Cricket was only 4 years old. DIED because of these beds. The fuzzy fabric was chewed by our bird and string pulled out and wrapped around his body and NECK! We cut him out and got the string off of him and rushed him to the vet. The vet said he had a neck spinal injury and he did not make it through the night! We are crushed! PLEASE DO NOT USE THESE BEDS/TENTS!



carol green  04/08/2014 4:24 pm

The one I have is just fur fabric and my love birds just go in at night to sleep