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Rope Perches, Soft Collars, Sleep Huts: The Dangers!

Rope Perches:

We thought about this long and hard. We thought about bringing rope perches into our webstore at really great prices.
We decided against it.

Far too many birds are ending up with crop and digestive tract impaction due to rope perches, toys with rope, sleep huts, soft collars and other rope and cloth items. We pride ourselves on safe bird items.

While as caregivers we must watch every little thing that goes into our birds’ beaks and into and around their environments, there are some items that just don’t belong anywhere near them.

In addition, as previously mentioned we will not be selling rope perches; we believe hardwood perches are the safest and offer the most in foraging-enrichment anyway.

We will not be offering soft collars or sleep huts for the same safety precaution. Nor will we be selling organic hemp rope in our webstore any longer.
We took this position on plastic items years ago due to the zinc used to bind plastic and to bind color additives to plastic.

We understand that no item is 100% safe, but we also know that unsafe hazards can be limited. This is our aim and our mission to ensure the safety of all companion feathered friends.

Rope is rope. Rope is manufactured in such a way as to make it very, very strong and durable. In other words, the strands are long and durable and usually are not easily chewed into small bits which would pass through the digestive tract easily for elimination. Instead the long, tough fibers become entangled, meshed and impacted in a bird’s overall digestive tract causing partial or total blockage. Other natural chew toys contain fibers that are not manufactured for durability like rope so those fibers break off into small bits when chewed so if a bird ingests them they can pass through the digestive tract. Here is an article explaining how rope is made. Once we understand that long fibers are twisted, in opposite directions for durability, we can understand that those long fibers are exactly what causes impaction when our birds swallow the pieces they manage to chew off the ropes and other cloth items they have access to.

Photos courtesy of Pacific Vetcare.

“Furball” impaction taken out of bird.


The situation really isn’t any different with soft collars and sleep huts. Both are made with cloth birds can chew off and swallow. You know what happens? The digestive tract becomes impacted with the cloth and the bird can die!

We personally experienced this with one of our own sanctuary birds who came to us as a mutilator. One day I noticed she was not eating very much food, but also noticed that her droppings had become “stringy.” I looked at her collar only to find that she had literally been eating her collar! (I cannot mention the brand due to legal liability, but I can attest that the brand is one that is highly known in the larger avian community.)

Fortunately we caught this situation quick enough to remove her soft collar and she was able to pass all of the material from her digestive tract, but this is not always the case with every bird as you can clearly view in the above photos.

Besides, if a bird is a plucker and not a self-mutilator of skin it is really best to allow the bird to preen so it can learn to preen correctly. Obviously if a bird self-mutilates its skin then a hard collar is necessary. Talk to your trusted vet about obtaining a hard collar or hard collar system.

Folks, clothes, soft collars, sleep huts and ropes simply do not belong in the space our birds occupy. Besides ingesting cloth and becoming impacted, a bird can literally hang themselves with rope!

©1.15.16 Passion Tree House LLC – All Rights Reserved

1 Response



October 15, 2019

I’ve been an advocate for the prevention of sale of rope toys for birds for a long time. I lost Preston, a normal grey cock cockatiel, approx 7yrs ago. I was unaware of the dangers of rope toys back then but I now tell any shop sellings them that they are dangerous. I don’t understand why it’s OK to sell deadly toys for birds, but not to babies?

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