The Most Dangerous Parrot Cage Accessory

Posted by Bird Tricks on

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 snuggle” 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.

Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

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  • I bought a straw hut from Drs. Foster and Smith. My Sun conure fits into it with no problem. Though, she chews on it everyday. I attached two wooden ladders to each side (hooked onto base of the straw hut) so it became a tree house. She loves it. You can also hang it from the top of the cage with the hooks provided. My beloved Sun conure died in August, 2016 from chewing the material of a dark green, Happy Hut. I didn’t realize he ingested the fibers until it was too late. He was the best pet ever! My heart is broken. I feel like I’ve lost a child again. I cry everyday, because he loved me unconditionally. He became my therapy bird and massaged every knuckle on my fingers. He preened my face to relax me. In five years since I owned him, I was in remission from Lupus. I need him more now than ever. I haven’t been the same since he died. My family and friends are worried since I am taking his death so badly. They fear I will start with a flare from this stress.

    AM on
  • Mine died recently too, thanks to one of these I think. He was in the best health so idk what else would have caused it, especially since when I looked at his beak the outside had this fabric sticking out, and the top of the hut was bare. I still have my rescue conure, and I wanted to look on the internet for other housing ideas since I was afraid to get him a hut. Are nest boxes ok?

    Kristi on
  • Old post, but thanks heaps!!! My wife and I have been wanting to get these for ages, for our 2 cockatiels Kevin and Spacey and conure Sanka…….not now!!! Hadn’t even thought about this! Thanks for the info.

    Ky on
  • My peach fronted conure lost his legg due to this product, I take full responsibility because I didn’t do the proper research, but be aware!!

    Michael on
  • Glad I read this, I was ready to order one.. :-/

    Dagny on

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