The Most Dangerous Parrot Cage Accessory

The Danger of Parrot Huts!

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 "happy huts" 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”.

*****To Get Educated On Parrot Hormones>>> CLICK HERE!<<<*****

2. 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.

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 the 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 on 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.

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Why Weighing Your Bird Could Save Its Life

Toys Instead of Tents!

Parrot Training 

Healthiest Parrot Diet

"Every Interaction is a Training Session."

    32 comments

    Jacqueline

    I have a sun conure name dicey Who loves those things I’m so thankful that I was home when he got he feet caught if I was not home I think I would have lost his I no longer use them but on a happy note I have a friend that builds furniture so he made him one of wood safe wood he still chewed on it try to terret up but is much safer than what he had

    Jacqueline
    AM

    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
    Kristi

    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
    Ky

    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
    Michael

    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
    Dagny

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

    Dagny
    Stef

    They should be illegal.

    Stef
    jose

    i just got my conure loose of a thread from around her neck, she did not die but she is very sleepy lethargic and slow keeps wanting to shy away by herself and deosnt want to be bothered does anyone know if its a normal reaction should i worry that she will not recover and day later please help me if youve had this experience…………

    jose
    Stef

    Is there a safe alternative for a bird to have a good night’s sleep?

    Stef
    Bec

    I’ve been using this bed, or seat as they call it for my 2 quakers. Its not super fluffy, its easy to clean and they seem to love it, both for sleeping and playing. I put it up nice and high in the cage and they seem to sit on it and lean up against the side, looks pretty comfy. I’d still keep a close eye on them though and if they pick at it at all take it away. definately worth checking out!! :-) http://www.avione.com.au/2015-04-16-23-25-42/accessories/item/210-22510bl/210-22510bl i notice there are a few sellers on ebay that may post to the states, or maybe contact avione?

    Bec
    Tina

    My green cheeked conure died last night from one of these beds. The one I had was a small snuggle hut as shown above. My Hank chewed through the bed and a string from the fabric got wrapped around his neck and I found him hung in his cage. I am so heartbroken, when I got the bird the bed was already in the cage. That is why I thought they were okay. Do not buy!!

    Tina
    carol green

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

    carol green
    Connie Pruitt

    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!

    Connie Pruitt
    Debbie

    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.

    Debbie
    toofunforwords@gmail.com

    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 :)

    toofunforwords@gmail.com
    Susan

    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.

    Susan
    Jayem

    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.

    Jayem
    Shannon

    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

    Shannon
    Donna Franzen Berglund

    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.

    Donna Franzen Berglund
    Rhonda gilman

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

    Rhonda gilman
    Darlene Kessel

    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.

    Darlene Kessel
    Autumn Morning Star

    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!

    Autumn Morning Star
    Name (required)

    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.

    Name (required)
    spiritpaw

    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.

    spiritpaw
    Deb Van Hooser

    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!

    Deb Van Hooser

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published