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Old 06-30-2017, 11:05 AM
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DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

We recently trimmed our river birch in our yard (no pesticides for fertilizers used on the tree) and I decided it might be nice to use the trimmings to make a perch and possibly some toys. I really didn't know how I was going to put it together so I just got as many branches as I could a got rid of the bark on half of them, kept it on some other branches. I have a few questions concerning safety with the perch and then with the toys.

1. Would removing the bark be safer? Also, would it cut down on the fun of the bird being able to pick at it?
2. How should I clean it? I have Dawn, vinegar, and a lot of water but I'm not sure what mixture I should use to soak them or scrub them down with.
3. Are stainless steel screws okay to use to put it together?
4. What should the base be made of? (I'm prepared to search for materials and buy anything needed)

With the toys I'm really unsure about if I'll even make it. I have several inch to two inch pieces of thick cut birch that has no bark and I have a large roll of twine. I'm wondering what the safest way to tie/string them together would be. I soaked them in Dawn and water overnight and am planing to scrub them down with a water-vinegar mix this afternoon after drilling holes in them for the twine to go through. (unless I find out otherwise) The thing I'm worried mostly about is toes getting stuck and I'm wanting to know:

1. Does anyone has any designs for string-wood toys that are safe for their birds?
2. What mixture should I use to scrub them down?
3. How far spaced should the pieces be from each other if it were for a smaller bird such as a parakeet?

Thanks so much, please let me know if any of this is even worth it or safe, I don't want to injure my future birds because of my own fault in making toys/perches.
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Old 06-30-2017, 12:05 PM
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Re: DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

Birch is a wonderful wood that has great grains and color patterns and is loved by wood works for its stability. It almost seem a shame to use it for something that a Parrot will quickly turn into something tiny.

Your questions:
1. Would removing the bark be safer? IMHO, yes! The only way you get to determine what may still be living in that bark is to remove it! Bark is also that part of the branch that is exposed to the outside world and although you have been careful, there is not way to assure that is true for the area around you.

Also, would it cut down on the fun of the bird being able to pick at it? Maybe. Some Parrots really like it, other do not. That said, its really no fun at all when you find ants, etc... streaming out of that branch. If I tried to bring in a branch to the house, Mrs Boats' would meet me at the door with a quick: Not In My House!

2. How should I clean it? "I have Dawn, vinegar, and a lot of water but I'm not sure what mixture I should use to soak them or scrub them down with." I like both, but use very hot water and Dawn (original formula) at the same mix as used to wash dishes with it! Use a stiff brush and scrub away at it. Double or triple rise with fresh water that you would drink! I lay them out to dry in bright sunshine setting on a concrete drive or like clean surface.

3. Are stainless steel screws okay to use to put it together? Stainless steel screws are my first choice! But, I recommend that you pre-drill prior to screwing the surfaces together (or use stainless steel nuts, washers and bolts). Hard woods can split easily and pre-drilling just makes those issues go away. I also pre-drill with Pine.

4. What should the base be made of? "(I'm prepared to search for materials and buy anything needed)" The base becomes more of an issue the taller and wider the 'stand' becomes. So, it depends on what you are making! I watch the adds for used stands and also the local Pet Stores. Commonly, the bases survive and only the tops and vertical shafts need to be replaced. Use the same method for cleaning, always double wash (hot water is the key)! I would recommend that you take a look at the DIY Forum for what others are using. There are lots of choice, and depending what you have around the home now, it could be changed to being a base. The goal is to not get top heavy with Parrot and stuff in place!

I will leave the other questions for others to provide answers too!

Last edited by SailBoat; 06-30-2017 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 06-30-2017, 12:13 PM
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Re: DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

Thank you so much, Sailboat!
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:10 PM
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Re: DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

Well, in the hope that someone else that has smaller Parrots (we are an Amazon only household) will jump in here. Lets look at this a bit further.

Your statement: I have a large roll of twine.

It is very important to determine the source of the twine (country of manufacture). The chemicals used at different places around this world will lend itself as to whether or not using with your Parrot is safe. Understanding that twine is a very low cost product used for limited interaction (not chewing) uses. Also, if this product has some age to it, i.e. it has been sitting around for years, it is likely not safe for or with your Parrot.

Depending on your Parrot, some love to crew twine like products, but it can become logged in their Crop. You will likely get several view of using twine or twine like products and likely recommendations as to what product are best for toy making products.

With hope, someone else will jump in here.

FYI: Follow the same clean practices with toys as with other stuff as noted in my comments regarding branches. NOTE: Continue to turn the items to assure all surfaces are exposed to the Sun Light!
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Old 06-30-2017, 05:01 PM
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Re: DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

Yeah, the twine we have currently is pretty old and nondescript (my mom jut described it as "garden twine"). Do you know what companies/manufacturers sell twine that is safe for birds? I'm wanting to head out to a hardware store possibly but I'm not sure if anything there will be considered bird-safe so I'm wondering about ordering online. Any recommendations for what product/company I should get? Sorry if this is too many questions, just trying to be sure I get what would be safest.
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Old 06-30-2017, 08:52 PM
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Re: DIY Birch-Wood Perch and Toys

Our Amazon has zero interest in twine and string toys in general. So, I'm not your best source on what is best to use in the 'string' type toys.

- The old twine is trash for any use around your parrot or in your home! At this point its outside only!

- Target USA manufactured only. No dye and only natural safe sources.

FYI: You maybe way out in front of yourself. Not all Parrots like string based toys! I would hold off at this point and nose around at the full cross-section of toys available. Note: lots of baby toys work really well for Parrots and are far less expensive. Expand your thinking regarding sources.
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