Most companies manufacture rope toys for budgies with safety in mind. However, it can be difficult to understand which toys are safe for budgies to play with and which ones carry potential risks.
Only sisal or hemp (jute) rope is safe for budgies’ swings, ladders, perches, and toys.
Other types of rope can easily fray, presenting a choking or entanglement hazard. Only choose natural rope toys wound in tight knots with no chemical colorings or preservatives.
All rope toys will fray at some point, so trim the loose threads or replace the toy entirely. Ingesting too much rope is dangerous.
Are Rope Toys Safe for Budgies?
It’s no surprise that rope ladders, swings, perches, and hoops are marketed for budgies. Budgies are energetic birds that enjoy climbing ropes, pecking at them, and gnawing on the fibers.
Rope toys are safe for budgies to play with as long as you take basic precautions. Unfortunately, certain types of rope pose health and safety hazards for small birds.
The main risks of rope include the following:
- Choking on loose or frayed fibers
- Poisoning due to certain chemicals
- Crop and gastrointestinal blockages
Here are the factors to consider when buying rope toys for budgies:
Unfortunately, not all types of rope are safe for budgies.
Cotton and nylon strands are strong when frayed and can cut into your budgie’s feet or legs.
Daily use and pecking won’t sever cotton or nylon rope, but it’ll cause strands to loosen. Should one of the budgie’s legs get caught in a loop, it may be unable to escape.
As a minimum, this could be painful, lead to panic, and cut off any blood circulation to its foot. In the worst case, it could permanently injure the budgie’s leg or foot.
Only buy rope toys made up of 100% all-natural jute or sisal. They’re much sturdier than other types and are less prone to fraying. Also, these rope types are more durable and long-lasting.
Size And Accessories
While diminutive birds may enjoy smaller toys, they’re often made up of tiny parts that can be easily pried off and eaten. So, choose rope toys that don’t have many smaller parts attached directly to them.
Your budgie may try to pry apart more intricate toys. So, opt for a relatively simple bird toy. Ropes bound into tight knots will work just fine, keeping your budgies entertained indefinitely.
Age of Material
Avoid using second-hand rope toys or keeping older toys that are beginning to wear away. Even the most durable rope will eventually break down since budgies are insistent chewers.
It’s OK to leave short tufts the budgie has managed to chew sticking out of the toy. However, you should discard any rope toys that are significantly frayed or unspooled.
Longer threads can wrap around your budgie’s neck or torso, causing it to panic and strangle itself.
Chemicals And Colors
If a rope toy has been treated with oil, dyes, or bleaches, it should always be avoided. Your budgie could be poisoned if it ingests any chemicals added to the rope.
Only get rope toys that are 100% natural and colorless with no added scents or oils.
Can Budgies Safely Chew On Rope Toys?
You should expect budgies to chew on rope toys, as this keeps them busy and files down their beaks.
However, you shouldn’t let a budgie eat its rope toys. If your budgie persistently eats rope, it may have a behavioral issue or eating disorder, such as pica.
Allowing a budgie to ingest rope fibers indefinitely could lead to the following:
Even if the rope toy hasn’t been chemically treated, ingesting rope fibers can be dangerous.
According to Brisbane Bird and Exotics Veterinary Services, most fibrous materials that a budgie eats will accumulate in its crop. This is the pocket-like tract found in its lower throat.
Rope can cause gastrointestinal blockages. Surgery and post-mortem autopsy are often the only way veterinarians find out if your budgie has eaten rope fibers.
Most ropes are largely made up of plant cellulose.
According to the University of Florida, birds can’t properly digest cellulose, which means ingesting large amounts can create blockages in the gastrointestinal tract.
However, this doesn’t mean that budgies don’t need cellulose. The bacteria in your budgie’s gut utilizes cellulose for other purposes. It just shouldn’t come from hard-to-digest rope fibers.
If a budgie is persistently eating rope, even if it’s all-natural fibers, you should remove it immediately.
Are Rope Perches Bad for Budgies?
Rope perches can be an excellent form of enrichment that keeps your budgie entertained. They do have risks that you will need to mitigate, including the following:
Prone To Fraying
If the perch is a softer rope, a budgie can easily untangle the soft threads when chewing on it.
The budgie may get its feet caught or entangled in them. The same can happen with tougher rope toys if you don’t check for threads loosening over time.
Wear Down Faster
Rope perches degrade faster than other perches, especially compared to the average plastic or wood perch. This is due to the budgie’s constant chewing and washing to keep it clean.
Best Rope for Budgies
It’s sensible to ensure your budgie’s rope toys are made up of 100% jute or sisal rope. These materials are far tougher and less likely to fray following consistent chewing. Which rope type is better?
Jute rope (hemp rope) is ideal for bird toys.
Jute is a soft plant with many uses, but it’s most prominent in building strong ropes. The fibers are thick, coarse, and extremely durable.
Sometimes jute is combined with other fibrous materials to weave a rope, so double-check that no nylon or cotton fibers are threaded into the toys you buy.
These can cut a budgie or be ingested, resulting in painful and life-threatening gastrointestinal blockages.
Jute rope toys are tied into tight knots that are difficult to pick apart. While long-term use will produce a few strands, it’s less likely than with other rope materials.
Sisal is a stiff fiber mainly used to make rope, twine, paper, and other fibrous products. Although sisal rope is quite tough and resilient, it’ll unspool sooner and more easily than jute rope.
Often, bird toy manufacturers sell rope balls made of leather rope. This is a good alternative to jute or sisal, as long as the leather has undergone a vegetable-tanning process.
If you select the right type and replace it when it shows signs of fraying, rope is safe for budgies.