Are supplies safe?

Discussion in 'DIY Drive' started by zoomama, 2/1/10.

  1. zoomama
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    zoomama Rollerblading along the road

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    I'm just starting to try to build home-made toys and things, and I'm wondering how y'all know whether or not materials are safe or not, especially if you're picking up supplies at places like dollar stores, craft stores, hardware stores etc.?

    For example, tonight I stopped at a few places:

    Lowe's Home Improvement to check out PVC prices for possible toys and a playstand. The guy told me in order to put a PVC playstand together, I would have to glue the PVC parts together. I thought glues were very bad for birds. Even though the glue would be inside the PVC parts, isn't it possible a bird could get through to the glue?

    AC Moore Craft Store to look for toy making stuff, especially if it was on sale. I saw blocks of wood, but it didn't say what kind it was. I saw raffia, but there was nothing on it about whether it was treated with anything. I saw "natural" on some hemp string and rope, but I didn't know if "natural" means as little on craft supplies as it does on food. There were also little straw hats and little straw cowboy hats, but I couldn't tell whether they were okay to use, or whether they had been treated with anything. Same thing with the tanned leather ( I assume tanning uses chemicals).

    Do the countries they are made in tell me anything about their safety for birds? I'm sure I"ll run into the same thing at the dollar store. Please give me your suggestions. I want to make my baby fun toys and equipment especially suited to his/her likes, but I don't want to hurt him/her accidentally.

    Thanks so much,
    Nancy

    Edit by Nikki - I made this thread a sticky because it has a lot of useful information... Also, to be on the safe side always make sure what is listed here is in fact safe to use. Happy toy making!
    Last edited by a moderator: 2/11/10
  2. Tamara
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    Tamara Rollerblading along the road

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    I stick to things I know are safe. Straws are usually ok. Untreated leather is better. We use things like hemp and natural ropes. We use a cotton rope that won't unravel into small strings that our birds can get caught up in (try the auto section at target). Stay away from treated vine balls from the store (you can smell the stain and treatments). Untreated wood is fine. You can also put together different bits of PVC without glue. We used to do that with puppet show stages. :)
  3. JLcribber
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    JLcribber Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Only use leather that is untreated or colored with vegetable dye. If you can't tell skip it.

    You can drill a hole through the PVC fittings and fasten them together with a stainless steel screw

    If you did use glue it's only on the inside of the fitting and not exposed if you do it properly.


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  4. ThatDarnBird
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    ThatDarnBird Rollerblading along the road

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    The little hats I've seen at Michaels are held together with thread, which could be a danger. You could order safe ones at cabirdnerds: Bamboo Hats
  5. hsmoscout
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    hsmoscout Rollerblading along the road

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    One way to always know is to order online from trusted bird stores, although I realize you may not want to do that
  6. avianantics
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    avianantics Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Leather is commonly tanned using chemicals. For birds you want Vegetable tanned leather.

    PVC should be rated for plumbing. There are different types of PVC and some contain chemicals that can be toxic. You want PVC that is safe when used for drinking water applications.

    The ropes you use should be ropes without *memory*, meaning that they don't wrap well. Ropes should be natural and unoiled. For instance the sisal rope you purchase in hardware stores is oiled, you can smell it. The safest cotton rope is supreme cotton rope, it is specifically made for birds, pulls apart easily thus decreasing the risk of entanglement.
    Most hemp ropes found in stores have been polished, again you want natural, unprocessed, untreated.

    Hardware should be stainless steel or nickel plated. Most hardware fund in hardware stores contains zinc.

    One would think that toys made for children would be safe and in many cases they are. However, relatively recently it was found that the paint used to paint eyes on rubber ducks and letters on alphabet blocks was toxic to both birds and babies.

    Dyes should be food based dyes safe for use in foods. (example: food coloring).

    Wood should be untreated and natural. All ink from stamps should be sanded off. Make sure you know what types of wood are safe for birds. Pine, Poplar and Maple commonly found in hardware stores is fine as long as it is untreated.

    Most vendors that sell bird toy parts, are offering natural, bird safe products. Personally I would stick to ordering your bird toy parts from known vendors to be safe.

    It may be a bit more expensive than the Dollar Store or Home Depot, but it is much safer.

    That said, there are some parts that can be purchased in these stores that you can be relatively certain are safe, such as;
    Pony Beads (make sure they aren't the kind with sparkles/glitter), Blow plastics (the plastic novelty toys), Infantamo rubber animals in the baby section of Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Plastic Links also found in the baby section.

    Good luck and have fun!


    Last edited: 2/2/10
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  7. Amaterasu
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    Amaterasu Walking the driveway

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    What about the craft foam you can buy at the store? I see lots of toys made out of and I assume it's the same kind I can buy at Michaels/Hobby Lobby.

    Foam and beads were the main things I was considering buying from the craft store.
  8. fid fanatic
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    fid fanatic Sprinting down the street

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    I'd say no to the craft foam. It just doesn't seem safe for birds and I've never seen one bird toy made with it. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, the PVC glue is HIGHLY toxic, so I would stay away from it and just hammer the PVC pieces together with a rubber mallot. That usually gets them super snug to where it's very difficult to get them apart. Or maybe it's the PVC primer that's highly toxic...both? Anyway, the glue won't work without the primer, so there ya go.
    Last edited: 2/11/10
  9. Amaterasu
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    Amaterasu Walking the driveway

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    Here's the kind of foam I've seen on several toys. My bird loves the foam pieces so that's why I was inclined to use it. They're squishy and easy to tear apart.

    Chopper's Toys for feather picking, plucking, preening, parrots (the very last toy listed)

    I haven't found the exact foam beads but these seem similar: Discount School Supply - Jumbo Fun Shapes Foam Beads - 500 Pieces

    Edit: I've been doing some research and seem to have found a more definitive answer. Foam is not digestible but it's not toxic either. So as long as the bird does not have a habit of eating toys, it doesn't look like foam should be a huge problem. It really depends more on the individual bird's habits than anything else.
    Last edited: 2/12/10
  10. fid fanatic
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    fid fanatic Sprinting down the street

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    Oh yes, I've seen this kind of foam. When you said 'craft foam', I was talking about the white stuff that's shaped like cones, wreaths, bricks, etc. at stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels (they also have the green stuff in the floral dept.), to which I would say stay away from.
  11. Micki
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    Micki Sprinting down the street

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    Great information!
  12. Jan
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    Jan Rollerblading along the road Celebirdy of the Month

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    I stay away from any type of foam items for the birds. I'm not sure what all ingredients go into making foam that you see used in some of the bird toys at least it is softer should they ingest it when comparing to wood but in foam not sure what in it could be harmful and do more damage than wood or plastic would do.
  13. Yukon78
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    Yukon78 Meeting neighbors

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    I emailed the customer service at Hobby Lobby and this is what they replied:

    Thank you for your inquiry regarding several of our products. Our vendor for the jingle bells and cow bells has advised that the products are made of 96% iron, 4% plating. They don’t specify what the plating is but it is usually nickel plated. To our knowledge these items do not contain zinc.

    Regarding the leather: All leather is “chemically treated”. If it wasn’t, you would have rawhide, not leather. Different chemicals are used to make chrome tanned leather (shoe leather, upholstery leather, garment leather, etc.) than vegetable tanned leather (saddles, belts, holsters, wallets).

    Vegetable tanned items that we carry include leather shapes, rounders, belt blanks, billfold kits, wristbands, knife pouches, etc.- items that can be tooled. Chrome tanned leathers include Softy Kidskin, suede lace, suede trim pieces, deertand trim pieces, and ALL SCRAP BAGS. Basically all leathers that are colored and not the stiff, natural leather are chrome tanned.

    I hope you find this information helpful. Thank you for your continued patronage.
    Best regards,

    Sherri Cain
    Product Quality Specialist
    Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
    405-745-1174
  14. calibird
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    calibird Rollerblading along the road

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    Thank you :heart:
  15. jeanna
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    jeanna Sprinting down the street

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    Why would you have to use glue for PVC?? I built a pretty big play gym using PVC and various connecters - Ts, crosses, 90 angles, etc. If you build it in a way that distributes weight and connecting pvc support each other, It should stay together fine. My gym has never needed to be reconnected or retightened or have anything done to it and my bird is ALL over that thing every day and lots of toys hang from it. The only time I considered using glue was when I considered making a section of it into a built in mist shower where I could connect a hose and have water run through the pipe. But I decided that was too much work. :) So yeah, unless you need to keep water from leaking out of the PVC, I don't see why you'd need glue.
  16. frankensteinflys
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    frankensteinflys Strolling the yard

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    I would stay away from leather (tanning questionable), wood that chips off (swallowing), rawhide chews (tanning, imposible to clean), foam stuff (swallowing), rope and strings (birds can get their claws stuck in the rope and hang themselves), anything that has been dyed. If you have to use wood, dye it yourself in grape juice.

    I just use hard plastic or acryllic toys, or toilet paper rolls.
  17. rikkitikki
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    rikkitikki Biking along the boulevard Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Okay, so I feel like this is a silly question, but...
    It was mentioned that wood should be "untreated." So, here's my question:
    Is pressure treated wood okay? I don't know if they use any chemicals when they pressure treat it, and the reason why I feel kinda silly asking is because it I thought that wood in forms like 2x2 or 2x4, or any kind of planks or what-not was pressure treated. :huh:

    Okay, nm, I think I found the answer. I guess I thought that all lumber was pressure treated... One of those things that made sense as a kid, held over as an adult and never considered any other way (lol, a teacher of mine from middle school admitted that she thought the moon was made of blue cheese through high school! :D)
    Last edited: 12/23/10
  18. gingersnap
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    gingersnap Strolling the yard

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    Eek. I've heard using toilet paper rolls is also a bad thing, because of the glue. In fact, we knew someone who gave rolls of it to her Macaw hatchlings and it ended up poisoning them.

    I came across this online, while I was looking for an answer as to whether the wood I just purchased is untreated. I'm pretty sure it is, I'm just super paranoid :) waiting for a similar email from the same people. :) if it isn't... I'll have to do a sizable return!:huh:

    Good info though! :)
  19. frankensteinflys
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    frankensteinflys Strolling the yard

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    I do not really believe "glue" killed those birds. Some of us have been giving our birds TP rolls for years and years and years with no consequences. I would question if those baby birds were necropsied (???) Baby birds in a nest die for things as simple as the parents not feeding them or the babies not being kept warm. I have been on that side of the fence too..... Although if one feels uncomfortable with any suggestions made is is always wise to use your own gut feelings in that regard too. But I would not be too concerned about TP rolls.
  20. webchirp
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    webchirp Cruising the avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Pressure treated wood is treated and sometimes has more of a green hue to it than non-pressure treated...chemically treated and is toxic. We accidentally mixed some pieces I was keeping with pieces of treated and I just tossed it all. Also be careful with white pvc as it can become brittle over time especially when exposed to sunlight. And for items that can be cleaned and re-used (non-destructible), order the stainless steel stuff. NP rubs off over time.

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