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Metal Toxicity In Toy Parts

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Saemma

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Thanks for all of this useful info everybirdie!!:)
 

birdsafe

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I know the tests you are talking about and frankly I question them, as a person who was responsible for collecting the information was passing bad info about some cages (this person personally accused our store of selling a bad cage, when in fact it wasn't the model they were referring to) -- I tested personally two HQ cages and they came out with excellent results. I've heard of test results from a source I do trust that tested a King Cage that was very high for zinc (but to their credit, they did take the cage back).

My only point is that there were a few "bad apples" that came through, and there are importers who will bring in "imposter" cages to save money even without the distributor's knowledge (I saw this first hand from someone I knew who showed me pictures of a cage that had an HQ nametag, but the configuration of the cage was not any HQ cage that had been made). But there hasn't been any one cage line that has tested inconsistently bad.
 

lotus15

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I don't doubt at all that a lot of the cages test well, even a majority, but from what my friends have learned, the key is that they're (HQ at least) inconsistent. I'm sure a lot of people will bring in impostor cages just to get money out of companies but these were people I know, testing the cages they had bought themselves directly from the companies or from legitimate cage retailers. No agenda or money-seeking purpose, just trying to figure out if their cages were safe or not.
 

saroj12

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Personally I do not use any products with galvanized zinc hardware. Nickel plated is acceptable, stainless steel preferable :)
 

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Deb, I would like to thank you for trying to clear this issue up but I would still like to ask you for one more thing. If you truly feel that this electro-galvanized zinc is safe, state on the toys that you use this wire on that this is what the wire is. This way, the customer can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to take the chance.

Personally, I don't want to take that chance and it would be nice to know before I make the purchase. I just got back from the vet today and we had a discussion about zinc. While Dr. Chistoph Mans (who has studied under Dr. Brian Speers) believes that zinc toxicity in birds is not a big problem and is over treated, he does not think that we should give our birds toys that have zinc parts on them, electroplated or otherwise.

We could argue about this all day long and every vet could have a different opinion. But it would be absolutely fantastic, Deb, if you would give your customers the chance to make their own decision by letting them know what the product is made of.

Thanks,
 

Birdiemarie

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Deb, I would like to thank you for trying to clear this issue up but I would still like to ask you for one more thing. If you truly feel that this electro-galvanized zinc is safe, state on the toys that you use this wire on that this is what the wire is. This way, the customer can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to take the chance.

Personally, I don't want to take that chance and it would be nice to know before I make the purchase. I just got back from the vet today and we had a discussion about zinc. While Dr. Chistoph Mans (who has studied under Dr. Brian Speers) believes that zinc toxicity in birds is not a big problem and is over treated, he does not think that we should give our birds toys that have zinc parts on them, electroplated or otherwise.

We could argue about this all day long and every vet could have a different opinion. But it would be absolutely fantastic, Deb, if you would give your customers the chance to make their own decision by letting them know what the product is made of.

Thanks,
I agree 100%. The customers should have all the information so we can make informed decisions. I know I would rather do business with companies that were up-front with their customers. Even if I decided not to buy a certain product I did not feel comfortable with I would buy other products from them because I would value the ethics of a company that was open with their info.
 

saroj12

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The difference between electroplated zinc and galvanized zinc.....

Electroplated zinc is mirror like and shiny.
The first pic is an electroplated nut in a Wayne's gym. See the reflection of my finger. I do allow this in my bird room but I watch the birds like a hawk when they get on it.

electroplatedzinc.JPG

The second picture is galvanized zinc wire. It is dull and not shiny.

superbirdcreationsBalsaMunch.JPG

I do not use this toy anymore.
 

birdsafe

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Saroj -- good pics. I for one would feel safe with that hardware, unless the bird was chewing on that bolt consistently, then I don't care what kind of zinc it is, it could easily be replaced with stainless at a very low cost. I do not believe that it matters what kind of zinc it is, if a bird is chewing on it, it's not good.

Are you sure that wire is not stainless in the second picture? A lot of toy makers use stainless steel wire -- and it is very dull looking, and as I said before, it can be magnetic. Unless you were told by the toy maker that it was in fact zinc wire, the only way you could tell for sure woudl be to have it sent to a lab for testing.
 

saroj12

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Saroj -- good pics. I for one would feel safe with that hardware, unless the bird was chewing on that bolt consistently, then I don't care what kind of zinc it is, it could easily be replaced with stainless at a very low cost. I do not believe that it matters what kind of zinc it is, if a bird is chewing on it, it's not good.
Are you sure that wire is not stainless in the second picture? A lot of toy makers use stainless steel wire -- and it is very dull looking, and as I said before, it can be magnetic. Unless you were told by the toy maker that it was in fact zinc wire, the only way you could tell for sure woudl be to have it sent to a lab for testing.
thanks Joe :)
The toy in the second picture is a Superbird Creations toy and as Deb posted yesterday, all the wire in their toys is galvanized zinc. So most certainly not ss. i would gladly pay a few $ extra for that toy made with ss wire as it is one my cockatiel likes a lot. For all these years I assumed it was aluminum and must have bought it a dozen times, so I was quite dismayed this week to learn it is galvanized zinc. And so now I also realize all my boings except for the MP ss ones, are made with galvanized wire not aluminum as I comfortably deluded myself :(
 

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The zinc wire is very dull, where SS wire does have a bit of sheen to it. You can very easily test for zinc with a small amount of muriatic acid. This is how I originally realized that SuperBird was using zinc on their toys. I had gotten one in my Secret Santa stash and before I gave it to my birds, I tested it. It smoked and turned black in seconds. I have SS wire here because of my business but that stuff is not easily found at hardware stores and sometimes not even online at a decent price. There was another store that I had bought a boing at a while back and I was very bummed when I found out that the core was zinc...right in the trash. I can't remember that online store. Muriatic acid comes in very handy if you shop a lot of these online stores.
 

saroj12

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The zinc wire is very dull, where SS wire does have a bit of sheen to it. You can very easily test for zinc with a small amount of muriatic acid. This is how I originally realized that SuperBird was using zinc on their toys. I had gotten one in my Secret Santa stash and before I gave it to my birds, I tested it. It smoked and turned black in seconds. I have SS wire here because of my business but that stuff is not easily found at hardware stores and sometimes not even online at a decent price. There was another store that I had bought a boing at a while back and I was very bummed when I found out that the core was zinc...right in the trash. I can't remember that online store. Muriatic acid comes in very handy if you shop a lot of these online stores.
Good info Jen, thanks!
Here is an old article I ran into about zinc and testing and such..

Testing for Zinc in Parrot Toys
 

birdsafe

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I will point out again that not all stainless is nonmagnetic, so that test is not always accurate.

I will also point out that the article posted recommends using cable ties. You should be aware that cable ties are made with industrial grade plastics, which contain petroleum products, so if your birds tend to chew on those at all, they can be as or more dangerous than zinc hardware! We do use them in travel cages to hold the tops and sides together so they don't come apart, but never let birds chew on them.
 

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Ed does say in that article that not all SS parts are going to be non-magnetic:

" Stainless steel is not magnetic, so if the metal part does not stick to magnet, the odds are very good that the part is stainless steel and is completely safe for your bird. Note, however, that some lower grades of stainless steel are slightly magnetic. They will be attracted to a magnet but not at all like a regular steel part."
 

calibird

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Yes I still carry jumbo stainless steel pear links. I also carry stainless steel wire, o-rings and screw eyes. I will be looking into other stainless steel products in the future.
If it's the pear-style in particular you are looking for, I'm pretty sure Ann at cabirdnerds.com sells Jumbo SS Pear Links!
 

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I have found my long lost hardware supplier...he had a back injury, back surgery, his wife died of breast cancer and his house burnt down...poor dude...but am getting ready to place an order this evening for making bird toys again. When I checked on the prices for SS, I quickly remembered why I chose to go with NP in the beginning though it was requested of me from a member of AA this morning to create some cholla perches with SS, which I can do and luckily already have the hardware for them...somewhere.
But I did remember seeing this thread yesterday and came here hoping in kind of an expecting way to find an answer to my question...do I use the NP chain, bells, quicklinks, pearlinks, o-rings etc that I already have a supply of and have used in the past on all of our hanging toys or SS? I think I have decided to purchase the SS and offer the option to the customer.
 

lotus15

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Barbi, I think that's a great choice :) I always appreciate it when given the option. I think a lot of people with smaller birds or non-chewers might go for the NP, but with a very destructive bird, it is always very comforting to have SS as an option!
 

Jan

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I have found my long lost hardware supplier...he had a back injury, back surgery, his wife died of breast cancer and his house burnt down...poor dude...but am getting ready to place an order this evening for making bird toys again. When I checked on the prices for SS, I quickly remembered why I chose to go with NP in the beginning though it was requested of me from a member of AA this morning to create some cholla perches with SS, which I can do and luckily already have the hardware for them...somewhere.
But I did remember seeing this thread yesterday and came here hoping in kind of an expecting way to find an answer to my question...do I use the NP chain, bells, quicklinks, pearlinks, o-rings etc that I already have a supply of and have used in the past on all of our hanging toys or SS? I think I have decided to purchase the SS and offer the option to the customer.
That's what I do with the sales of my Jolly Balls, I have two options for the hardware for the customer to select ... one is nickel plated or stainless steel. Surprisingly enough, many of them do choose the stainless steel over the nickel plated. Eventually as I run out of nickel plated items I will transition into the stainless steel only. It certainly is very pricey and it is hard to swallow that higher price but at least it will out last with no problem as to where the nickel plated will rust. I am not even considered in a moist climate and my nickel plated hardware on my bird toys out in my aviary rust within the year, so it has to be changed out now and then but for them too I will just start using the stainless steel as well.
 

saroj12

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i did some research :D

roudybush'es response to my query about the safety of galvanized zinc
dear saroj,
thank you for contacting us. I apologize mr. Roudybush cannot respond directly but i did want to make sure you received the answers you were looking for. There are 2 methods of galvanizing steel – ‘hot-dip’ and electroplating. ‘hot-dip’ is considered unsafe because birds that chew on ‘hot-dipped’ wire readily ingest zink which can cause toxicity. Electroplating is considered safer unless birds are really actively chewing these parts or ingesting them as a whole because the zink coating made in the electroplating process doesn’t come off of the toys readily like it does in ‘hot-dip’ galvanized steel. The post by deb white, super bird creations, is something i would support, that is to say her information is good. The only point i would make is that if you are concerned about zink toxicity especially in a bird who is prone to illness or has had metal toxicities before is don’t rely on what the metal looks like to determine its safety. Ask the manufacturer of the toy what type of metal is used and only buy toys from reputable manufacturers. If a bird owner is ever unsure of the safety of a toy simply don’t use it or replace any questionable parts with safe parts; remove metals you don’t know about and put on stainless steel parts or use safe rope products.

if there is anything else we can help with please do not hesitate to call or email. We are always here to help.

thank you again,


stephanie a. Phillips
roudybush, inc.
office: 800-326-1726 x205
fax: 888-276-8222
sphillips@roudybush.com
Word from Dr. Larry Nemetz's clinic in CA. Donna is Dr. Nemetz's close associate

Ok, now I forgot the original question. Was it "does Dr. Nemetz endorse zinc
toys?" First of all, Dr. Nemetz does not endorse any particular products. He
is a veterinarian and is always happy to discuss the appropriateness of a
particular toy for a particular bird with a client.

I agree with that position, and attempt to do the same thing in our store. I
do carry some of Superbird's smaller toys with the galvanized wires, which I
believe are fine when used for the birds they are intended for. If a
Superbird #421 Mini Stars and Balls is used for a parakeet until the palm is
shredded, it is perfectly safe. If someone is trying to save money and gives
that toy to a severe macaw, that is an inappropriate use of a toy and I
would not trust it.

As you are well aware, I carry a huge selection of toys with refillable
kabobs made of stainless steel (and actually lots of those are made by
Superbird as well). Those toys cost more initially, but are safe for the
larger birds, and because they are refillable, end up being more economical
in the long run anyway.

When people are not sure what is safe, they should seek the guidance of
someone with years of experience with birds, whether in a store or online,
or better yet their veterinarian, and always opt for the "safer" material
(stainless steel). I know it's self-serving, since I have a store, but I
think it is very valuable if people can find a trusted place where they can
go and get advice that they can trust, and get recommendations specifically
for their bird instead of ordering blindly.

As for the comments that zinc and lead poisoning are "overtreated" and
"hype", that is dangerous thinking. I have assisted on dozens of surgeries
and seen swaroski crystals/phone bling, lead curtain weights, paint from
powder coated cages, tiffany lamp parts, and more things than I can list
taken out..and birds that could subsequently walk/breathe/digest food again
or stop months of feather picking. On Saturday we had a cockatiel that came
in gasping for air, on the bottom of the cage, that X-rays showed had a
glowing piece of metal in his crop. Luckily, that was easy to get out, and
it was a tiny fleck from a cheap toy that the owner brought in. I love
online groups, I have received much guidance for my lymphoma kitty, but
please remind the group that their vet is the only one that can diagnose
their bird properly.
Donna

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Third I talked to Dr. Burkett on the phone. He said if the bird has been chewing on galvanized zinc wire it should be tested for zinc levels.
 

jmfleish

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Very interesting information Saroj!:) It seems to me that your best course of action would be to stay away from galvanized zinc altogether, no?
 

saroj12

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Very interesting information Saroj!:) It seems to me that your best course of action would be to stay away from galvanized zinc altogether, no?
most certainly!!:D
 
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