Several years ago, one of our parent birds was diagnosed with toxic metal poisoning. When we examined his cage, we discovered that the toxic metal was on the only commercially made toy he had been given. Fortunately, our parrot recovered. In fact, he has become a very busy parent, having fathered all our Blue Headed Pionus babies. However, on that day, we became acutely aware of the number of unsafe toys on the market. We began making our own toys. All components used are safe.
All of the people in our family make toys. Periodically, we bring out the toy parts, sit around our big dining room table and impersonate elves at Santa's birdie workshop.
Each and every toy we make is unique. It's not because we're creative geniuses. It's because we can't remember what we did yesterday! All of us are hopelessly right brained, silly people, who exhibit symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, in varying degrees. A.D.D. folks are easily bored. The truth? Even if we could remember a toy we made yesterday, we probably wouldn't make it again. :-)
What matters is that our toys are colorful, entertaining for our parrot family, and safe. We use 100% cotton rope, which is cut short, so that Tweety's toes won't get caught. Our sisal rope is dyed with human grade food coloring. Our cocoanut shells are sterilized. Our leather pieces are vegetable tanned. Stainless steel is the only metal we use.
The toys pictured on this page are ones we had available when I designed the web page. Today, there are other toys. To see them, you'll have to send me a post that says, "Hey Julie, you right brained weirdo, send me pictures of the toys you have today."
Our toys aren't gorgeous. Commercial toys are more "people friendly". However, our toys are "bird friendly". Our prices are "people friendly" - from $5 to $20 - most around $10 to $12.
We've often asked ourselves, "Why do we keep making toys?" Are we stupid or something?" (It's a rhetorical question. Please don't feel compelled to provide an answer.) Given the time it takes to dye the wood, gather the components, do the Santa's workshop scene and the clean-up, we figure we're clearing 75 cents an hour... easy.
It must have something to do with our experience at bird fairs. People usually pass us by. As I've often said, "Why should they buy safe toys, when they can get toxic toys for twice the price?"
Still, once in a while, customers surprise us by stopping at our booth. First, they notice that we don't have our babies with us. They lean across the table and whisper, "Do you leave your babies at home on purpose?" We whisper back, "Yes." Then, they notice the toys. Again, they whisper, "Do you make toys because you worry about the metal?" Again, we whisper, "Yes."
It must be the whispers that cause us to make toys. It certainly isn't common sense. I think we'll keep doing it until we, and our toy customers, are able to talk out loud.
We also sell bird safe City Scene toys. They are made here in Michigan, by people who are much more talented than the folks at Feffie's Feathers. City Scene toys come in delightful, whimsical shapes, with bright, parrot-appealing colors.