Gift ideas for the parakeet and parakeet parent

The holidays are fast approaching so as a special “cyber Monday” post I wanted to provide a convenient place to find my recommended gifts for parakeets and people owned by parakeets.

The products in this store have all been used in our household and are products I don’t hesitate to recommend.

Click here to access my Amazon Astore & happy shopping!

Snuggle huts – worth the risk to parakeet safety?

In our early days of having Toby I was searching around for toys and perches on Amazon and came across the PREVUE Snuggle Hut Small 7+ACI-. There are a lot of variations on these type of “tent”, some have hard sides covered in fabric, like the snuggle hut, and others have three soft sides, there are different types of fabric and different ways to connect them to your cage. They all follow the same theme of providing a nice snuggly hiding spot for your bird.

Theoretically, this is awesome, parakeets are easily freaked out by a wide array of things so having a safe space that’s soft and dim and cosy is a boon to their feeling of security. Also, snuggle huts are super fun to play on and in; budgies can cling to the sides and top, and play peekaboo on the interior. The fleecy sides can be preened and the thicker sturdier fabric interior can be chewed and pulled.

I purchased one for Toby and installed it in her cage; she was so cute going in and out of the tent and she clearly loved hanging out inside of it. Unfortunately, I noticed she was also wedging herself between the tent and the cage bars, on the sides and on the top of the hut. She was able to get out every time, but I thought of the hours that she spends by himself when we are at work and it just didn’t sit right with me, so I quickly took the snuggle hut back out and stored it away in our toy cabinet.

Afterwards, I started reading up on the dangers of snuggle huts and similar products. Because of parrots propensity to rip and tear any material they will frequently rip open the seams on these tents, and some budgies and larger parrots then wedge themselves inside the walls of the snuggle hut. If the owner is home and can get them out quickly enough this might result in a successful rescue, but there are a lot of cases where a parrot has been seriously injured or died.

Also because of the shredding habits parakeets may end up ingesting fabric while tearing apart their snuggle huts. Ingesting fabric can lead to an impacted crop. Here again you are looking at either a death or in this cage an expensive surgical procedure to remove material from the crop.

Since these tents could be fairly hard to access once in the cage you could have the best intentions to maintain it and make sure there are no holes or loose threads, but it would be very difficult to inspect the entire tent on a daily basis.

Outside of the risks of physical harm, a snuggle hut could also seem like a nesting space to a parakeet, and if you are not trying to breed your birds that’s just a bad idea!

I recently came across our old snuggle hut as I was cleaning out some toys that the parakeets don’t love, so I decided to put it on our play gym for a few days. Of course both Toby and Kelly were immediately infatuated with it – they both spent tons of time crawling in and out of the tent as well as on the outside. They are so stinking cute playing hide and seek that I wish I could put the snuggle hut right back in the cage. Especially for winter, it seems like it could be a nice place for a nap or even night-time sleeping.

For us, though, the risks are too great to outweigh the benefits. If you currently have a snuggle hut or any similar product in your cage, or are thinking about getting one, I strongly encourage you to do some research and read some of the stories of people who lost their parrots to hut-related injuries. In a couple of days I plan to take our snuggle hut down and finally throw it out, in the mean time I’ll certainly make sure they only have supervised play time around it an I’ll inspect for loose threads and dangerous tears after every play session.

The good news is that you can also find budgie-safe huts made out of sea grass or very heavy canvas. Here’s a couple of sea grass huts available at Amazon, the Prevue Pet Products Naturals Sea Grass Bird & Small Animal Snuggle Hut 62811 or the Super Bird Creations Seagrass Tent Toy for Birds.

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holes after just a few hours of play, could easily be widened

A pictorial – things that strike fear in the heart of my parakeet Toby

A sampling of things I have worn, held near, or offered to Toby that have all caused her to lose her mind with fear.

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The back of a DVD
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vibrant red shorts
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This small pouch
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This sequined t-shirt
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fresh watermelon

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Ways to make a little extra scratch

As I’ve mentioned before, the cost of bird-ownership can be pretty high, even for parakeets. The constant stream of toys needed, food, and upgrades to their living conditions add up every month.

I’m sure you really don’t want to get a second job outside of the home, because then you’d be taking away more time that you could be spending with your budgies, and your time is the most important thing you can give them.

I have been working with a few different companies for a long time to make a little extra money from home, it’s never going to amount to much, but for a relatively small time investment it’s been worth it. Also, since my laptop is right next to our bird cage I’m frequently logging time with the parakeet while I’m doing a survey or checking my stats.

Here are the companies that I personally use and recommend.

MySurvey.com – I’ve been a member here for well over 5 years, they are definitely trustworthy. You complete a long initial survey and then they send you invites for surveys you may qualify to participate in.  I’m not sure if this is true of everyone, but I get about 5 survey invites per day, I try to go in once and week and clear them out. It can be frustrating because you will not qualify for most of the surveys you begin, and you get no points if you are screened out. I have been able to do some product testing through this site as well over the years, which I really enjoy. Most recently my household tested toilet paper and paper towels, in the past we’ve done toothpaste, mouthwash and various body products. Those are a nice bonus too, especially if you like the products, 4 free rolls of toilet paper never hurts!  you do have to be comfortable sharing information about yourself such as age, household income and other semi-sensitive data, but this is used in aggregate with other responses and I have never had an issue with personal security due to this site.

Points that are accumulated can be cashed out to choose rewards from an online catalog, or you can cash out to PayPal, a paper check, or Amazon gift certificates. I usually cash out to Amazon since that’s where I buy the bulk of my parakeet supplies, and everything else for my house.

Paidviewpoint.com – (note – this is a referral link) This is a survey site that works a bit differently, there are no terribly long surveys and they pay out even if you don’t qualify for a survey; however, they pay about 1 penny each for qualifying questions and then about 3-4 cents per questions once you’re in a survey. You can cash out to PayPal but only after you accumulate $15, which can take a while. They send out survey invites intermittently, but not reliably, so I recommend visiting once or twice a day to see if any surveys are waiting for you. This is another reputable site that I have been paid by and have had no trouble with.

NCPOnline.com – National Consumer Panel is a Nielsen/IRi Joint Venture – for this site you download an app to your smart phone and then scan every single purchase you make and transmit the data to NCP, earning points each week that you scan. You can also earn points by taking surveys, some are targeted based on your purchases and others are very general. The data you provide is analyzed by NCP and shared with manufacturers and retailers. It is used to shape marketing decisions and has the potential to impact what products are available in stores.

NCP also has sweepstakes for members every week/month/quarter and year, there are cash prizes and some big ticket items. You earn entries by transmitting and you can choose to receive survey entries instead of points for surveys.

For a long time the points you earned on NCP could only be spent on their reward catalog merchandise, and they did not offer many gift card options because they don’t want to influence your spending patterns, which makes sense. Recently they started offering cash outs to Amazon gift cards.

NCP is a little more exclusive than MySurvey or PaidViewPoint, you have to apply to be a panelist, and your acceptance depends on whether they are recruiting in your area. I’ve been a part of the panel for a number of years and even though scanning can be tedious it’s well worth it. Also, I do like thinking that I could influence the marketplace.

So – those are my tips for making a little extra money to support a millet habit! If anyone else has any good sites please feel free to comment.