Parrot Enrichment

Q: Are Egg Cartons and Toilet Paper Rolls safe to use in parrot toys?

A: Concerns here are that egg cartons and toilet paper rolls might cause salmonella infection. A recent search of the internet asking if these materials were safe to use in craft projects resulted in no clear answer I could give you that states unequivocally they are safe. One site indicated egg cartons are safe to use in children's craft projects another recommended not repurposing egg cartons. However, an internet search will reveal the re-use of egg cartons for children's craft projects is encouraged and widely promoted. Children are notorious for putting their hands in their mouths and have used egg cartons for decades without contracting salmonella infections from doing so; which makes me think egg cartons are not all that dangerous.

My answer here is I believe egg cartons and toilet paper rolls are safe to use in parrot toys. Can I back that up with a source document stating that fact? No. Can I back it up with experience of using the items with my own parrots in excess of 10 years, without resulting infection and illness? Yes. And I know using egg cartons and toilet rolls as enrichment items for parrots is a common practice among many parrot owners. I have never known of a single parrot that contracted salmonella poisoning from an egg carton or toilet paper roll. If there is a chance that your parrot has a compromised immune system, egg cartons should not be re-used. If there is evidence of broken egg remnants on the egg carton then it should not be re-used. But if the egg cartons and toilet paper rolls look clean there is no reason I see why they should not be used.

Ultimately this is a question of assessing risk and then deciding as individuals how much risk is tolerable. For those of you who believe the risk is to high, there are several online sources that sell unused egg cartons which would be risk free. 

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