Bird Injured by Happy Hut: An Owner Reports an Incident

A Happy Hut is a small tent-like item that is hung by two quick-links from the top of the cage. Birds sleep in them and sometimes sit on top of the hut. They are made of a soft material. There are a number of similar sleeping huts that are marketed under different brand names.
(Arizona Parrots discourages the use of this product.)

I received a very sad e-mail today from a woman whose African Grey parrot had one of these Happy Huts and went through a terrible ordeal. Here is her story:

“My 1-1/2 year old Timneh grey has always slept on top of a happy hut; it gave him better balance. Yesterday morning, I found him hanging upside down with his foot twisted in threads from this item, an item so new it hadn’t even been washed yet. In attempting to free himself before I found him at 7AM, he had chewed off a large portion of his foot and two toes. He spent 2 hours in surgery and required 50 stitches to have his foot repaired as well as possible. We won’t know for some time if the remaining toe and the remnants of one other toe will survive. Needless to say, I will never use this product again.”

This terrible incident reminds us that sometimes toys and items specifically made for birds can still be dangerous under certain circumstances. Loose threads are a major hazard. This is the second serious incident with a bird and a HAPPY HUT that has been related to me. In the first incident, the bird had chewed a hole inside the hut through the floor. The bird eventually got its head stuck in this hole and was strangled.

While many people have used these huts without incident, it is important to take a close look at how your bird interacts with it or any other toy. If the bird is eating the material, remove it immediately, as this fluff can cause obstructions that can result in the death of the bird. Inspect the hut on a weekly basis to check for loose strings or holes that may be inside where you would not normally see them. Remember that even a tiny loose string, if caught around a bird’s toenail, can be pulled into a longer thread that can seriously injure your bird. Birds panic when caught in this manner and can harm themselves seriously while trying to get loose. It is not uncommon for a bird or its mate to chew the toes off to free it from the trap. If you see ever your bird with a toenail trapped or somehow entangled in the item, remove the item from the cage. They could get entangled again when you are not there to rescue them.