The story behind the “Cuddle Tube” 2002

If your Cockatoo is anything like mine you already know how much they love to cuddle, and if they had their way they would be content to cuddle with you all day, but we all know that’s just not possible. Like a lot of Toos mine picked at her feathers, so much that her breast and legs were completely bare. A trip to an avian vet and $1000.00 later, “Precious” (my Too), was given a clean bill of health, but I still wondered why she had done this to herself and vowed to do everything I could to help her. I did a lot of research into the lives of Toos, both wild and captive, and I discovered many reasons why a bird may pluck its feathers, ranging from parasites to lack of attention or boredom. Knowing that Precious was healthy and always got plenty of attention I knew that neither of those could be the reason so I kept reading. And then I saw it…stress! Stress for a parrot can be caused by several things, mainly:

•    Sudden Change: a new home, a new cage, moving to a different room, even the simple addition of a new toy. The addition of a new bird in the home can be especially traumatic.

•    Anxiety: Holidays in particular can cause birds a lot of anxiety and stress because they often bring on a dramatic change in their schedule and frightening new things. The bright lights of a Christmas tree and decorations, many people in the home at once, loud noise, and even new smells. Anxiety can also be caused by separation and a lack of security. In the absence of other feathered companions, a birds human companion becomes its flock and are expected to be around all the time. A lone parrot is vulnerable and frightened.

Unable to tell you that they are scared your bird might start telling you indirectly by plucking out any feathers within reach.

After reading all of this I took a long look at her cage, toys and placement of perches and food and thought about her daily life. It was then that I realized Precious was suffering from a lack of security while I was away at work. One day while looking through a bird magazine I saw a tent-like hut that hangs from the top of the cage suspended by 3 elastic straps and hooks. The ad said “All birds need a little privacy to feel secure.” PERFECT! I ordered it and paid somewhere between $15.00 and $20.00 for it. When it arrived I showed it to Precious, she seemed to like the pretty jungle themed colors, I held it up for her and she quickly snuggled inside. I hung it from the top of the inside of her cage and let her explore and get comfortable with it.
It was a good thing that I didn’t work that day because within an hour she had her foot tangled in the elastic straps. After freeing her and removing the tent from the cage I found that not only were the straps a hazard, but there were also loose threads hanging from the areas where she had been chewing on it. These loose threads could have easily gotten tangled around one or more of her toes and had I not been home I hate to think what might have happened. I know most toys can be potentially dangerous with all the chains and hooks, leather straps etc. But I felt that something that a bird is going to snuggle in should be as safe as possible.

The idea in itself was a good one. With all the reading I had been doing I found that cockatoos in the wild nest in hollowed out trees. I don’t believe birds in general were meant to stand on their feet 24/7 so I started to think about what and how I could make a safe area in her cage. What could it be made of? How could it attach? If she decided to chew on it, what material could be used that would be safe, non-toxic, with no thread, no strings, nothing to get wrapped around her neck or her toes. It took me awhile but I think I did it!

I took large cardboard tubes and lined them inside and out with one piece (no sewn seams) of fleece, acrylic or faux fur material. The Cuddle Tube would be suspended from the top of the cage with a large Quick Link affixed to the tube through two small holes in the cardboard and a stainless steel washer. The Cuddle Tube’s are also designed to hang from the top of the cage with the entrance tilted slightly upwards. This is done so that as the bird enters the Cuddle Tube it doesn’t tip and ensures easy entrance into the tube.

Precious has had several Cuddle Tubes over the past 4 years. She sleeps in it every night and takes her naps in it every day. Because of the way it hangs, if she stands on top of it, it teeters to one side so she cannot get wedged between the tube and the cage top. I’m not saying this is a cure all for feather picking but it has helped. I believe she feels more secure in her cage and has an option to get away from it all.

Over the past 2 years I have sold over 300 Cuddle Tubes through my web site, eBay store “Cuddle Tubes for Cockatoos” and various bird fairs. Many people have purchased Cuddle Tubes for their birds, Sun Conures, African Greys, Amazons, Eclectus, Quakers, etc. Cuddle Tubes “They’re not just for Cockatoos anymore”

**Before ordering: Cuddle Tubes were designed for “big” birds please ensure cage will accommodate these sizes, for safety reasons, I cannot accept returns!

2006 CUDDLE TUBE is a registered trademark
U.S. Patent No: D529,237