Many people who have pet birds including budgies, lovebirds, cockatiels, canaries, etc, find very creative uses for toilet paper rolls in their bird cages, Many times without knowing the negative consequences that this could cause.
The use of toilet paper in bird cages has different utilities, being used as entertainment for the birds (birds like to nibble).
Others use it as a substrate for the bottom of the cage, while others use the cardboard tube of the paper roll as a support base for the birds in the cage.
The thing about toilet paper and leftover toilet paper tubes is that they are a super economical solution since they are practically recyclable, and besides, birds love to play with things they can tear up.
With this topic I do not seek to demonize this type of practice, since in reality many people are accustomed to use toilet paper or the remaining cardboard tubes of paper in the cages of their birds and have never had any problems.
But really, there are components that can be dangerous, after all the decision to use toilet paper is subjective, although with proper knowledge you can avoid many inconveniences.
I share with you 3 reasons why using toilet paper in your birds’ cage could be dangerous for your pet bird.
1-Adhesive used on cardboard tubes
I would say that this is the most relevant component of this issue as to whether the use of toilet paper could be dangerous for use in poultry cages.
One of the most commonly used components as a recycling element is the cardboard tubes left over from the toilet paper, and although cardboard in itself is not a harmful element for birds.
These tubes usually contain a glue or adhesive that may contain substances harmful to birds, which may not have an immediate effect, but could act as a kind of “time bomb”.
Birds by themselves are quite tolerant and resistant, but a periodical and constant exposure to a toxic agent will eventually be reflected in a deterioration of their plumage and general physical health.
There is also the possibility that not all adhesives used in toilet paper tubes contain the same components, it is possible that not all of them contain harmful substances, but how can this be known? Toilet paper rolls do not include a list of all the materials from which they are made.
2-May be contaminated with zinc
Cellular fiber composites, such as kitchen towels, paper and cardboard, are manufactured with glue or/and treated in another way.
For some products (especially kitchen rolls, e.g. toilet paper) recycled paper is also used, which can hardly be said to contain harmful substances.
Mineral oils have also been found in the outer packaging of food products, which found their way into the carton through recycling and finally into the food through the carton.
There is a possibility that this cardboard is contaminated with zinc in many cases. If researched much further, even more things will surely be found that are not exactly beneficial to your bird’s health.
Generally, conventional toilet paper goes through a bleaching process in its production where the main component used is chlorine. Chlorine contains other by-products such as dioxin, which is toxic and can be very harmful to birds and any living being.
Although many brands nowadays do not use chlorine in bleaching toilet paper, you should make sure that the paper says “bleached without chlorine”.
In any case, you should keep in mind that if the toilet paper packaging says something like “bleached without chlorine”, this information only applies to the toilet paper itself, but not necessarily to the roll it is rolled on.
In short, are toilet paper rolls harmful for birds?
After all that has been described and in spite of having valid arguments of toxic substances found in toilet paper rolls, it is still a subject where subjective opinion is the predominant one.
Using toilet paper rolls will not affect your bird immediately, not even visibly, remember that birds have a very strong immune system, and can withstand diseases to the point that when they are detected it is already too late.
By this I am not saying that it is totally safe to use paper rolls, simply, if you expose your birds too often to toxic substances over time this will inevitably affect them.
Many inexperienced bird breeders are often surprised because their bird “died suddenly”, birds do not die suddenly, in most cases the deaths occur due to inattention and carelessness of the caretakers themselves.
It is not easy to detect when a bird is in a process of disease or intoxication by any substance, until it is too late, and if it is the case of toxic substances that accumulate slowly, it is almost impossible to detect.
It can only be prevented from the beginning by not exposing the bird to so many toxic substances that can enter directly into its organism.
Sometimes it may not be possible to protect it from so many things, but the more awareness you have about items that appear to be safe and may actually be toxic, the more likely you are to give your bird a long life.