Jump to content


Member Since 07 Nov 2006
Offline Last Active Nov 12 2007 01:47 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Cages made in China might contain lead!

12 November 2007 - 01:47 PM

Crossposted with permission and request of the author:

Happy Birdy

Facts About Lead In Cage Paint - by Larry Houston

Background Information

There is a bunch of information running about the Internet and some of it is not exactly correct. I am here to clear up the air of confusion.

My name is Larry Houston. I post as Larry, Baby and Me.

I am just a regular guy that tried to find out if my Umbie was safe and free from any toxins in her cage.

On the heels of the Mattel toy recalls and then the Broadbent Sanctuary in Kentucky story - I sent samples of my cage to LADDL for testing. The results came back as 3,200 parts per million for lead.

So - for the past three months I have been working nonstop to research this lead issue and in turn provide others with the most accurate information.

I am not going to go into any details here about the horrible effects that heavy metals can do to a bird. If any of you do not know - then there is plenty of information on the net that you can Google. --- it ain't pretty.

I see posts on a variety of boards discussing this issue. I see some say...

"I have brand X cage - I have "heard" they are okay - so I don't have to worry."

Other posts say...

"My cage is brand Y - and I bought it a long time ago - so I don't have to worry."

"My bird has been in a China made cage for three years and it hasn't had any problems."

You had better add "YET" to the above comment. LEAD CUMULATES IN THE SYSTEM.

Don't fool yourself... If it was made in China - hey - and that is Asia folks....... GET IT TESTED!!!

Can I vouch for the European cages??? I can tell what I do know... Europe has higher quality and safety standards that we do in the good ol' US of A. And - No I haven't had any test results for any European cages. I would like to know what they test as.

Enough of the background information... Here is what you must do:

Send paint scrapings off to the lab that I list here. DO NOT send anything other that paint scrapings. DO NOT send off a part (metal bar or such). ONLY follow the directions that I lay out here.

In your letter to the lab - tell them that the samples are from a bird cage and you want the DIGESTION method performed.

DO NOT send your samples to any other lab. I have some personal and factual background information on that if you care to email me for it.

How much lead is too much in the paint of a bird cage?

Any amount of lead is too much. That amount is not open for debate. Lead is a heavy metal and if ingested can and often times will kill a bird. If the ingested lead does not kill the bird - it will cause serious health problems, including neurological damage and a shortened life.

The maximum level allowed at which the US federal government has set in 1977 for ALL objects inside the home is 600 parts per million. The US government also set the max level for Hazardous Material (HAZ-MAT) at 5,000 ppm. Remember - these are maximum levels for items in the home for "human" contact.

A bird is NOT a human. A bird's system cannot tolerate ANY lead. So - standards within the avian community are set by the consumer as - ZERO toxins in cage paint.

Importers, distributors, and retailers advertise ALL of their cages to be "Toxic Free".

Recent lab results for lead in cage paint that I have been involved with are:


ALL but one of these results exceeds the 600ppm Federal level. And the one is close to that level.

Other cages that were tested housed Tiels and other small birds came back with trace amounts of lead but high in Zinc.

In other words folks ------ there was not one cage that was tested that the results were TOXIC FREE.

Unfortunately - what I have found with most bird owners is apathy. It seems like most folks do not consider this a problem. Very few of the hundreds of bird owners that I have contacted have sent samples off to the lab for testing.

Oh by the way ----- Home Lead Test Kits - don't work. Bottom line - they are a sham and a scam. If you want details on this - please email me.

How To Collect Cage Paint Samples

1. Take a white sheet of “clean” computer paper to collect the sample.

2. Hold the paper under what you will be scraping.

3. Scrape the paint with a single edged razor blade or stainless steel knife (scrape – do not chip).

4. Scrape a sample about the size of a quarter - the size of a half dollar is best.

5. Fold the sample in the paper.

6. Lightly tape the paper shut.

7. Place the paper in a zip-lock plastic baggie.

8. Seal the baggie and place it in a regular envelope for mailing.


If submitting samples from more than one cage - use separate labeled baggies for each paint sample.

a) To avoid confusing which sample belongs to which cage, repeat the above process for “each” cage sample.

B) Clearly mark on the baggie (not on the paper with the sample) the cage to which the sample belongs.

c) Clearly state in the letter to the lab that you want them to indicate on the results report, the cage identification that you wrote on each baggie.

A Sample Letter To The Lab

Today’s Date

Your Full Name
Your Address
City, State, Zip
Your Telephone Number
Your Fax – If appropriate

Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
PO Box 25070
Baton Rouge, LA 70894

Included is a paint sample of a bird cage that I would like you to test for Lead and Zinc using the digestion method.

Also included is a check for $50.00 made out to Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to cover the fees.

Please call me with the test results at the above telephone number, and then mail me the test results at the above address.

Thank you,

Your Full Name

Legal Recourse

Many of you have asked either through posts or by email to me... "My cage tested toxic (even a little lead is toxic to a bird) - I want my money back but where I bought it from... they are giving me the run-around."

My product liability attorneys (yes folks - that is plural) stated --- ALL in the supply chain are EQUALLY responsible... importer, distributor, brick and mortar retailer, and Internet retailer. And please understand - the Internet retailer cannot claim that they never handled the product because it was dropped shipped to you by the importer/distributor. Tell them - it is the United States Federal law that all in the supply chain are EQUALLY responsible. You do deserve your money back from where you bought your cage.

Additionally... Nothing I have said here is untrue or slanderous. I have not mentioned any importer, distributor, retailer, or Internet retailer in this message. So - for anyone that may wish to take legal action against me for telling the truth since I have not implicated any one or any company by name... you can contact my team of product liability attorneys. I will be happy to give you the firm's address. So I will tell you what my attorneys have told me to pass on to you... If you contact me in any negative way - either by email, posts, telephone, or letter... I will consider that harassment and a violation of my constitutional right to FREE SPEECH and you will be handled accordingly. I did not get to be the age I am by being stupid.

In Conclusion

In this time in the history of keeping companion parrots - we have a disaster on our hands. If you think this issue is important - then please do not delay - get your cage tested.

If you think this issue is really important - pass this on to as many people as you can. Do not be shy - your bird's health and your friend's bird's health is at stake.

If you run up into ones - either by posting or by email - that try to throw a curve at you (monkey wrench into the mix) then consider them as suspect and they most likely have other motives other than keeping our birds safe. I do know what I am talking about on this.

Do not delay - do what is right.

Larry, Baby and Me

Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible, forever,
for what you have tamed.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In Topic: Has anyone used this medication for their bird?

13 October 2007 - 10:48 PM

I'm sorry to hear he's still suffering with this. Haloperidol is an extremely serious medication. For psychosis.

Is this an avian vet? Exactly what tests were done?

Here's a link on the med it's nothing like Prosac either, it's much more severe:

MedlinePlus Drug Information: Haloperidol Oral

I can see PERHAPS making a mistake about the mites OR he still may have them but the scrapings arent showing them. This is not uncommon in demodex. But so many OTHER things could be the problem.

But there's no sense guessing since nobody knows whats' been ruled in or out by tests sent to a lab.

Also about your environment. It could be simple like from a new air cleaner, to new carpet, to something in the air, to water, to food, lifestyle change, to not enough sleep ...a miriad of things, sorry.

The flagyl kills specific bacteria and not just giardia. But again you need a culture to show up some bacteria to be sure....

There are four "classes" of antibiotics if they are going to guess at the dx without tests then they need to cycle through all four, imo....

I'd definitely get a second opinion by an avian vet. And I'd ask to stop the Haldol but not suddenly. You probably have to wean him off slowly in a specific way.

I had a brother in law on Haloperidol. He was like a zombie on it. But he didnt throw furniture around like when he was off it. Very tough.

In Topic: Major Feather Loss Only Getting Worse

27 August 2007 - 12:29 AM

P in PBFD stands for Psittacine canaries get a different thing.

Not all antibiotics work on all bacteria. That's why a culture was so important in this case. Baytril is famous for a good reaction in 48 hours or so that singing is an excellent sign. Totally finish that round in full. Make sure he is actually consuming it.

Dont worry about the feathers they'll come back. But I'd keep him warm like you would imagine he needs some help there since he's naked and losing body heat. Ask your vet what temp. I say 80 in half the cage in a sick bird but double check. You can put a reptile heat bulb with no light it's ceramic....in a SAFE clamp light but they are dangerous if they lay on anything that can set on fire. A low heat pad hanging on the side perhaps where he can lean on it or on the bottom if he's spending time there still. And I would wait on any other testing. Unless he gets worse and let your vet decide.

In Topic: It's not quite doing the trick

27 August 2007 - 12:17 AM

It's not breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere it's molting season. So you need to condition the birds ahead of time then all winter long and see if THEY are interested in breeding season. More like Spring 09 would be a reasonable time. If this hen was ill you DEFINITELY should not even encourage anthing like breeding. The stress can kill her and so can mate aggression.

And the male will want to take the hen into the box. If he's afraid then he's not ready. He knows she's not in condition too.

In Topic: Dog Food?

23 August 2007 - 04:43 AM

I agree they don't do well with alot of protein per Laurella Desborough. And the dog food has alot of stuff in it by itself. I'd probably change foods. If you google Laurella she has a site where I seem to remember she discusses diet alot. I read her on another board she's very experienced and knowledgable. And I think she's still on the board of the AFA.