UPDATE (August 2009): As much as I’m a fan of Wayne’s bottle brush gyms, I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about deteriorating service in terms of orders getting fulfilled in a reasonable timeframe (when you order through his website). This makes me very sad because I love the gyms, but I don’t want people placing an order on my recommendation and then end up not getting what they paid for. You may want to buy from a distributor like The Golden Cockatoo or The Platinum Parrot, which may provide more reliable service. I’ve never ordered from them so I can’t vouch for their reliability, however. Caveat emptor.
One of the best investments I’ve ever made was a bottlebrush gym from Wayne’s Parrot Stuff. The website, to be really honest, is atrocious, even by 1997 standards. Sorry. But, and this is a big BUT… The parrot play gyms he sells on that site are absolutely superior. Wayne clearly spends more time hand-crafting his parrot play stands than he does thinking about websites.
The picture on the left is from when I unpacked and assembled it months ago. At this point it’s covered in toys. Sorry for the terrible white balance – for reference, that tray is made of formica manufactured to look like wood and it exactly matches my “birch effect” Ikea furniture! Wayne has some other faux-wood and solid-color finishes to suit most design aesthetics.
I Needed Convincing: Why Buy Another Gym?
I’ll admit that I was really skeptical about his claims. He made it sound like gyms made out of bottle brush wood were the answer to everything. Having heard quite a few good things, I decided to contact him.
I explained that Stewie has a gym that he doesn’t really use. At the time, Stewie wasn’t flighted, so he’d stay there if I put him on it. And he’d climb to the top if he was looking for a safer/higher place and it was close by. But he didn’t play on it.
Wayne assured me that this is a problem with conventional playstands but not bottlebrush parrot gyms because the wood is softer and has lots of texture. The reason parrots don’t use most play stands fully is that they don’t feel very secure, their footing unsure on the slippery perches.
Hmm, was I really going to spend a couple hundred dollars only to end up having Stewie sit on one branch like a lump on a log? I thought I’d take that chance (nothing’s too good for my little Stu-monster).
Stewie’s Reaction to the Play Stand
Stewie being the scaredy bird that he is first looked at that contraption with suspicion, but he didn’t freak out as he was prone to doing. (You’d have thought he was an African Grey or something, with those phobias.) I used a Nutriberry to lure him on
… and it was love!
Remember those happy conure noises I wrote about earlier — the “eeeeh of glee” in particular? He makes those all the time now while chewing on the bottle brush.
I won’t go on about the various attributes of Wayne’s bottlebrush gyms, since you can go read about that on his website. Suffice it to say that Stewie really likes his – surprising because he’s not the kind to go gah-gah over anything. Everything Wayne told me about the benefits of bottlebrush was true.
Now that Stewie is flighted, he pretty much flies to the play gym as soon as I let him out, going back to the cage only to get a drink of water.
My only minor critique would be that the branches extend all the way to the edge of the platform, which means that when Stewie is sitting on the edge of a branch anything (everything) he drops lands on the floor not in the tray. It’s a trade off, though. If the branches were shorter there would be less usable space to climb on; if the platform/tray were bigger the play stand would take up more space.
Really, I’m Just a Happy Customer. Honest!
Any biases or special interest you need to know about that may have influence this review? Nope, I’m not an affiliate of Wayne’s Parrot Stuff; I don’t benefit in any way if he ever sells anything else. I gave his products a shot because I heard good things from other bird owners and now I’m doing my part to spread the word about his very cool parrot stands. This is just an example of genuine word of mouth marketing in practice.
I’ll post some more pictures of the stand — all decked out in toys and with a birdie playing on it — when I get a chance.
Visit The Golden Cockatoo to purchase one of Wayne’s creations.
Update #4 (November 2009): I’m closing comments on this post. It’s great to have a discussion about options, but I don’t want to host an on-going thread about complaints that don’t actually help anyone. This isn’t the BBB and I don’t want to open myself up any liability if the comments wander into libel territory. It’s getting too hard to make the judgment calls on what gets to stays and what needs to be left off. Sorry. I’m sorry people are having problems with this vendor.