I am going to live off the land. Yesterday I finished building a chicken coop with scrap wood I have found at my new house. I also added window shutters, chicken wire, washers and screws to add pizazz. Upcycling, according to Wikipedia, is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value and I love the idea. In addition to upcycling a chicken coop I have also made a compost bin and two raised garden beds from materials that what would have been trash.
As pet and bird lovers we should be cognizant of our ecological footprint. Recently at work I came across a bird enrichment company that has the same philosophy. They make earth-friendly toys by using materials that are stimulating for birds and small animals but are sustainable for the environment and, as a bonus, provide a livelihood for the producers of the toys.
Planet Pleasures is based in Los Angeles, California and sells their products worldwide. The toys themselves are made in Asia through a certified Fair Trade cooperative. Planet Pleasure says that they support more than 400 families who weave the products by hand. Since it is through a Fair Trade cooperative, everyone involved in the project is paid a fair wage.
Videos on their website show locals sitting outside, weaving, very quickly, various types of palm leaf and coconut fibers into colorful natural bird toys. The workers, ranging in ages, laugh as they intertwine the materials on a hot tropical day with chickens clucking in the near distance.
The company also boasts having implemented “Master Craftsman” awards to recognize those who stand out in their talent and dedication and hold annual toy contests with awards to stimulate their creativity. They have also set up college scholarships funds to enable those with outstanding ability to go to a university.
I have seen and given out their enrichment many times but was not familiar with their company. There toys can be seen in many feed and pet stores. They have a very popular line of “Shredder” and Parrot Piñata” toys that have been around for awhile.
Cockatoo with a Planet Pleasure foot toy.
Planet Pleasure History
The company was founded on November 15, 1997. Owner, David Faivus, grew tired of selling Asian antiques. “I also wanted to create something eco-friendly, utilizing the many natural materials I encountered in my travels. Then one day, my umbrella cockatoo Sydney began chewing up the woven palm leaf ribbon I was using to wrap a gift, and just like that, Planet Pleasures was born.
The shredders consist of woven palm leaves that almost resemble Chinese finger traps, which range in color, width and length. You can wrap perches with this enrichment, adjoin it to toys to add interest or cut them into foot toys. My favorite is to tie them onto the enclosures bars for the birds to slowly remove. The piñatas, advertised especially for feather pickers, are also made of woven palm leaves with natural fibers inside to give them a soft squeezable quality.
Other fun toys are colorful “Bird bells,” which contain no bells at all, but rather dyed coconut fiber. There are also “Diamond Bouncers,” which resemble hanging jellyfish made out of diamond shaped leaves. Other earth-friendly materials that the company uses include bamboo, cuttle bone and oyster shells.
“Bamboozlers,” which are as fun to play with as they are to say, also come in a variety of shapes and colors. These bamboo-based creations are thick and clunky and keep my Moluccan cockatoo, Buddy, and many of the macaws that I work with busy for awhile. Their tag line of “durability and destructibility” has never been truer. Toys that do not have the ability to give a bird the satisfaction of destroying it often times quickly leave the bird bored and looking for something else.
Learn more about Planet Pleasures at their website here.