Shiny Zinc Galvanized Chain or Duller SafetyChain™?
It does not take much research to find articles that discuss the potential risk of using galvanized chain in bird products. Galvanizing chain provides a shiny, glossy finish that also protects against rust. It is also the cheap industry standard for machine straight link chain – so virtually all shiny chain you see from playgrounds to trailers are galvanized.
The key issue in using galvanized chain with birds is that the zinc coating used to protect and make the chain shiny, is brittle and toxic to birds in high concentrations. As a result, most articles regarding galvanized chain recommend not using it for pet birds. The main two other options are nickel plating or bright (unfinished/non-galvanized). Nickel is mainly used in curb chain, for jewelry applications. The bright chain has limited applications given its more dull finish potential to rust in an exterior application.
As a bird product manufacturer, this presents a dilemma; use the readily available, shiny and cheaper zinc galvanized chain, or go with a “duller” looking chain. Will owners choose the bright shiny chain product or the potentially safer but also less flashy bright finish chain product? Well, we will soon find out.
After an exhaustive search of US chain suppliers, we have not been able to find anyone who supplies a non-galvanized nickel coated straight link chain. Nickel is readily available in curb chain, and we use that for smaller bird products. But for larger birds where beak strength is a consideration, we are now moving to a bright finish chain. We are calling it SafetyChain™ for two reasons. First it is verified non-galvanized (ie..no zinc); and second, it has smaller loops than standard straight link chain. Birds can still grip the chain, but smaller loops can prevent feet or nail entanglement. While the SafetyChain™ loops are smaller, it uses the same wire dimension as the corresponding straight loop chain. That means, it is rated to hold 215 lbs, so you could most likely swing with your bird! No, don’t try it!
So here is what we are doing. All our swing products for medium to large birds will be made with SafetyChain™. The chain is hand washed prior to ensure it is as clean as possible prior to being added to any product. It will not be as shiny as the zinc chains, but it does not have any of the potential zinc risks.
Time will tell if bird owners will value the safety over the glossy appearance. If we can find a nickel chain version of this chain – that we can verify is not zinc we will consider using it. But we are committed to doing everything we can to provide the industry standard in safe bird products. For now, that requires us to be a little “dull”.
What do you think?