Information presented on the RAPP Support pages is gathered from avian articles, books, reference materials, and the result of extensive discussion with Quaker owners, breeders, researchers & behaviorists. It is not intended to replace the valuable information which your personal avian veterinarian shares with you.

QPS 2003-5

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Step by Step Instructions to Constructing a Foam Collar

A foam collar is easily made from two pieces of material. The collar is a slice from a lightweight piece of foam tubing commonly used to insulate 1/2 inch diameter copper water pipe. A piece of 1 inch wide cloth tape is added at the last step to keep the collar shut around the Quaker Parrot's neck

The advantages of using a foam collar rather than others include the freedom for the bird to easily go about its regular daily activities, the ease of installation & removal, its cost of few cents, and most importantly it is much less stressful for the bird to wear than a much heavier and bulkier Elizabethan or solid spool collar.

The light weight foam tubes used to insulate water pipe come in differing sizes and lengths. This is a label from a foam tube bought at Home Depot. The tubes are porous, light, and charcoal in color. The correct size of a foam collar to fit over the neck of a Quaker Parrot will be the tubes used to cover 1/2 inch copper and 3/8 inch iron pipe. Either of those pipes is about the diameter of a penny. So, the inside of the foam tube will permit a penny to barely fit into it. A nickel will be too big, and a dime will be too small in the foam tube.

The lengths of the foam tubes may be 3, 4, or 6 feet. I like the ones from Home Depot which are 6 feet long and cost less than a couple dollars. Such a tube will provide about 40 collars. The tubes of foam will be readily available in hardware, plumbing, and home center stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot. Wal-Mart stocks the shorter foam tubes.

The foam tubes can be sliced easily with a sharp knife. The cuts will be straighter if you slowly slice the tube with a sawing motion. It does not matter if the ends of a collar are tapered a bit. The correct length of a collar for most Quakers will be between 1 1/2 to 1 5/8 inches long, although a few birds cannot remove a 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 inch long one. If your bird can tuck-in its beak far enough to reach and chew on the 1 1/4 inch long collar, then try a slightly longer collar that is sliced 1 3/8 inches long. If the bird can reach the 1 3/8 inch long collar, then try one 1 1/2 inch long. In other words each chewed collar needs to be replaced by one which is 1/8 inch longer until the bird cannot reach it. It is fairly rare that a collar as long as 2 inches is required.

Use a pair of scissors to lightly trim the edges around the outside of the foam collar.

To remove the edges along the holes in a foam collar, spread it open and trim with scissors. When released the collar will snap back into its round position.

If you bought a foam tube with a partially cut slit along the side, then use a pair of scissors to cut the collar completely through at the slit. If you bought a foam tube with glue along the edges of the slit, then remove the protective paper from the glue on the edges and then seal the collar together. Then cut a new slit on the opposite side of the collar. There is no way to attach a collar with exposed glue to a Quaker without feathers being in the way. Also, a glued on collar will be extremely difficult to be removed later with scissors.

Slip the foam collar over the bird's neck from the bottom.
I find it much easier if someone holds the bird firmly while gently extending its neck by placing a forefinger under the beak and a thumb at the back of the head. Position the slit upward and push any exposed feathers downward into the slit before lightly squeezing the collar shut. That will prevent glue from the tape from covering any feathers. Some Quakers prefer to be held in a towel during the collaring process.

One inch wide cloth tape works well to seal the foam collar shut. Have a piece of the tape precut to 6 or 7 inches long and ready to use at the final step when collaring a bird. As the foam collar is lightly squeezed together with the slit at the top, lightly wrap the tape completely around the collar. Usually no feathers will be in the way, but take a glance. Later when a collar is to be removed, then cut the tape at the slit to easily remove the collar.

" Now, that wasn't so bad! "

With two people working together a collar can be installed on a Quaker within seconds, and it can be removed as quickly too. Your Quaker may react differently immediately after being collared. Some Quakers take a collaring well, while other may fight the collar for a few minutes or longer.