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In Praise of Wayne’s Bottle Brush Gyms

April 2, 2008

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.


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Bottlebrush Play Gym for small/medium parrotsOne 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.

Stewie and His Bottle Brush Gym

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.

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24 comments

  1. The stand looks great. Unfortunately his email address seems to be dead, and his phone has been disconnected. He makes such a great case for bottlebrush playstands on his site, it’s surprising the “bird community” hasn’t caught on and started making them elsewhere.


  2. Hi Martin,
    You’re right, I couldn’t find any current info either. Wayne says that the bottlebrush material is pretty scarce and only regionally available, so maybe that has something to do with the lack of availability by alternate suppliers. Too bad, because it is a wonderful product.

    I’d advise keeping your eyes out on eBay; it’s very likely he’ll post more of his stuff there once he has inventory available.


  3. Does ANYONE know how to reach Wayne?
    I have 2 of his bottlebrush gyms, one hanging outside and a stand inside. My macaw LOVES them. I need to get a new toy and some replacement branches for both of them, but I cannot get his website to come up (server not found) and his phone is disconnected.

    PLEASE HELP!!!


  4. I’ve heard that Wayne is no longer going to deal with the public. He’s going to work through dealers. I don’t know where we can get replacement parts. I need them as well. Frustrating.


  5. http://www.goldencockatoo.com/boplacandto.html

    you can get the stuff here


  6. these stands are the worst you can buy. The bottle brush hurts the birds, the cups one bite from a macaw and it get destoyed. Anyone knows where i can get Dragoon wood playgyms??


    • Why/how do you think the bottle brush hurts the birds? Their feet are designed to stand and rough surfaces (like tree bark). If the stand hurt my birds, they wouldn’t clamor to be on it all the time. I’m telling you, my birds LOVE this stand.


  7. I attempted to purchase a replacement top for my Bottlebrush play gym in June 2008. Wayne’s Parrots Stuff sent the wrong top, even after I gave him the year he built it, signed it and the number on the gym. The company refuses to either send me the correct top or refund my money. The company will not respond to any of my nunerous e-mails or phone calls. Buyer Beware.


  8. I’ve got 2 hanging gyms and the cage packages for my babies. They love it! Wayne’s site is back up and updated, so those looking for replacement branches should be able to get them now.


  9. I love my play stands by Wayne. I have three of them and my birds spend most of their time on them when I am home. I have had to replace the tops of the stands three times because they whittle them down to nothing!
    Wayne has strong opinions on stuff but he’s a very nice guy and strongly believes in his play stands. He was thinking about not building them for a while, but he changed his mind. I’m glad. If you live in the South Florida, you can also get his products at a store called “Chippy the Pirate” on Commercial Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.


    • He certainly does have some strong opinions… a lot of which I don’t agree with at all. But the playgyms are great. Both my guys love the one we have. 😉


  10. I have learned the hard way that Wayne is no longer in business. He never sent the two playgrounds I ordered in March. When I contacted him in May asking about them, he said he was having trouble finding the right color so I said use ANY color. Since then he has not responded to emails and his phone is disconnected. I am really upset, to say the least! Is anyone else in this predicament? I may have to file a report on the ic3.gov site (internet fraud). And I can’t afford to buy the playgrounds anywhere else unless I get my money back. *squawk*


    • You’re not the only one, unfortunately. He posted a letter recently (no longer live) that basically said that he was going to stop taking orders, but that all backorders would get fulfilled; but from what I’ve been reading, it seems like that isn’t happening either. Since he took your money, he has an obligation to refund it or fulfill the order. Your best course of action if you paid by credit card is to dispute the charge with your credit card company and have the charges reversed. Good luck.


      • Hi,

        I had similar problems with this individual. I placed a credit card order on 6/2/09 and I sent an email asking for a progress update on 6/17. Amazingly, I got a response saying that the build was progressing. Then I waited, and waited, and waited some more. I sent several emails threatening legal action (BBB)which went unreturned. I left at least 4 voice mails to his cell phone with no response. I finally got the credit card company to refund my money. It’s unfortunate that he seemingly tanked his good reputation in such a short matter of time. Good luck getting your money back.

        Dan Costa


    • I have the same problem and contacted the golden cockatoo, and the other store he is selling his stuff through and they would not give out any info nor would they take a message.


      • Vicki – it is not their responsibility to make good on orders they had nothing to do with. Nor are they a message service for their vendor. If you have a problem with Wayne, it’s not fair to put another independent business in the middle of it. I listed those other stores in case you wanted to make a purchase from them – I do not recommend bothering them with complaints about something they have no control over. Nor is it fair to ask them to provide information about Wayne – why should they be dragged in the middle of this?


  11. Thank you Dan, for your reply. Unfortunately since I used Paypal, which has a deadline for filing complaints, I’m plumb out of luck, but I did file a report on the government site. I updated it today by sharing your complaint on this site as confirmation that I am not the only one cheated by Wayne. I most likely will never get my money back, but these days I have to look at it in perspective. One last try: I am going to call the “Chippy the Pirate” store mentioned above, and see what they know. And I definitely want to buy some kind of good play gyms for my conure and my quaker — I know they would love them and I’m going to be looking for other options. THANK YOU!


    • Sonia, very sorry that you don’t have recourse. Maybe you can try to continue emailing him persistently… I suspect (but I have no way to know for sure) that flattery might get you farther than threats. Click here for some other people’s recent experiences with him if you need further backup.

      Two other places that I know carry or have carried Wayne’s parrot gyms in the past are The Golden Cockatoo and Platinum Parrot. They will not be able to help you get your money back since they are not responsible for fulfillment of orders that go directly through him, but they do carry the gyms if you are still interested in that particular product.

      Good luck.


  12. Thanks for your reply, Best in Flock! Messages to his email address are returned, so I haven’t had any contact with Wayne since May when he said he “couldn’t get the right color for the base” and I said to use any color. I suppose there is a chance in a million he might still come through on backorders but I’m not counting on it. I’m definitely still interested and I took a look at the two sites you mentioned. I know my birdies would enjoy play stands, but am not sure about brushwood vs dragonwood. Will do some more reading and checking around. Your blog is really great — thank you!


  13. Hello again everyone. It’s strange but when writing the previous message yesterday, I wrote about “a chance in a million he might still come through on back orders.” I had a funny feeling as I wrote it that it still might come true. Just now on his site I’ve found a new message dated 7/25/09 saying that he would fulfill his back orders but could not state exactly when. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and about the fact that Wayne has a genuine love for birds, and now that I’ve seen his message, I just want to say — yes, Wayne is going to fulfill my order. It might be 6 months from now or a year, but he will come through on it, and I will let you know when he does. I also am about to cancel my report on the govt web fraud site (ic3.gov), which Paypal had referred me to. I will let you know when I get my bottlebrush gyms!


  14. I’m really sad that Wayne had to result to taking peoples money. I placed ANOTHER order in March on Paypal (which will not refund my money) and spoke to him numerous times like I always did. He mentioned some hard times in his personal life, but I never thought he would dupe me. EMMA has 6 perches and one hanging perch. She loves them. I’ve been a customer since 2005. If you look below, you can see all the perches I have for EMMA.

    YouTube CapeParrotEMMA


  15. Kathleen, I think he will come through. I don’t think he wants to dupe anyone. I have not given up. Wait and see.


  16. Sonia, I hope you are right. I ordered my replacement parts in April and have yet to receive them. I’m also one of the ones unfortunate enough to have used PayPal (I wonder why they don’t do anything after 60 days). What good would it do to put a complaint on the government website, they’re not going to do anything either.

    Really frustrated and poorer by about $300.


  17. Hi Lynn! The govt website wouldn’t have been about getting any money back, just making a record. I cancelled that anyway. I am out about the same amount of money as you, but I have stopped feeling frustrated and angry as I was at first. Wait and see, it may take quite a while but I’m now on record as saying Wayne will come through. I do not believe he wants to cheat anyone but is dealing with more than he can handle right now, whatever it is. His love for birds is absolutely real and that is the clincher. He wants them to have his great toys. Trust me, he will come through. I feel it.



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