There are so many toys available to choose from, where do you start? Birds are highly intelligent and they benefit from a variety of toys. A lot of birds will have favorite toys, and some toys will be completely lost on some birds. You will have to figure out which types of toys your bird enjoys best. We recommend rotating toys often to keep your bird from getting bored. Remember that birds are also highly destructive, and many toys will be completely taken apart or destroyed within a few days.
For toy safety, inspect your bird’s toys often. Check for any loose strings and cut them away as birds can easily get their toes caught. Rings and clips that are used to hang toys on the cage should be big enough that your bird will not get a toe or entire foot caught in them. Remove any rusted metal from the cage. Clean toys often to make sure they are not a source of bacteria since these toys will be in your bird’s mouth.
If you would like to make toys yourself, here are some good suggestions to get you started:
• Shred pieces of newspaper, cardboard or cut small strips of leather and weave them through the bars of the cage, or alternatively tie them together with some string or leather and hang from the top of the cage by a perch
• Popsicle sticks or clothespins dyed with Kool-Aid can make fun wood toys to chew up
• Save toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes and hang them vertically in the cage or fix them horizontally to the side of the cage, or simply lay them in the bottom of the cage. Hide food and treats inside for foraging
• Brown paper lunch sacks can be used to hide food and allow for some good shredding fun!
• Save phone books, drill a hole in the corner and hang in the cage with appropriate sized metal chains or ropes
• Many craft stores have non-toxic wood shapes for crafts. Dye these with different flavors of food coloring and string together with rope, or alternatively drill holes in them to hide food
• Ostrich feather dusters can sometimes be used to decrease feather plucking or for those birds that are prone to over-preening cage mates
Which Type Of Toy Is Best?
If you have to decide on the type of toy to get, foraging toys are supremely better than regular toys, because they stimulate natural behavior in birds and take some thought on the bird’s part to get to the food. Commercial puzzle toys for larger birds are a lot of fun, and it is enjoyable to watch your bird figure out the tricks! Edible snack shacks and similar toy treats can also stimulate natural foraging behavior.
The ideas are endless as long as you have an inventive mind – just keep safety in mind when you are making toys for your birds! Most commercial toys can be reproduced in some way and it is usually less expensive to make your own toys. This comes in handy when your bird will just destroy toys anyway!