Good toys have different shapes and textures for the bird to
explore and destroy. At least three toys should make a bird work for food. Working toys are toys that make them
work for their treats or favoured foods. Parrots in the wild will spend the majority of their waking hours, hunting
and foraging. Toys stimulate their mind and help replicate actions they would execute in the wild. Proper toys and
placement enhance a Psittacine life in captivity.
Parrots think they’re working for food while avicultural
outsider sees birds playing with toys as birds; playing with bird toys. Your companion parrot is always thinking,
and since nothing has changed in their minds, playing with toys is their job. It’s what Mother Nature gave them to
survive, this need to forage. If you provide no means of foraging, your bird will seek other avenues. It may be
furniture or personal affects. Usually because they are easy and plentiful targets. It’s important to encourage
your companion parrot to work for food because it’s a natural behaviour.
Three or four toys should be made of soft wood. Soft wood allows
you to push your fingernail in forming an indent.
The next toys depend on the bird. Large birds like macaws and
Cockatoos may have a huge appetite. Introduce hardwood toys into cages and perhaps toys with hard plastics so they
can spend more time on the various pieces. Toys may be strung together with rope, leather, chain or a combination
The balance of toys should be easily shredded. Toys may be store
bought or home-made. Parrot toy parts are available and helps keep toy making economical. Soft wood, paper, leather
and other textures are important for the bird to explore and destroy
Introduce pieces of food like broccoli or corn, using one of
many commercially available or home-made toy holders. The food on the toy holder rewards them for
The more textures, shapes, sizes and colours the better.
Diversity is important because in the wild your birds eat a diverse diet. An eclectic selection of toys helps
maintain your feathered companions’ interest.
Watch a bird in its natural habitat and you’ll see them chewing
soft bark and hard tree trunks. Toys made from compressed palm leaf or treated Yucca introduces hours of “pecking
pleasure” Interactive toys made from Plexiglas are very effective at reducing birdie boredom.
The majority of toys should hang or be placed in the upper third
of the cage. Introduce a few more to the middle third (without hampering access to food dishes) around a perch made
from soft wood, comfortable to grasp depending on the size of the bird’s feet. The bottom third of the cage should
remain relatively uncluttered to allow the bird to walk freely.
Spot-check toys and perches on a daily basis looking for frayed
or sharp edges that may potentially harm your bird.
The more you change the toy and perch arrangement, the more you
challenge your companion parrot. It helps them socialize and helps avoids “toy-phobia”
Parrots can develop phobic reactions to new people, new
furniture, and even new birds.
Toys from household items
Adding machine tape
Toilet paper roll
Nuts hidden in nested paper cups
Phone book slipped through cage bars
Wrapped straws – cable tied
Saltine cracker packet
Shoelaces strung with beads or Cheerio’s
Breakfast-food bowl with newspaper taped to top