Bird Care – How to Choose Toys

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,101
    Susan Vandenbroek from FeatherHeads in Sterling Virginia discusses how to choose toys for a bird.

    Hi, I am Susan from FeatherHeads. We have been talking about perches for your cage in our series on how to care for your parrot. Now we are going to talk about different types of toys.

    Parrots in the wild spend 90% of their day searching for food. You have just handed them a bowl of food and a cup of water; they have got a lot of time on their wings. You want to give them things that will challenge them, that will excite them, and will allow them to have some fun. There are lots of different types of toys you can choose; obviously you are going to choose based on the size of your bird. You also should get to know your bird; some birds are small and will play with toys that would be sized for larger birds; other larger birds are intimidated by some of the big toys. But there are basically three groups of toys that we talk about; there are wood toys, there are PVC toys, and there are cloth toys or sisal toys.

    Some of these toys are more readily destructible, others are harder to chew up. One of the newest innovations that they have been talking more about for parrots are what they call Foraging Toys. These provide a challenge to your bird. Remember, in the wild, they are searching for the food, but if that is also a challenge. So, they may want to chew up wood in the cage but you also want to give them something to intrigue them, particularly some of the African Greys and those types of birds which are extremely intelligent, need more stimulation. One of the toys that is fun for just about any sized bird is this; it is basically popsicle sticks that have been colored, in a little plastic container. The bird has to figure out how to get them out from underneath; he then can have the thrill of chewing them up. Another option, depending on your bird is just a plain wood toy to chew up.

    This one is basically light wood, probably sized for a conure or a small mini macaw, some of the small cockatoos. Cockatoos are some of the biggest chewers; so again, you need to get to know your bird. This toy is sized for one of the larger birds, macaws; one of the things you look at is, this one is on rope, they also come on chain. Most macaws are smart enough that they snip the rope at the top and you are left with just something hanging there that was meant to hold a bunch of chewable wood. So, get to know your bird and those types of things. Another type of toy -- most small birds love this, to shred up these empty corn husks - a lot of fun. This one is what we call an interactive toy; most birds like playing with the pulling on the chain; cockatoos, greys, amazons, most of the time this is sized for them, they find this very intriguing. They also will try and move the beads up and down - a fun toy for many different types of birds.

    Another toy -- again in the interactive type, this one is a plastic box with different types of dowels and blocks inside; the bird has to figure out which one to get it through the slots. Believe me they will; many birds have a ball trying to figure that out. A very simple and easy to do toy -- you can even use one of the food bowls in the cage or hang a separate pail if you have room; take all the pieces of toys that they have chewed off, that are laying there, put them back in every morning, your bird will spend the day emptying this up, you can fill it up, when you get home at night. Another fun toy that has a treat for the bird inside -- and this can go for any size birds, right down to cockatiels.

    This is called the Parrot Pinata, a lot of them have seed inside; they tear off all the paper and then they get to the inside treat. Another item that is fun, this is a readily destructible toy; for those larger birds that are scared of toys, this a good one, they are loofah sponges. These are made from a natural tree; there are lots of different sizes; almost a give me with every bird, they seem to like chewing these up. This is something that is destructible; it is one of the ones we recommend when we are boarding birds, because most birds will play with it, and birds when they are in new surroundings can be a little bit scared. Another one, its very popular, is the pine cones. You might say I could go out in the yard and get the pine cones. You need to be careful with anything you pickup in your yard. Most things are treated with insecticides or sprays for bugs; you cant give any of these to the birds, so you want to be very careful when you are bringing in any natural products. The other thing that you should consider for your bird, and these are mostly toys that you use when you are around - games that you can play together. One of the small cat bowls or one of the soft plastic balls make great interactive games for you and the bird. We have watched greys play with their parents, they will actually go and fetch the ball and bring it back. We have been talking about how to care for your parrot and different types of toys that you can choose. We are now going to talk to how to feed your parrot.