Why Make Your Own Bird Toys?
There’s a couple of reasons:
- Your bird will love you for it. Improving their habitat with toys and playable items will improve the health and psychology of your bird.
- You can ensure bird safe materials are used (most companies are ok but some don’t care about the health of your bird and use unsafe materials).
- You’ll save money, especially since a lot of toys are destructible.
- You get to use your arts and crafts skills.
- Your birds will have something to do whilst you’re away.
Household Items For Homemade Bird Toys
There’s a number of easily available household items from which you can make toys for your birds. Just consider some of the following:
A simple piece of paper can seem boring to a human but it might be able to keep your pet parrot entertained. Simply hanging a few pieces from the cage gives your bird something for them to shed.
If you want to take it to the next level then you can use your origami skills to make a number of different toys that will keep your birds entertained.
Old books and old phone books
Birds love ripping their way through an old yellow pages and any old books which you’re never going to read again.
Cable ties are very strong and hard to break so can be used to hold bundles of things together which your bird can play with.
A pack of cards
You can stick a hole into these and hang them from the cage or simply bend the cards into different shapes.
You get a lot of excess packaging in item deliveries these days, but instead of just throwing it away this can be used for bird toys.
Excellent pre-made rings that can be adapted into your homemade bird toy.
Another type of cardboard box that can be easily turned into a bird toy.
Their own feathers
A parrot loves to preen it’s own feathers and will also find feathers that are integrated with toys also interesting.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
Safe to use as long as it is vegetable tanned leather. Avoid other varieties.
Popsicle sticks/ice Cream sticks
Gives you a good excuse to buy yourself some ice cream!
Small wood sewing spools
Your birds get to play with the sewing string/yarn and also the wooden spool itself.
Strong enough to hold the weight of most small toys and also a very common item which most owners will already have.
Strings and ropes
Ideal for hanging other toys and items off and creating things such as tassel balls. The ideal material for this is sisal rope.
Toilet paper rolls
The cardboard cylinder from a toilet roll is ideal for birds to chew and shred upon. Also, they can be easily combined with other items when making other toys for your pet bird.
Types of Bird Toys You Can Make
There are a number of different types of toys that your birds will enjoy. Just check out the list below for ideas:
- Chewable/Shreddable Items
- Nest boxes
- Noisey items (bells and chimes)
- Foraging Toys
- Exercising toys/spinning wheels
- Simple puzzles
- Knots and tassels for them to untie
- Bird Playgrounds
How To Make Your Own Bird Toys
Aside from all of the materials listed above, the only other thing you’ll need is a pair of scissors. Now you can get started creating your first below. Below I’ve listed a few videos that provide some good ideas and instructions of different types of parrot toys that can be made:
This second video shows you a range of different ways in which a a large number of toys can be constructed:
The final videos shows how to make simple foraging toys using only paper towel, sisal string, and scissors. It can provide lots of fun for the birdies for next to no cost at all.
Please remember that it’s better to have three or four toys ready for rotation. You get bored when playing with the same thing over and over again when you were kids, right? It’s the same for birds. Combine and switch the toys every week to keep things interesting for them.
Safety When Making DIY Parrot Toys
First of all, when creating homemade bird toys, you must avoid designs that include any of the following hazards:
- Small holes (where birds might get their feet/beaks stuck)
- Sharp edges (where birds might cut their feet/beak)
- Brittle plastics which snap (hard plastic is generally safe)
Is the material you’re going to using bird safe?
Unsure whether a material is safe to use? Then simply don’t use it as there are plenty of other options. It isn’t worth your bird’s health. However, as a reference check out the lists below to see if a material type is safe or toxic for your birds:
Bird Toy Parts Suppliers
Whilst there are ample household items in the list above that can be used to create bird toys, sometimes you’ll simply run out of supplies. When this happens, that’s when we recommend going to some of the following bird toy parts suppliers and buying your items in bulk:
Which Species of Pet Birds Need Toys the Most?
Most bird species (and especially parrots) need toys because of their intelligence. Without some form of stimulation, birds can easily get bored, depressed and then resort to destructive behaviors such as feather plucking and biting. Birds that are of the following species especially need an ample supply of toys:
- African greys
- Most other species of parrots
My Birds Won’t Play With The Toys. What’s Wrong?
Relax! There’s most likely nothing wrong. Some birds just like to play when no one is around to watch. However, if you suspect your birds never touch the toys even once, try placing some seed or any of their favorite foods close to the toys. Let them know it’s okay to play with them. You may also want to replace the toy with a different one. Just like with kids, you can’t force birds to play with something they have no interest in.
Why Do Pet Birds Need Toys?
According to The Avian Welfare Coalition, toys are essential for the psychology of a captive bird, especially ones that are destructible or chewable. Because toys can become easily be damaged, you should be frequently replacing them.
These benefits are also backed up by ParrotEnrichment.com, who say that playing is important for birds to release stress and make their life more enjoyable. Playing with toys also encourages good physical and mental health. Birds use their feet and beak while playing. This improves their strength and dexterity which are crucial for climbing, perching, and eating. It also helps them develop good balance and coordination. Toys also provide mental challenges and stimulation that keep the brain active.
Other Tips to Improving the Happiness Of Your Birds
Although sometimes a plain paper towel can provide tons of fun for your little birdies, you may often want to spice thing up with colors. Birds see in colors so toys with a combination of colors are more interesting to them. Stick to bird safe food coloring to paint and you certainly don’t want your feathered friends to ingest paint that’s compromised with lead or other harmful chemicals.
Provide Plenty of Time Out Of The Cage
Be sure to let them out of their cages from time to time. Let them fly in the living room when the windows are closed so they can give their wings a good stretch. Dr. Michael Krinsley of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital said that pet birds should have a good amount of time outside their cages, about one to three hours a day.
Give Your Birds Lot’s of Attention
One last thing — please don’t forget to interact with your birds. Hold them and chat with them. Fun toys are okay, but you still need to show affection to let them know they’re loved. We all want the best for our pet birds, right?
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