Best Toys for Parakeets - Keep Your Parakeets Entertained and Healthy
Parakeets are social and playful animals that need to be stimulated physically and mentally, either with other parakeets or with toys. If you keep your parakeet in a cage all the time, toys are essential to their well-being. Without the opportunity to explore the outside world, your parakeet will likely become bored, which can lead to long-term health and behavioral problems, such as stereotypies. Many pet stores offer a wide variety of toys and accessories for birds, but sometimes it can be difficult to choose the best toy for your pet. There is also the possibility of making toys yourself.
In this AnimalWised article, we present you the best toys for parakeets, so you can guarantee your pet a healthy and happy life. We will also introduce you to inexpensive toys that you can make yourself at home.
Why are toys important for parakeets?
As a pet caregiver, it is important to know exactly what your parakeet's needs are to ensure its well-being. When we think of animals that need to play, we often think of dogs or cats, as these are the pets we are most familiar with. However, for a parakeet, being cooped up all day with nothing to do and, with any luck, the company of another parakeet in the same situation can be boring and frustrating.
Birds, like many other animals, were not born to be decorative objects or for us to enjoy their sweet song. They need to move around, interact with others, and face new challenges. In the wild, they spend all day socializing, flying up and down, searching for food, etc. A parakeet in a cage that is not properly stimulated will suffer from health and behavioral problems that are usually not obvious at first, but progress insidiously. Examples include excessive crying, biting the bars of the cage, and even feather plucking.
Provide your parakeet with daily stimulation with toys to keep them active. Also remember that because of their social nature, these animals need the company and attention of other animals, either yours or other parakeets. Ideally, they also need to fly, so keeping them in a cage 24 hours a day is not appropriate.
When it comes to parakeets, it is advisable to keep two, as they do not tolerate solitude very well. For pet parakeets, the best combination is a male-female. Read this other article to learn the difference between a male and female parakeet.
Different types of parakeet toys and accessories
Now that you know how important toys are to your parakeet's well-being, it's time to learn more about the different types of toys available on the market. Many of the toys that you can buy for your parakeet are accessories that you can place in its cage. In general, the best toys for parrots are those that are easy to handle and not too big, so they have enough room to move around the cage. But also not too small to be swallowed or potentially dangerous.
There is a wide range of options, some of which we highlight:
- Hanging toys: There are many types of hanging toys that hang from the ceiling of the cage and often have different shapes such as a swing, a branch, or a rope. These toys are recommended because they simulate the effect of sitting on a branch and also strengthen your parakeet's sense of balance and muscles. Cotton spirals or ropes are an ideal toy that can be used both inside and outside the cage, and they hang from the ceiling like a playground and allow the bird to enjoy controlled freedom. Toys that also combine elements such as wood, jewelry chains or bells are guaranteed fun for your pet. You can also hang pieces of fruit or whole pieces without dropping or soiling the bars of the cage. It allows the bird to nibble the food comfortably, simulating the way it would do it in the wild.
- Climbing toys: If you have a parakeet, you have probably noticed how easily they can climb up the bars of the cage. This is because most birds accustomed to living in deciduous forests not only fly but also climb to move around in the dense vegetation. By performing this exercise with its beak and legs, the parakeet exercises their muscles and strengthens its nails and beak. Therefore, it is ideal to include in your parakeet's cage elements such as stairs, branches, or perches. With these toys you will no longer have to file or cut your parrot's fingernails anymore.
- Chewing toys: to keep their beaks trim and strong, parakeets need to bite and sting. So if they do not have the opportunity to do so, they will bite their woodshed or the bars of their cage. To avoid this, it is advisable to provide toys for your parakeet to chew on. Most of these toys are made of natural materials that are safe for your parakeets, such as wood, paper, or mineral stones that also serve as nutritional supplements.
- Interactive toys: These are kind of toys in which your parakeet has to use their mind to get to the prizes. Many of them look like cabinets and have drawers where you can hide food that the bird must open to get the food. The abacus is not only a very fun toy, but also perfect for promoting learning and developing your bird's intelligence. It consists of numerous tire and ball-shaped parts attached to the rods.
Before we continue with the list of the best toys for parakeets, you should note that all these accessories do not necessarily have to be in the cage. If your parakeet is used to leaving the cage, you can equip a whole room with them or even spread them all over the area where the parakeet usually stays.
Exercising your parakeet
In the wild, parakeets fly dozens of miles each day, foraging for food and participating in a number of survival activities that exert an intense physical effort. Birds living in captivity are accidentally prevented from exercising sufficiently to maintain their physical condition. Therefore, bird owners must do everything in their power to maximize their pets' opportunities to move and exercise more.
Lack of exercise can lead to serious health problems in the long term, such as the development of weak muscles, brittle bones and, of course, obesity. If not treated, it can eventually lead to the death of the animal. For this reason, pet stores offer gyms or activity parks for birds, very complete toys with which your parakeet can train and perform various activities, such as playing with ropes, bells, among others.
Another great way to get your parakeet moving and improve their physical health is to play physically active games with your bird. Does your bird have a favorite toy? If so, try a simple game of fetch to get your parakeet moving. Some birds also love to chase things, which is a great way to get your pet's heart pumping. Tie a toy to a string and let your bird try to catch it.
However, the most important thing you can do for your parakeet's physical health is to allow them to fly outside the cage as often as possible. Providing your bird with daily supervised playtime in a bird-proof area of your home will ensure that all of your pet's muscle groups get the exercise that is so critical to keeping them active.
Not only can you play games with your parakeet, you can also teach them all kinds of tricks, which also helps to keep the mentally and physically active. Read this other article to know more about how to train your parakeet.
Parakeets and baths
Parakeets love to cool off and wash themselves with water. Parakeets are clean animals that often clean themselves with water in the wild when it rains or when there is an opportunity to splash in puddles. Therefore, buying a bird bath is a good idea if you want your parrot to be able to wash comfortably inside or outside its cage whenever it wants.
Parakeets should always be bathed or showered in cool or lukewarm water. Do not use cold or hot water; room temperature is fine. If your tap water is very cold, let it sit for 20 minutes until it reaches the proper temperature.
A bath is great fun for both the bird and its owner, but this fun does not have to be limited to a bowl of standing water. An alternative to a bath is a budgie shower, which consists of wet leaves – lettuce, basil, and parsley are popular – or a wet clump of grass. Both in the wild and in captivity, parakeets like to roll around in wet leaves.
How often do parakeets bathe?
Parakeets bathe whenever they want, and you will learn your own bird' preferences. There are no rules, per se. Some parakeets bathe daily, while others do not do so at all.
You may be surprised to learn that some parakeets also enjoy listening to music, and some even dance to it. Read this other article if you want to know more about the relation between parakeets and music.
Homemade toys for parakeets
You may have thought about buying cheap budgie toys because your little one destroys them easily or because you are simply looking for a cheaper alternative. Although most of the toys you have seen in this article are not particularly expensive, you also have the option of making some parakeet toys at home from recycled materials. Here are some ideas:
This is probably the easiest toy you can make for your parakeet. To make it, take a rag that you no longer use or clothes in poor condition that you can cut to size. Then follow the steps below:
- Cut strips of different sizes and thicknesses.
- Tie several knots in the fabric.
- Tie one end to the top of the cage.
- This way, your parakeet will have a means to climb and climb up. We also recommend tying multiple ropes in the same cage or room, so they can switch between ropes.
Balls and spirals made of paper and cardboard
Recycled paper and cardboard, such as from toilet paper rolls, are great for chewing because they are made from plant-based material. However, make sure they do not contain chemicals that are toxic to the animals, such as ink (do not use newsprint, for example).
The best homemade toy for parakeets, which you can make from recycled paper due to its fragile consistency, is one or more balls. To do this, you simply need to crumple it and get different sizes, depending on the paper.
Finally, thanks to the fact that the cardboard is more consistent, you can make many other shapes that will arouse the curiosity of your parakeet. For example, you can take a cardboard tube and cut it into a spiral shape that you can hang in a corner. The possibilities are endless.
For this toy, you will again need a tube made of toilet or kitchen paper and a string, which can be a shoelace or a long piece of cloth. Then proceed as follows:
- Thread the string through the tube. Make sure the string is long enough.
- Hang the ends of the string from the ceiling of the cage so that your budgie perches on it as if on a swing.
- This accessory will not only serve as a hanging toy for your budgie to improve its balance, but will also give it something to chew on.
Birdbaths that you can get in stores can be hung from the bars and in some cases have a lid to prevent the animal from splashing. If you don't mind if your parakeet soaks the outside of the cage or the room they are in, you should consider placing a container of water where your bird can bathe and clean themselves at their convenience.
If you are thinking of getting a parakeet, you may find some inspiration to pick a name for your parakeet in this other article about name suggestions for parakeets.
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