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The Best Parrot Toys

 
By Anaƫlle Sikich. March 2, 2020
The Best Parrot Toys

Parrots are very active animals. They need to exercise every day and engage in mental challenges that stimulate them positively. In nature, parrots are gregarious animals with very complex relationships to their peers. They spend the entire day communicating, playing, climbing trees, eating and creating new bonds.

In this AnimalWised article we will talk about parrot toys, their importance, different types and finally, how to make homemade parrot toys since we cannot always afford to visit a specialized store.

You may also be interested in: The Best Cat Treat Dispenser Toys

The importance of parrot toys

Toys are crucial for the health and happiness of your parrot. In fact, a lack of physical activity and new challenges or the absence of more parrots or other animals will lead to health issues. The symptoms of stress or discomfort in parrots are usually not evident at first. This is because parrots are prey animals that know how to hide their weaknesses perfectly.

One efficient strategy to reduce their stress, frustration or boredom is the use of toys. Toys will help your parrot learn, grow, be healthy and entertained.

Characteristics of parrot toys

All parrot toys must comply with some basic premises in order to avoid poisoning, injury or other problems. The same goes for the place where we house our parrot. It is important to know what to consider when buying a parrot cage, what materials it can be built of, where to place it or what to put in it.

When choosing new toys for a parrot we must take into account that:

  • The toy must not contain paint or be made of a toxic material dangerous to birds.
  • They should not contain extremely small parts that can be swallowed by accident.
  • The material with which it is made cannot be abrasive, nor have sharp or pointed edges that can hurt the animal.
  • When the toy contains tissue or ropes, its use should be monitored.

The parrots are specialists in destroying toys, so you should keep in mind that they will last very little and will have to be constantly renewed. It is not an incorrect or unusual behavior, so it's nothing to be worried about. In fact, their way of having fun consists in destroying toys. In nature they also cut twigs or flowers, a very beneficial activity for plants in most cases, as it acts as a natural pruning.

The Best Parrot Toys - Characteristics of parrot toys

Safe materials for birds

The best materials to make parrot toys are natural materials. For example, wood and its derivatives, such as cardboard or paper. In addition, materials such as olive wood are ideal for good maintenance of the beak and nails. Here is a complete list of safe materials for a healthy parrot:

  • Wood: pine, blasa, birch, basswood, poplar, maple, walnut, ash, apple, elm, cactus (cholla), manzanita.
  • Rope: 100% natural fiber ropes made with cotton, hemp or sisal.
  • Chain: stainless steel is the best option as it is non-toxic, lead and zinc-free and easy to clean.
  • Acrylic: safe and almost indestructible. However wood is better for a chew toy.
  • Leather: only vegetable tanned leather. Great for chew toys. Replace wet or soiled leather to avoid bacteria flourishing.
  • Fasteners: Quick links or C-clamps are the safest to attach toys to your parrot's cage or play area.
  • Bells: cow or liberty bell design is the safest. Birds love bells as toys since they enjoy making noise. Make sure the clapper cannot be removed or it may be swallowed by your parrot.
  • Other: palm leaf, abaca fibers, cuttlebone, coconut shell and coco-husks.

You can also contact your local veterinarian to make sure the material you've chosen is safe for your parrot.

Types of parrot toys

When choosing what toys we want to give our parrot we have to take into account several factors. First we must think about the size of our parrot, the dimensions of the toy for a large parrot are different than for a small parrot.

Second, we must consider the size of their cage. If the toy is going to be placed inside it, there should still be enough free space inside so that the parrot does not feel overwhelmed.

Finally, the toys will be vary depending on the amount of birds we have. If the toy isn't for a single parrot, we must observe how the parrots interact with the new toy and each other to avoid conflicts.

Once these factors have been analyzed, we will choose which type of toy our parrot may like best or which one is more practical for his physical and mental condition.

Hanging toys

Birds love to be suspended on tree branches. Hanging toys, like a swing, causes that feeling of being on a twig that is wobbly. These toys also strengthen their leg muscles. Several swings can be placed at different heights to stimulate them to jump from one to another.

Climbing toys

Parrots are climbers, of course they are also flying animals, but in tropical forests where vegetation is very dense, it is sometimes easier to climb from one tree to another than to fly. Therefore, toys such as stairs or simply innkeepers placed diagonally to the ground will favor the climbing capacity of these birds. In addition, the parrots climb using their beak, if these stairs or innkeepers are made of wood they will also fulfill a function of wear and maintenance of nails and beak.

The Best Parrot Toys - Types of parrot toys

Interactive toys for parrots

In freedom, parrots spend a good part of their time searching for food, handling and eating. This foraging behavior can be easily imitated at home. If the parrot lives in an aviary or if they regularly leaves the cage, we can put his food scattered on the ground, he will spend long periods searching and eating.

There are toys in which we can introduce food so that the parrot can be entertained by removing it. It does not have to be special food, it is proven that a parrot will prefer to obtain food this way even if it is the same food that is always available in their feeder.

Toys to stimulate physical activity (playgrounds)

Although it may not seem so because of their physiognomy, parrots can suffer from obesity. It is a very serious problem that can severely affect their liver and other organs, leading to death. Whether or not we have a parrot with weight problems it is important that they have daily exercise.

There are toys called "playgrounds" where the parrot can perform various activities such as climbing, hanging, looking for food, etc. It's like an “all in one” for parrots.

Mirrors

The use of mirrors for parrots is a somewhat controversial issue. As we said parrots are very social animals, living alone does not ensure the welfare of the animal. It is likely that if we give a mirror to a parrot that lives alone, they will become obsessed with their reflection, they could even stop eating. Therefore, mirrors are games suitable for parrots that live in pairs or groups, large or small. This way they can enjoy the mirror without any repercussions.

Biting Toys

Parrots need to keep their beak healthy. To achieve this they must spend time chopping various objects. The best are those of natural material, such as wood. We can also use cuttlefish bones or calcium stones.

Whether to maintain a correct length of the beak or not, parrots are very destructive, so they will appreciate being given cardboard pieces.

How to introduce a new toy

Depending on the relationship we have with our parrot, whether they trust us or not, introducing a new toy can be a simple or tricky task. First of all, it is important to remember never to introduce a new toy directly into the cage, as the parrot could get very scared and create animosity towards the toy or even towards us.

It is best to leave the toy a couple of days next to the cage. If our parrot trusts us and watches us play with the toy, they will accept it much faster. After they fully accept it and begin to play with it, we can put the toy in their cage. Place the toy away from where the parrot is usually placed, so it doesn't invade their personal space. Over time you will learn which toys are your parrot's favorites.

The Best Parrot Toys - How to introduce a new toy

If you want to read similar articles to The Best Parrot Toys, we recommend you visit our Animal games and fun category.

Bibliography
  • Kalmar, ID, Moons, CP, Meers, LL, & Janssens, GP. (2007). Psittacine birds as laboratory animals: refinements and assessment of welfare. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, 46 (4), 8-15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17645290

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