Let’s picture this: a bird cage somewhere in a quiet room ….a lonely parrot looking out of the window…This is surely not a nice picture for a bird owner, not to speak about a parrot lover! You can’t always be there by your bird’s side and entertain it. There are times when we have to go places and leave our parrot home alone. What is to be done then?
Parrot toys in the answer! That would most certainly make your pet happy! Toys can help build a healthy personality for a bird and it also solves the lonelyness issue. Your parrot will be in no danger of screaming, biting or plucking and from a medical point of view, parrot toys will make its beak nice and trim. And these are only the advantages strictly related to your bird. I’ve said this because toy-making can be a relaxing thing for us owners too.
It is just like spending quality time with a good friend, as parrots can be friends indeed. And just as you come to know a real person, the same can happen with you and your parrot. Stop treating it like a pet and start seeing him as a funny looking room-mate! You have to get to know their personality, what they enjoy and what they dislike. That’s the only way you can make a parrot toy that’s suited for your own little beaked one!
Your parrot can be your guide, especially if you let it join you while making the parrot toys. What would be quality time with a friend if the friend is not by your side?! Parrots can get very curious of what you are doing, so be very careful about what you leave around you on the table where you’re working. Scissors, needles and plastic wrappers can be dangerous for someone who wanders through the pools of toy parts! Taking part in this toy-making activity makes the parrots less shy about playing with the new parrot toy that will appear in their cage once it’s complete.
Once you’ve managed to finish a number of parrot toys, a wise thing to do is to rotate them every other week, so that the parrot won’t get bored with a single one, and then lose interest in it, or , on the other hand, fear a new parrot toy that’s being brought into their cage. You should watch out for toys to always be in good shape, safely attached to the cage and no loose parts. Pay attention to the bird’s behavior towards a new toy: if it begins to chew or eat the parts, you will have to remove the parrot toy and also cut back fraying of material or rope, as the parrot may get a leg or a wing injured.
Let me give you a few tips of my own on making parrot toys! I’m sure you will all find them at least helpful.
The first parrot toy you could make is a play box, out of a spare food cup fixed on the side of the cage. One can fill it with different wood parts as rings, shapes, spools or blocks, or with small strands of bird safe vegetable tanned leather and with cotton rope, marbella beads and rings. The only thing to keep in mind is to suit the toy parts to your parrot, meaning that you can never exchange toy parts between Parakeet and Macaw or an African Grey. Also, it would be a good idea to order only a few parrot toys so that you can see if the parrot enjoys playing with them or not.
If shopping for vegetable tanned leather , pay attention to the fabric and be sure that it does not contain any chemicals or dyes and that the stripes have the suiting thickness and widths for the bird and the size of the hole that is drilled.
Be very cautious when buying the toy parts. They must be safe for your parrot by not having any paint or lacquers that contain zinc and other dangerous chemicals. And it’s not a hard thing to convince a parrot, even one accustomed to colored parrot toys, to like undyed parts! This is also a natural stimulus for birds, not to speak about inhibited birds which shy away from colored parts. Dye doesn’t have to be used to attract a bird, one can accent a toy with plastics like marbella or acrylic parts. That should have a high impact on your companion!
Flavorings must never be used for coloring parrot toys, because you could find them chewing dyed wood and even ingest it.
Do you know what your parrot might also like to do? Unraveling rope, so that they can preen it! There are many kinds of rope on the market, but mist popular are solid braided rope and twisted rope. You must be wondering by now what makes a rope bird safe. The answer is a 100% cotton rope that is not frayed. Unraveled rope is very dangerous for a parrot, just as untrimmed frayed ends that the bird can get caught into.
An alternative for cotton rope is sisal rope/jute, also available in various widths and obeying the same purchasing rules: no chemicals, no harmful oils and no smell to it, as it can jeopardize your pet.
From my experience, for Greys to small Cockatoos (medium sized birds), the best width of rope is 3/16", that can easily be made into knots and go through the holes. If your pet is not interested, but happens to like the color pink, you should get some pink marbella beads and it won’t shy away anymore.
Key Chain Rings and Clips are never to be used, because they can become a trap for the poor parrots’ beaks an talon nails.
Other things to be avoided are Colored Magazines and Colored Newspapers, Felt, Toothbrushes, Cardboard, Toilet Paper and, Paper Towel Cardboard Tubes, Plastic Bags, Cellophane and Plastic Coated Wires.
If you knew that colored magazines contain inks and chemicals that could probably poison your parrot, or that Cardboard and Cardboard Tubes have different types of glue that contain zinc, you would understand my concern. Plastic Bags, Felt and Cellophane , if eaten by a bird, cannot pass through their digestive system and cause blockage to the little fellow.Toothbrushes are made of nylon fibers and some have metal parts. I think these examples have convinced you for good.
Now, let’s get creative: the cool part is here! As said, follow your birds likes and dislikes. Should it love dangling parrot toys, you could build an octopus toy. Should it love thin wood parts instead, my advice is to try the 3/16" thick toy parts and the suited width for your parrot. Finally, should your parrot be a little phobic, it needs rather simple parrot toys, like simple parts hanging on a string with knots in between.
The main idea is to enjoy making parrot toys for your parrot and then you’ll find everything to be quite pleasant ant relaxing.