Parrots love to destroy things. It keeps them happy and healthy mentally and physically. Giving your companion parrot toys can help to stop them from destroying your home and developing behavioral problems. With good toys your companion parrot is able to keep entertained when you are not home, and when you are home, can enrich your playtime together. So having lots of ideas to keep you both entertained will ensure a happy life and environment for both you and your bird! Please enjoy the ideas below for toys you can make for your feathered friend at home.
Corn Husk Treats
You will need:
- Fresh Cornhusk or Pre-Dried Cornhusk in your grocery store’s Produce or Specialty Foods section (Mexican)
- Your parrot’s favorite nut or treat
If you use fresh cornhusk, you will need to dry them before using. The husk can be dried in your clothes dryer at home on normal heat for about twenty minutes or until dry like paper. Tear one of the husks into strips to use as a way to tie the ends of the treat. Take your parrot’s favorite treat, roll it up in the husk, and tie the ends off with the strips of husk. It should look like a piece of wrapped candy when you are finished. Give it to your bird as a specail treat. Having to work to get to the treat makes it that much more rewarding!
Hidden Treat Kabob
You will need:
- Three non-waxed Dixie cups
- Your parrot’s favorite veggies and fruits
- Stainless steel pet kabob skewer from a pet store.
Place one Dixie cup on the skewer upside down. Next place a few pieces of vegetable or fruit on the skewer. Take another Dixie cup right-side-up and place it on the skewer in order to conceal the fruit underneath the two cups. Place the last Dixie cup upside down again on the skewer and hide a few more pieces of fruit or vegetables under that Dixie cup. Hang in your parrot’s cage for a tasty treat!
You will need:
- Pine cones that have not been treated with Herbicides or Pesticides (do not use any pinecones from parks or urban areas that may have been exposed to mosquito spraying)
Make sure that the pinecones are fully open and ripe. Place the pinecones in a 200 degree oven on aluminum foil for about two hours. Placing them in the oven will dry out the sap to prevent it from getting on your parrot’s feathers. The piecones make an easy to tear up toy that is inexpensive!
Pellet and Oatmeal Ice Cream Cones
You will need:
- Your parrot’s daily pellets
- All natural oatmeal (Quaker Oats)
- Ice Cream Cones (sugar or regular)
Cook a half-cup serving of the oatmeal by the package directions. Leave the salt option out of the oatmeal. You want the oatmeal to be more on the sticky side so you can roll it into a ball. Roll the oatmeal ball in some of the pellets your bird eats so that it looks like it has been covered in sprikles. Then place the rolled ball of oatmeal on to the cone to look like an ice cream cone! You can find regular ice cream cones in different colors to make the snack even more fun!
Other Items that are Safe to Make Toys
- Untreated/Kiln dried white pine such as 2″x2″ and 2″x4″ from your hardware store.
- 100% natural cotton, sisal, non-dried hemp, or raffia rope
- Stainless steel chain, nickel, or chrome-plated Steel (Avoid lead, zinc, and brass which is treated with zinc since they are poisonous to birds!)
- Toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes
- Box of round tip toothpicks
- Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors from a craft store
- You can dye the products with food coloring, cake color paste
- Non-waxed dixie cups
- Coconut shell (remove the meat by cooking half of the coconut at a time in the microwave for 90 seconds initially, then fifteen seconds at a time after that in order to not burn the meat, cooked coconut pulls easily from the shell)
- Use vegetable tanned leather only (other leather is treated with chemicals)
- Use appropriately sized stainless steel quick links or baby-safe hooks made of plastic)
- Any o-rings should be welded (however normal welding solder contains zinc so use stainless steel solder)
- Register or calculator tape rolls
- Cornhusk (see cornhusk treats for preparation)
- Roast vegetables in 400 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes to bring out natural sugars that will make them sweeter
- Wicker basket can be used to make a transportable perch or a great toy for your parrot
- Grapevine wreaths are great for your parrot to destroy
Remember that no toy is 100% safe so always be observant of the toy’s condition. Loops that your bird could get a toe or head stuck in is a danger. Do not use S-hooks, key rings, or clips to hang toys. Cut off frayed material as it may wrap around your birds toe, leg, wing, or head and injure them. Be sure to check what kind of metal and coloring is used in the toy. Use only natural products and materials. Properly clean or wipe products with warm soapy water dishwater before giving them to your bird. Do not soak wood, leather or rope in water or sanitizer, use sand paper to clean off fecal matter from the toy. Jingle bells can get caught on toes, tongues, and beaks. Some clappers inside of bells can be removed. Always inspect your companion bird’s toy daily to make sure that they are free of safety problems. Toys suspended from the side of your parrot’s cage are safer than those hung in the middle, because of your parrot becomes entangled in the toy they can grab hold of the cage side to help free itself or wait until you arrive to assist your bird.