Animal Diaries Archive
Birds love toys, too!
25 November 2005When our birds are not out flying or getting lots of cuddles from their keepers, we like to give them lots of toys to keep their bodies, and most importantly their minds, active. As anyone with a pet bird knows, buying commercial bird toys can get expensive and with the amount of birds we have, we would need an awful lot of toys. Not only that but some of our birds, especially the macaws and Black Cockatoos, tend to destroy their toys in a matter of minutes. So to combat these problems, bird show staff make our own toys - and this is definitely something that anyone at home could do to keep their own birds happy.
Firstly, start collecting anything and everything from around your house. Natural products are generally the best, as they tend to be the safest. Look for things like branches and twigs from non-toxic plants, bark, strings such as cotton or twine, toilet or hand paper rolls, cardboard boxes, colourful strings and fabrics. All of these items can be threaded or attached onto the string or twine. The cardboard boxes can also be placed whole into your birds’ enclosure. Our larger birds like to shred them and pretty much all of our birds enjoy just sitting inside the boxes. You can also use food items like unshelled nuts (with holes drilled in them), fruit and vegetables to make a food kebab on the string to attach inside your bird aviary.
If you are really game and know your birds’ habitats well enough, you can also use other objects from around the house such as plastic milk bottle lids. Our birds love to chew on them as part of their hanging toys. But you need to make sure that your bird is not swallowing the plastic and also that you do not use harder plastics that tend to split into sharp pieces.
These toys can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. The challenge is finding out what your birds like best. Don't be worried if your bird does not play with the toy straight away. If they are not used to new objects, it may take awhile before they realise that it is not something to be scared of and it is actually lots of fun. Once they do, new toys are a fantastic way to keep your bird stimulated and can provide hours of fun.