How To Choose Bird Toys

Bird Toys


How do I choose a toy for my bird?

Most birds really love their bird toys.  Bird toys can provide sensory enrichment and they can ward off bird boredom.  Wood toys can keep birds beak in shape while foraging style bird toys provide your pet with a lot of enrichment.

 If your bird doesn't play with bird toys you may have to teach it how. Using  the positive reinforcement methods found in Clicker Training for Birds, get your bird used to touching the toy,  taking the toy in its mouth and finally playing with the toy. 

What types of toys do birds need?

Your bird is actually playing with toys now you can figure out which type of toys your bird prefers. Some birds prefer wood toys while other birds may prefer plant-based toys made out of palm leaves and vines. The more variety that you can provide your bird, the more enrichment that your bird gets. 

There are a couple of rules, if you will, when choosing bird toys.  The most important thing is to choose bird toys that are the appropriate size for your bird.  

Bird toys made for small birds with a small beak don't need to be quite as sturdy as those that are made for larger birds who can jump through a nut in a matter of seconds.  

If you were to give a small to medium-sized bird a bird toy made for large birds it would probably get ignored.  there would be no way a small bird could shoot through Hardwoods or even get the toy parts in their mouth to enjoy.  A smaller bird might even be able to get its toes or head stuck in the bird toy hardware.


What is the best toy for a bird?

The best bird toy for a bird is one that is safe. Always choose toys from reputable manufacturers who care about bird safety.  

These days, a lot of people buy bird toys on to get them delivered right to their door. There are some brand name, reputable bird toy manufacturers on Amazon and you will usually recognize them because you can pronounce the manufacturers name.

I made the mistake of buying cheap foreign made bird toys or one of my birds and had to throw the toy away because the hardware posed safety risks. 

Observe your bird's play style to determine how rambunctious he is with toys.  Some birds use toys like monkey bars while other birds like to preen and cuddle their toys. Watch your bird when you offer it a new toy to ensure he plays with it safely.

I’d urge you to stay away from rope style bird toys because your bird can end just the string and then suffer from crop compaction.  The string cannot be digested and it forms an infected don't miss ball in the crop which can cause a lot of complications. 

The only string style toy that is actually safe for your bird would be those made with Supreme cotton where the fibers are easily ripped apart.

Inspect Bird Toys Each Week

Plan on inspecting all bird toys every week and discarding the ones that have been used up or are no longer safe. If the bird toy is washable, clean it up.

Just like a kid, birds get bored with their toys after a while. plan on having a variety of bird toys in your bird toy box so that you can switch them out each week. Your bird will appreciate having 4 or 5 bird toys available at all times.

Foraging bird toys offer your bird the maximum enrichment. Foraging is the act of working to obtain food. Wild birds spend the majority of their day foraging for food. They have to fly to the food source fight, figure out how to obtain particular foods  - like cracking open nuts, ripping off the skin of fruits, or even digging in the ground for roots and sprouts. 

Chewing Toys and

Wild birds chew throughout the day, and especially during breeding season when birds are intently tunneling out nests in tree trunks. Chew toys should be the mainstay of toys for birds that show inkling toward them.  Birds love to chew wood and leather.  

Keep in mind that the function of these toys is to chew into toothpick sized pieces. We often hear customers saying “I buy a big toy and my bird just demolishes it!”  That is what these toys are for.  Birds simply need to demolish stuff.  

Chewing is a natural activity for your bird and they must be provided an opportunity to do so for their sanity. Larger birds should be challenged with harder woods while soft woods like balsa, pine or vine based materials are designed for smaller birds.

Exercise Toys

Just like you and I exercise, walk and try to keep our body in condition, your bird, who is equipped to fly miles a day needs toys that promote exercise. 

Swings and Bungees challenge balancing skills building up the wing and chest muscles while ladders and ropes promote climbing to exercise the back, feet and legs. Offering your bird a tree style play stand can really get it moving.  Especially, if you create foraging stations on it.


Puzzles and Manipulatives

Birds are incredibly smart and curious by nature. Have you ever seen your bird untie knots, undo nuts and bolts and open their food doors and dump out the contents just for fun? Educational trick toys and foraging toys satisfy a bird's need to use its mind.

Foot Toys

A parrot's foot is very adept at holding and grasping small items. Check out this close up of a bird’s foot.  It has about 16 joints and adjoining muscles that allow it to grasp, hold and manipulate objects.  Foot toys are designed to exercise the feet and promote dexterity.  They are also a great option for hiding in foraging toys. 

bird feet

So, in conclusion, offer your bird a variety of toys, changing them out on a weekly basis.  Ward off boredom and inappropriate behaviors by occupying your bird with fun, stimulating bird toys. 

Diane Burroughs, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist trained in ABA therapy techniques. She specializes in anxiety disorders and is certified in Nutrition For Mental Health. With over 30 years experience, in a range of settings, she’s created thousands of successful behavior plans to help turn around challenging behavior. Diane got parrot fever in the ‘90’s and founded in 1998. Nowadays, focuses solely on Science-backed Parrot Wellness with bird collars for feather plucking birds, nutritional supplements to support avian wellness, and a range of educational materials to support bird behavior. Diane’s authored a number of books on supporting challenging behavior in birds.

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