If you currently own or have ever owned any type of parrot, you’ll know that these birds are usually extremely playful. Toys for parrots are a must-have in your feathered friend’s cage, play stand or play area! But they do have to be safe: a curious parrot can easily hurt itself with an unsuitable toy.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about why toys for parrots are important, which types there are and how you can ensure they’re safe for your bird.
Why are toys for parrots so important?
Parrots are smart beings with great problem-solving skills, which they use in the wild to find food and to survive. In your home, your parrot will quickly become bored without some kind of stimulation, resulting in stress. This stress, in turn, can lead to unwanted behaviours like feather plucking, excessive screaming or even aggression.
So how do we curb boredom in our birds? With toys for parrots! And that’s a pretty broad concept, given the fact that a wooden clothespin can entertain some parrots for hours.
What types of toys for parrots are there?
Really, anything that doesn’t pose a danger to your bird (when chewed or manhandled) can serve as an enriching toy. Some wood to chew on, a pot of cat grass, unfortunately even items in the home that were definitely not meant for parrot entertainment.
There are also endless toys for parrots out there that are specially made to ensure maximum avian enjoyment. The types of toys for parrots you’ll encounter in your favourite (online) parrot store include:
- Foraging and puzzle toys that may or may not contain slots to place snacks in for your parrot to search for.
- Swinging toys, like swings with bells and colourful beads.
- Climbing toys, like ladders and sisal nets.
- Preening and shredding toys, with lots of shredded paper and other items to rip apart.
- Activity toys, often stacks of colourful items hung from the top of the cage.
- Foot toys, for larger parrots, to hold with their foot and chew on.
- Rope toys.
The above are not always mutually exclusive. There are no rules, so all of these can be mixed up!
Toys for parrots: Potential dangers
With a creature as curious as a parrot, it’s important to think twice about anything you offer it. Any toys have to be 100% parrot proof and not pose a danger when chewed, climbed on, tugged at or more.
Even a toy that was fine initially might become unsafe after some abuse, so it’s important to regularly look everything over. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Dangerous metals. Not all manufacturers take safety seriously, or metals like lead or zinc might be present in household objects that you offer your parrot as a toy. Rust is also a no-no; stainless steel is the way to go.
- The danger of ingestion. Some fabrics can lead to crop impaction if your parrot decides to preen or chew on them, so if this happens, you’ll have to remove a toy.
- Loops. A parrot foot or head can easily get stuck in holes or frayed threads. A toe can be trapped by a small chain link. Anything that’s big enough for a body part to enter, but too small for it to easily get out, has to go.
- Fragility. Some toys, like balsa wood pieces, are obviously meant to be chewed apart. Others can pose a danger when broken, so keep toys that seem too feeble for your bird’s beak away.
- Wood & dye. All wooden toys should be made from parrot-safe wood types and only dyed with vegetable dyes that can be ingested. Don’t be alarmed if the dyes come off. The vegetable dye is not permanent and will come off when in contact with moisture.
Are you unsure about a certain toy? You could consider reserving it for supervised playtime.
Toys for parrots are an important part of enriching life for our avian friends. Many things can serve as toys, but always keep safety in mind!
You can find a wide array of parrot toys in our toy section.
Disclaimer: Remove old toys that show signs of wear and tear and remember that no toy is 100% safe. It’s best to let your parrot play under supervision. You know your parrot best, so it’s up to you to choose toys that you know your feathered friend will enjoy. Our tips are only meant as guidance.