Published Date: Jan 2024


Birds, just like humans, need stimulation and entertainment to keep their minds engaged. However, as pets, they rely on their owners to provide toys and activities to prevent boredom. In this article, we will explore the different types of bird toys available and tips to select toys that are safe and encourage natural bird behaviors.

Why Are Bird Toys Important?

Birds are intelligent creatures that need mental and physical stimulation every day. Without interesting toys, they can become stressed, depressed or develop destructive behaviors like feather plucking. Toys provide important outlets for natural bird behaviors like foraging, chewing, exploring and shredding. They also prevent boredom by keeping birds occupied when their owners are away. Much like exercise helps prevent obesity in humans, toys ensure birds stay physically and psychologically healthy.

Types of Bird Toys

There is a vast variety of toys available to cater to different bird interests and playstyles. Here are some popular toy categories:

Chew Toys

Birds have a natural tendency to chew and shred. Provide soft, untreated wood chew toys of various shapes and sizes. Rotate toys regularly to maintain interest. Other chew options include pine cones, wicker balls, cages made from untreated wood. However, avoid toys with strings or ribbons that can pose a digestion risk if ingested.

Foraging Toys

Foraging comes naturally to birds in the wild as they search for food. Simulate this with foraging toys filled with treats like millet, popcorn or nuts. Choose toys with multiple small openings rather than single large openings to increase challenge. Examples are puzzle toys, mats, blocks or feeding boards. Hang these toys around the cage to encourage exercise through natural searching behaviors.

Swing and Perch Toys

Provide birds with toys that utilize their natural instincts to climb, hang and bounce. Include swings, hanging mirrors, ladders, ropes, bells or other toys mounted on perches or cage walls. These interactive toys encourage exercise and exploring. Opt for multifaceted toys with textures, colors and sounds to continuously engage birds.

Shredding and Destructible Toys

Parrots especially feel gratified tearing apart toys. Offer toys made of kraft paper, untreated cardboard, fabric or rope that can be pulled apart and shredded. Place these central to encourage natural preening and shredding tendencies. Provide fresh shredding toys frequently to prevent boredom.

Mirror Toys

Some birds enjoy interacting with mirrors and reflections. Hang small mirrors around the cage for visual stimulation. Supervise carefully as overly energetic mirror responses may lead to feather plucking in some cases. Rotate mirrors with other toys to prevent fixations.

Choosing Safe Bird Toys

While toys enrich bird lives, some popular choices contain materials that can prove harmful if ingested. When selecting toys, keep these factors in mind:

Non-Toxic Materials

Avoid any toy containing materials like wood from unknown sources, felt, plastic, yarn or fabric dye that may contain toxins. Stick to natural untreated wood, paper, rope or grapevine.

No Small Detachable Pieces

Destroyed toy pieces pose a choking or blockage risk. Ensure all toy components, even those marked for smaller bird species, are too large to fit entirely inside the bird's mouth.

No Metal Components

Metal toys can rust, leaving dangerous residue or sharp edges in the long run even if initially appealing. Plastic or wood toys are safer choices.

Durable Construction

Toys must withstand vigorous bird usage without breaking into unsafe pieces. Discard toys showing excessive wear and tear.

Supervision When Introducing Toys

Watch birds closely with new toys until you understand their reaction and playing styles to prevent potential hazards from certain toy types.

Rotate Toy Selection

Keep introducing new, different toys every few days to maintain curiosity and prevent fixations on single toys. A mixture encourages natural foraging instincts through constant exploration.

Encouraging Playtime with Toys

Just providing toys isn't enough - you must actively encourage natural play behaviors:

  • Place an assortment of toys around all areas of the cage for easy access during active hours.
  • Observe and understand favorite toy types for specific bird species or individuals. Cater the toy selection accordingly.
  • Interact with toys yourself to excite birds into joining. Move, twist and make noises with interactive toys.
  • Praise and reward birds noticing or playing with toys to positively reinforce the behaviors.
  • Set aside dedicated toy playtime when you involve toys more directly in training sessions.
  • Consider "feather or food" enrichment strategies leaving treats within foraging or puzzle toys.

With the right variety, rotation schedule and play encouragement, birds will stay happily occupied even when home alone. Choosing safe, stimulating toys makes a huge difference to their physical and mental well-being.

In summary, toys provide essential outlets for natural bird behaviors and prevent boredom from setting in. With some research into different toy types, material safety, supervision tips and play encouragement strategies, every bird owner can provide enriching entertainment for their feathered friends. Let me know if you need any other tips on selecting or using the best bird toys!