Toys certainly do dress up a cage, but did you know that your parrot needs toys to stay healthy? It’s true! Access to toys is critical to his or her well-being!
Toys keep beaks and minds sharp! They keep our birds active and engaged. Most people associate toys with a parrot’s beak, but parrots also use their awesome zygodactyl feet to work with toys. Having two opposable digits on each foot allows your parrot to grab, hold, hang from or climb on toys, which is why toy size and shape are so important. Remember, toys keep feet healthy, too!
New toys inspire a variety of reactions from our birds. Parrots are naturally curious, but they’re also naturally cautious. When introducing a new toy, watch your bird carefully. A bit of trepidation is ok, but if your bird is terrified, take the toy away and place it somewhere nearby. Give your bird a chance to observe the toy from a safe distance for a week or so, then try again. Be sure to stop and play with the toy yourself, so that your bird learns that the toy is safe – and fun!
Other parrots won’t even wait for the quick link to be tightened. They’ll climb over their humans to get to a new toy! Claiming new loot is a process. The toy has to be examined visually, turned and manipulated with the feet, and explored with that unique tongue. If the toy meets with your bird’s approval, he’ll start working it with his powerful beak. Remember, when a parrot destroys a toy, it means he likes it!
Toys come in a variety of textures to help satisfy natural instincts. In the wild, most parrots build nests by using their beaks to bore holes in trees. They find food by climbing and hanging off of tree branches and tearing things apart. Carefully chosen toys help give our companion parrots opportunities to engage in similar behavior, on a much smaller scale. If we’re going to bring parrots into our homes, we have to do everything we can to keep them healthy!
Wood is great for wearing down beaks. Bird-safe plastics and acrylics are more durable, and are often used to make foraging toys, as they’re easy to clean. Cardboard, paper and other shreddable materials satisfy a parrot’s need to rip and tear, but can encourage nesting behavior, so be on the lookout. Foot toys are especially important for the medium and larger species. Hanging toys and toys that can be attached to the sides of cages are great for birds of all sizes!
A simple toy that is often overlooked is the hanging stainless steel skewer (Sm, Med, Lg, available for $10 or less on our Web site). These can be washed and re-filled daily with a mix of food and toys, and require your parrot to climb and work for her food. Eating while hanging upside down is perfectly fine – if you’re a parrot!
Parrot Toys USA is a unique resource for parrot owners. Our staff has spent decades educating customers about parrot toys, and the toys that we sell are bird tested and approved! If you have questions about toys or toy safety, we’re just a click away. Let us help you bring home toys that are wild! Thanks for shopping with us!