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Homemade Bird Toys

My husband and I have two parrots and I am constantly looking for ideas to make my own bird toys for them. I have come up with several ideas for those of you who have parrots and want to make your own toys. Parrot toys are expensive and end up getting destroyed anyway. So here are a few ideas:

  • Take some newspaper and cut it into strips. Make a paste of a handful of flour and non-chlorinated water in a bowl. Blow up a balloon. Make a paper-mache anything with the balloon. You can even fill the end result with seeds and other treats. My Green-Cheek Conure has almost destroyed the one I made last night!

  • Find some leather ribbon. Make sure it is bird-safe by reading the label and verifying it is free of dyes, except for vegetable-based dyes. Braid 3 long pieces together and knot both ends. At this point, the bird may just want to play with the braid, but he or she may get bored with it after a short period of time. Tie some knots in the braid and thread it through some beads for some extra fun.

  • Make your own stand perch using 1 1/4 inch dowels, plywood, and a 2x4. For the actual perch part of it, I re-used a safety perch that had about half the rough edges chewed off/scraped off. See picture.

  • Shoestring in loud colors is an inexpensive toy and is so much fun for them! My Congo African Grey lives to chew the ends up first and then work on shredding the rest of the shoelace.

  • Thread some original Cheerios through some 100% cotton string. This part takes a while but will provide at least 1 hour of fun for the bird to play and eat. Be careful with the string so the bird doesn't hurt himself/herself by ingesting it.

  • Reuse what can you can when the bird destroys toys with beads. If the beads aren't in too bad of condition, sometimes you can re-thread some cotton rope or leather ribbon and make a new toy for your bird.

Go to specialty animal catalogs/websites, such as Dr. Foster and Smith and PetSolutions through their website and look at toys and try to recreate them yourself! Even if they don't turn out to look exactly like the catalog, your bird will love your efforts anyway.

There is really no such thing as a completely bird-safe toy. All toys pose some sort of hazard so make sure you supervise your bird with his or her new toy. Also stay away from treated wood from hardware stores as the treated woods contain toxins. Additionally, be aware and stay away from toys that have parts that are too small or too large for your bird as they pose the risk of strangulation and/or getting beaks or toes caught in toys. Finally, remember to rotate, clean, or replace the toys as needed. Happy bird keeping!


By Jenni from Lincoln, NE

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August 18, 20100 found this helpful
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My cockatoo loves empty toilet paper and paper towel spools.

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July 27, 20100 found this helpful

Good ideas! I always save any toy parts that are still good after the bird has has their fun with them, and reconstruct and reconfigure to make new toys. Thanks for the article!

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