With their strong beaks and active minds, it is no wonder that birds quickly grow unhappy if they are sitting in an empty cage. Since some birds become pluckers and pull out the majority of their feathers when they are bored, it is important that you give birds toys to keep them happy and healthy.
One of the most essential things you should consider when choosing bird toys is whether the toys are the right size for your bird. Toys that are designed for small birds are not always safe for large birds, since their larger, more powerful beaks could break pieces off of toys that were meant for smaller birds.
If you have smaller birds, Olympic rings and swings are extremely popular toys. In fact, if you put both toys in the cage, some of the more active birds will try to swing on both toys at once. Some bigger birds enjoy swings, too, but the majority of them don’t seem to be quite as fond of swings as little birds. If there is enough room, ladders are a favorite with birds of all sizes.
Larger birds enjoy puzzle and maze toys, especially if their favorite nuts are in the toys. They also like toys with leather knots that can be unknotted or any other toys that engage their minds and their bodies.
Birds that pluck do well with toys that can be preened. When they are busy preening their toys, they spend less time pulling out their feathers. If you buy toys with preening strips made with cotton fabric, keep a close eye on the toys. When one of the strips begins to fray, remove it immediately. The threads could tangle around your bird’s neck or toe. Preening toys made with feathers are a bit safer, since they don’t pose the danger of loose threads.
Play gyms for birds are similar to play gyms for children and are just as popular with our feathered friends. You can find small play gyms with a swing, perch and ladder or you can find elaborate gyms with seesaws, treat bowls and climbing ropes.
There are some toys you should avoid. If a toy has a mirror or extremely reflective surface, your bird may become bonded to his reflection instead of remaining tame and friendly with people. Toys with small parts that are not securely attached, such as small, flimsy clappers in cowbells, are also a bad idea. If your bird removes a tiny part and swallows it, there could be fatal consequences. If you buy a toy which does have a cowbell, you may want to remove the clapper ahead of time to be on the safe side.
Finally, just as young children will discard an expensive toy to play with an oatmeal box, birds often are just as happy playing with simple toys, such as tongue depressors, children’s wooden blocks, or paper towel tubes. Just be sure that you supervise them closely to be sure they don’t ingest whatever they are playing with.