You already know that you need a LOT of toys to keep a parrot entertained if you have a parrot or several parrots. If you’re thinking about getting a parrot then get ready to hire a staff of Santa’s Elves because you’re going to need them. Most parrots love to destroy toys. This is a healthy, necessary, and required behavior. After food, water, and your attention, toys are probably the next most important things in your parrot’s world. Toys are not an optional accessory for you parrot; they are essential. Toys provide mental stimulation, physical stimulation, and keep your parrot’s beak trimmed.

Parrots spend a lot of time searching and foraging for food in the wild. This entertains them and stimulates them. In your home, the toys provide the necessary means for your parrot to entertain itself. Toys also provide the mental stimulation required by your parrot. Some experts say that the parrot’s emotional level is similar to a 2 year-old child. They also say their intelligence is similar to a 3 year-old child. So stimulating toys are just as necessary for you parrot as they are for a 2 or 3 year old child. top toys for christmas

There is also another more tangible reason for providing toys for your parrot. Toys are required to keep your parrot’s beak trim. The beak is always growing much like out fingernails. Your parrot’s beak will become overgrown without something to chew on. This will require a trip to the vet, toweling, and filing of the beak. This is stressful to the parrot and can be avoided by providing toys for your parrot to chew up and destroy.

2 – What Are the Types of Toys?

There are several types of toys. These are general categories and some toys fall into several of the categories. Some are designed to give your parrot mental exercise such as Puzzle Toys. Some are designed to give your parrot physical exercise such as Exercise Toys, and Grasping Toys. Finally, some are designed to give your parrot a healthy beak and healthy feathers such as Chew Toys and Preening Toys.

  • Puzzle Toys – These are typically puzzles with treats inside them. They encourage the parrot to solve the puzzle to earn the treat. Some are simple lids on boxes and some are complex and require the parrot to unscrew nuts from bolts to open a treat holder.
  • Exercise Toys – These are typically rings or ladders that encourage your parrot to climb, hang, or swing.
  • Grasping Toys – These are “hand” held toys and other toys that encourage your parrot to hold them while playing with them. This encourages your parrot to exercise its “hands”.
  • Chew Toys – These are for shredding. They keep your parrot’s beak trim.
  • Preening Toys – These are typically hanging toys that encourage your parrot to preen them. The theory is that if your bird preens it’s toys then it will be encouraged to preen itself. Preening is necessary for your parrot to maintain healthy feathers.

3 – Important Toy Safety Issues

There are several things to avoid when buying or making toys. These include safety issues with your parrot consuming the toy and other physical safety concerns. Some materials to avoid include toxic inks, staples, rubber, Styrofoam, soft plastic and costume jewelry. These items are potential dangerous items if your parrot ingests them. There are also items that pose a physical danger. These items include key-chain rings, frayed ropes, and a crowded cage. Key chain rings can potentially get caught on you parrot’s beak or their nails. Frayed ropes are also potentially dangerous if your parrot’s feet get tangled in the frayed ends. Finally, a crowded cage can be dangerous if your parrot doesn’t have room to spread its wings.

Leather strips are often used to tie toy parts together. If you’re using your own leather strips then make sure they are not dyed, tanned, or treated in any way. If there is a doubt then don’t use it. Glue is often used to glue toy parts together such as Popsicle sticks. Make sure you use a non-toxic glue such as Kid-Safe glues if you use glue and use as little as possible.

Glues should be avoided when making toys unless necessary. A “Kid-Safe” glue that is non-toxic should be used if required and you should use as little as possible.

One final consideration regarding safety is toys mixed with food or treats. Some toys have treats in them or fastened to them. This is acceptable and this type of toys is one of the parrot’s favorite toys. However, flavoring toys with food can be dangerous and should be avoided. This happens when some people make toys and want to color the toys. The coloring should be non-toxic and food free. If it tastes like food or a treat then your parrot may consume it. If you want to dye wood blocks then use a nonflavored coloring for the same reason. Some people recommend food coloring or unsweetened Kool-Aid to color your wood blocks.

4 – What Makes a Toy a Good Toy?

There are several factors that make a toy a “Good Toy”. The most important factor is that the toy must be safe. The previous section listed some materials to avoid. This section lists some characteristics that make a toy a “Good Toy”.

  • Colorful – Parrots can see colors.
  • Chewable – This will help keep their beak trim.
  • Different Textures – Parrots “feel” with their beaks and can distinguish different textures.
  • Appropriate Size – Buying or making your toys the appropriate size is a key consideration.
  • Mentally Challenging – The toys should be mentally challenging such as Treats inside Toys.
  • Quick Links – Also called “C clips” or “C clamps”. They have a screw fastener and are shaped like a “C”
  • Moving Parts – Parrots love a lot of moving part and swinging parts.
  • Makes Noise – Parrots love bells and musical toys.
  • Puzzles – Some “puzzles” are simple (lid on a box) and some are very complex.

5 – Where Can I Get Toys?

Now we know what makes a dangerous toy and what makes a good toy. There are a few places/means to get toys. You can purchase them at pet stores or on the Internet. This is the easiest and most convenient way to get toys. You can also build your own toys. These are referred to as DIY (Do-It-Yourself) toys. This is the cheapest way to get toys. Finally, you can do a combination of buying, building, and recycling which for most people is a happy medium.

Buying toys at pet stores or online is very convenient. There are two key considerations necessary before buying the toys. These are material and size. Toys come in a variety of materials and are often a mix of the following materials. The common toy materials are wood, rope, leather, acrylic, and metal. All of these materials are safe. However, you should check each toy to ensure that there aren’t other hazards such as entanglement (frayed rope or clips) or ingesting hazards (small parts). The size of the toy is also a key consideration. Most pet stores recommend what toys should be purchased for what size of parrots. However, there isn’t an industry standard in “sizing”. Check the size of the toy and match the size of the toy with the size of your parrot. A general sizing is small (Conures & Pionus) , medium (African Greys & Amazons), and large (Macaws & Large Cockatoos).

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