Birds live in the wild, and there are no perfect toys to play with. This allows you to come up with things similar to what the bird would normally interact with. There are DIY bird toys I have made at home and I will share them with you.
Before I do, it is important to remember that some birds have a strong bite, and toys like plastics would become a hazard. Anything potentially harmful can be tethered to a rope to keep your feathered friend safe.
Here are some DIY bird toys to make for your feathered friends.
DIY Bird Toys
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I used to fight with my birds when they would tear through my books and magazines. However, I learned better than to fight them, and now I channel their energy by giving the birds old books to tear through and have fun with. From old phone books to books I no longer find useful in the house, my birds are always excited when there is a book in the cage.
2) Cardboard Boxes
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The exciting thing about cardboard boxes is that the material has layers that can be peeled off. The layers cater to the bird's instinct of foraging and trying to build nests. So a bird will derive a lot of fun with a cardboard box.
3) Crumpled Paper
Crumpled paper is the easiest of all homemade parrot toys you can come up with. All it takes is crumpling a piece of paper, and you are good to go. There are many paper types you can experiment with, and there are only a few limitations to how far you can go.
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The crumpled paper acts as a ball and a foraging toy because the bird is bound to be tempted to find out what might be inside the paper. Since I know my pet birds are too curious, I place have nuts inside the crumpled paper for the birds to keep actively engaging with the toy.
The crumpled paper has many advantages, including availability and cost. First, you will only spend money on used paper. Unlike most materials used to make toys like plastic and metal, paper is disposable.
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While origami is still paper, each origami gives the bird a different kind of challenge each time, making the toys more exciting than just plain paper. I have a lot of fun making origami, giving the bird and myself mental stimulation. I recommend origami bird toys for your bird.
5) Popsicle Sticks
Popsicle sticks are a fun item to choose from because you and the bird will have fun using the stick. The stick feels more natural to the bird because it is wood. The bird can break it or try to peel the layers off.
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Popsicle sticks are a safe choice for the birds as there are no toxic tans and stains on the material. I can highly recommend these sticks.
You can eat less ice cream to get popsicle sticks. You can buy the sticks from a wholesale store and keep them for your birds whenever they need a stick. My parrots are too active, and I can not keep up with the number of sticks they need if I eat ice cream for each stick.
6) Toilet Paper Rolls
Toilet paper rolls have all the advantages cardboards have and more. Toilet papers are rolled up, making them more exciting and challenging than the normal cardboard. The best part about the rolls is that the bird has a lower chance of getting stuck.
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I always give my parrots toilet rolls after they have experimented with cardboard. This way, they will know what to do with the toilet roll.
One of the main advantages of using toilet rolls is that there is no need to buy them because I only have to wait until toilet paper has run out then I can pick up the cardboard roll.
7) Baby Toys
When I go out to buy toys for my infant, I try to look at the ones the parrots can play with. This is one way of simultaneously catering to the needs of the birds and my baby. There are a lot of toys that birds and babies can share.
Since babies grow up fast, there is no need to throw away the baby toys if the birds can use them. Once the bird gets used to the toys, I never have to replace them with bird toys.
There are ropes in my house in large numbers because I own a lot of DIY materials. Once a rope gets worn out and unsafe to tie and hang things, I give it to the birds. As long as the ropes are made of natural fiber materials, I do not have to mind how the bird will use them.
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Ropes with natural fiber have fibers that break easily, keeping the birds engaged and entertained. Therefore, natural fibers are safer than other materials like plastic and nylon. Other materials that do not break easily may cause harm to the birds by cutting them on the beak and getting stuck on the beaks.
Shoe laces are handy when doing many things, including making bird toys. The first of the many DIY parrot toys I made was using a shoe lace and a toilet paper roll. My bird enjoyed the set-up because it could perch, hang, and enjoy peeling the toilet paper roll material.
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I use laces to hang other toys, as our feathered friends love suspended toys. Also, several birds will have more fun on a suspended toy compared to a toy just set on the ground somewhere.
10) Vegetable Tanned Leather
I rarely recommend leather for making bird toys because of the nature of leather's treatment when it is being processed. The dyes used to treat leather and the treatment agents may cause some harm to the bird. The other reason I would not pick leather as my first choice is that leather is expensive and more difficult to maintain.
With all of the leather's shortcomings, I can not dismiss it from this list. However, there are a lot of advantages that vegetable-tanned leather can offer birds. These include a surface to tear and a surface with a more natural feel than what the bird would find in nature.
Please note that vegetable-tanned leather is one of the bird-safe materials you can use to make small toys for your pet bird.
11) Curtain Rings
One way of making fancy and cheap DIY bird toys is by incorporating curtain rings. The one safety measure you have to ensure is that the bird is too small that the body can fit right through the ring. I try to avoid rings smaller than the birds body.
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Curtain rings can adapt easily to the bird cage, making it easier to hang toys. This is one of the tips I have found useful over the years.
Curtain rings are not hard to come across and can be affordable enough to last you the bird's lifetime.
12) Egg Cartons
Egg cartons are one of the best toys inside my birds' cages. Egg cartons resemble cardboard and appeal to the bird's foraging instincts. An egg crate carries about 30 or 32 eggs. This is enough to make me about four or five toys. I can buy a crate as it comes with the eggs I buy from the store.
The crates are fun for the birds to chew on and exercise their jaws regularly.
Tips To Use When Making DIY Bird Toys
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While some of the options I have given above seem straightforward, there are some things you want to avoid doing and things you should consider when making bird toys. So here are a few things to watch out for when making DIY bird toys.
I must consider the material I am using carefully when making a DIY bird toy. For example, if I had to pick between a paper towel and a plastic chain, I would go for the paper towel because that is a material the bird is used to. However, I avoid materials made of plastic because the birds do not find materials as natural as paper, leather, or wood.
Metals are materials I have to be extra careful about. From the metal used to make the bird's cage to the metals used in bird toys, I have to ensure there are no heavy metals in the materials used on the toys.
Luckily, most household items are safe for use and are non-toxic.
b) Bird Species
Some birds love chewing, while others love pocking. Some birds love perching and flying around, while others love being destructive. Knowing the bird, you are dealing with will make developing a toy appropriate for the bird easier.
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Awareness about your pets will always give you an advantage when interacting with them.
Just like you would baby-proof the house, the cage has to be -bird-proofed too. Sharp edges are not good for the bird as cuts can threaten a bird's life.
Toys with sharp edges are even worse because the bird would interact directly with the toy. Therefore, to avoid injuries, all edges of the toy should be blunt and safe for the bird.
d) String Theory
When using stringed toys, it is vital to remember that the best material for stringed-bird toys is natural fibers. A range of fibers can make good ropes, from sisal to cotton and hemp.
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Strings should not be looped so that the birds feet or head will be entangled around the rope. Ropes can pose a lot of danger if they are looped. All the ropes in my bird cages are straight and not looped at any point. If there are loops, they must be large enough to go through my head.
I try to avoid tying ropes are birds want to untie the knots. If I have to tie the string, the knot must be outside the cage.
Birds appreciate the color and use colors to make choices out in the wild. As bird owners, we should know the colors of bird toys if we want the birds to feel attracted to the toy.
The best way to ensure the bird enjoys the toys you give it is to have a reward at the end of a challenge. For instance, I place treats inside the crumpled paper. Then, even if it takes the bird hours to get the treat, it will be immensely satisfying.
Earlier, I compared a flat piece of paper and origami. Birds love form, and giving the paper form through origami is one of the most exciting things for the birds.
h) Bird Size
The best treat you can give a bird is one it can handle. If I give a baby parrot a tough nut to crack, I will not be the kindest person. I have to ensure the birds are playing with toys they enjoy playing with.
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Do not forget that out in the garden, and the birds pick on challenges they can manage and nothing too intimidating. That is why the crow will go for the cat, and the parakeet will go for the swings and loose branches.
i) Hanging Toys
Birds are naturally attracted to hanging things. Therefore, suspending toys will make it more interesting for the bird.
Creating homemade parrot toys has taught me much about homemade bird toys. Wild birds and pet birds have a lot, if not everything, in common, and it is, therefore, wiser to consider the natural tendencies of a bird when choosing a toy for the bird.
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