According to experts, toys for pet birds are just as valuable as their food. Bird toys play an essential role in keeping them healthy.
The importance of toys for your pet bird!
Birds need to forage food in the wild. While foraging they chew nuts, seeds, pods, grasses and fruits. Unlike wild birds, pet birds are not required to forage for food. They find their food without putting in any effort or competition. As a result, in cages, their days become extremely monotonous.
Monotonous birds are more likely to have behavioral issues. These behavioral issues include:
- constant screaming for longer time, more than 5 minutes.
- biting, tries to bite everyone including whom it is bonded.
- plucking issues etc. Out of boredom, they become destructive. They harm themselves physically by picking their feathers.
- They swing their heads repeatedly.
- Always wants to be with caregiver.
Why are bird toys necessary?
According to experts, toys for pet birds are just as valuable as their food. Birds have an IQ like 2-5 years toddler; they need to be actively engaged. To keep them engaged, foraging and other stimulating activities like chewing, shredding and playing need to provide.
In captivity toys can provide such an environment to keep beak and nails occupied. A good selection of toys will keep them entertained for hours. These contribute to the bird’s fitness and enjoyment.
What health benefits do toys provide?
Chewing things are in the DNA of birds. The common instinct of birds is to break objects apart using their beaks. In the wild, they have plenty of things to chew, shred or tear.
To mimic such an environment of chewing, shredding or tearing breakable toys are great option. Letting the birds chew on the toys and perches helps them to keep the beaks in perfect shape and satisfy the bird’s desire for forage.
Instead of sitting idly on the perch, toys make the pet birds pass most of their time remaining on their feet. This helps them remain active and get exercise. This also stops the bird from gaining fat.
An engaging atmosphere for pet birds is necessary for mental health. To provide mental stimulation, puzzle solving activity is a good option for birds.
How to choose toys for pet birds
Choosing toys depends on the species of bird, personality traits, preferences, and size. Some like to climb, some love swinging. My Zebra Finches like anything I put in their cage. They will try to use it as nesting material.
As rules, bigger birds like grappling and chewing on toys. Bells, mirrors, and swings are favorites of smaller birds.
How to choose safe toys for pet birds
Toys that is too small for large birds can cause them to choke. On the other hand, toys that is too large for smaller birds may cause them to become frightened.
Unfortunately, several birds die prematurely as a result of toys. So, it is necessary to provide safe material toys to birds.
You may find a lot of poorly build, inappropriate, commercially produced toys and rope perches. Many birds become sick as a result of chewing on tassel, rope toys and woven rope perches. Although, that tassel, rope toys or woven rope perches have been sold as bird safe.
Some nearly dead birds are brought to emergency and on post-mortem examination; fiber blockages of the bowel and stomach are found.
Fiber ropes like cotton, jute, etc. that is 100% natural should be used for bird’s toys. Rope toys are safe because they keep the bird’s beak and nails trim.
Inspect bird’s rope toys regularly by cutting back or discarding rope from toys. Otherwise, frayed rope toys pose a threat to birds.
Bird Safe Wood
Ensure that the wood in your toy and perch comes from a safe tree such as Pine, Bamboo, Beech, Basswood, Dogwood, Douglas fir, Maple, Walnut, Apple, etc. The color of the wood should be non-toxic.
Toys made from the wood of Cherry, Cedar, Oak, and Plywood trees are unsafe for birds.
The chain for hanging toys really should be soldered instead of using open links. The unsoldered chain has sharp edges and a confined opening. These cause cutting the toes of the bird.
Links should be in safe size or it will cause breaking of nails, toes, and legs. While playing, a large chain length may harm the bird by wrapping it around the neck of the bird. So, the length should be the optimal size.
Split key rings, metal showers or spring-loaded clips as fasteners are unsafe for the bird. These small things will cause a beak injury.
Quick-link and pear-link fasteners with toys are less likely to cause harm.
Brittle plastic toys or hard plastic toys that are designed specifically for parakeets and cockatiels are unsafe for large birds.
Is Leather safe for bird
Only vegetable-tanned leather is preferred. Dyed leather are unsafe for birds. Soiled or wet leather should be replaced or it will cause bacterial infection.
The ring size of the toys
The ring size should be appropriate
or the head of the bird will be stuck into it.
Cow or liberty bells are safe for birds. Jingle-type bells are unsafe because toes might get caught and cut in the opening.
Hanging type is not safe if your bird is particularly rough with his toys, putting himself in danger by wrapping around its neck. In this case, bolt-on types are a safe option.
Where to place toys for pet birds
Be careful about placing toys inside the bird cage. Depending on the nature of your bird, select them for inside or outside the cage activity.
You also need to decide which part of the cage you want to keep them. Ensure your bird’s cage is large enough to accommodate the new one.
Bird toys that are put outside the cage will be bigger and more extensive than those kept inside.
When a bird is in its cage, it should be able to fly easily from one end to the other. Flying is a common activity for birds, and they should be able to do so whenever they want. This means both large birds and small birds need pretty large cages.
First, check if you have a cage that is the right size for your birds. Identify a “flying section” of the cage (usually the top half) and keep all hanging bird toys out of it. In the lower half of the cage, set a corner or zone for bird toys.
How many toys are enough
Don’t fill the cages. Most birds require no more than two to three at a time to keep them occupied. Change it regularly otherwise they will become bored!
How often should I clean
Cleaning should be done on a regular basis. Otherwise, your bird may get stomach infection from it. If toys are contaminated with poops immediately remove and clean it.