Parrots are curious
creatures and must have constant mental stimulation
. They also must keep their beak
muscles strong and in proper shape to prevent deformities and starvation. With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for parrot toys:
While expensive, store-bought toys are usually worth their while. Any reputable company will use non-toxic dyes and safe metals and wood materials only. Toys you can hang from the top of the cage are popular as they allow the parrot to manipulate the toy in many ways (swing it, grab it, bite it). They are also nice because you can use them to make new toys after your parrot has finished off the offering.
Wooden blocks on a metal chain or leather string, plastic bals that can be moved around on a stick, and toys in which you can hide a treat for your bird are all winners for mid-sized to large parrots. Lots of toys are edible, making everything much more fun. Smaller parrots, such as the Pionus, Red-Lored and budgies like cuttlebone and mirrors in which they can preen themselves. Even your (clean) car keys will make your baby happy.
When making your own toys, try bells from the arts and crafts store, various shapes of hard plastic, etc. Make sure with the staff that everything is non-toxic, etc. Textured cloth works as well, but make sure that it is tightly woven so that loose strings don't create trouble. For freebies try pinecones and sticks. There's almost an inexhaustible supply in you neighborhood.
Do not let your bird play with the following:
- pencils - the paint contains toxic chemicals and graphite is poisonous as well. Plastic pens are alright if you have discarded the ink cartridge.
- toy race cars - metal and toxic paint
- the walls, moldings, etc. - paint is bad for your bird. Varnish is pretty nasty, too. It accumulates over time in their liver.
- as with kids, keep everything hazardous out of reach. Putting the bleach on a high shelf will not work. Putting it inside a closed shelf or the garage where the parrot is not allowed to go will work.
- Keep the bird away from your hair after it has been permed or colored. Chemical residue and fumes imperceptible to humans are harmful to parrots.