Toys are essential for your birds well being. Imagine being shut in a small room for hours on end, with just a few chairs. Not fun. Birds are intelligent and need something to occupy their time. If they are not given toys they enjoy, it can lead to behavioural problems, like plucking, screaming and biting.
The first step is to discover the kind of toys your birds likes. There are a lot of toys out there, mostly though, they can be organised into groups. The majority of websites label these as Foraging and Puzzle Toys; Wood and Rope Toys; Preening and Shredding Toys; Natural Toys; Foot Toys; Climbing and Swinging Toys; and Acrylic and Activity Toys. Some toys come into more than one category, and your birds will normally like toys from a few different categories.
Our cockatiels aren’t keen on wooden blocks. I believe this is because they find the majority are too tough for them to break up easily, as they are quite often designed with larger birds in mind. They do enjoy being able to break things up easily with their beaks. Some materials they love in their toys are vine balls, palm leaves, banana leaves, loofah, and similar items. They also enjoy playing with toys on the bottom the cage, as well as their haning toys. Our two also love their foraging toys. When we’re buying foraging toys, we have to keep in mind the kind of thing our birds can cope with – for example, some toys have parts the bird must untwist, or unscrew to get at the treat inside. These toys require more manipulation than our cockatiels are capable of, so they would be unable to separate the toys. When we’re looking for toys for the cockatiels, we look mostly in the Preening and Shredding Toys; Natural Toys; Foot Toys; and Foraging and Puzzle Toys sections. From these sections we can get a large range of toys, made from a range of materials that we know our birds enjoy and that will keep them occupied.
The budgies like different things to the ‘tiels. They love their swings best, they enjoy preening things, and one is beginning to enjoy chewing and shredding raffia and palm leaves. Simple foraging toys also go down well with them, although we’ve only given them homemade ones so far. For the budgies we shop in the Climbing and Swings; and Preening and Shredding Toys sections.
Another thing to consider is the colour of the toys you are giving your birds. Some colours may be attractive to your birds, while others they avoid. For example, Kami loves the yellow coloured piece of loofah we have, but she ignores the orange piece. Most of the toys we get for our birds are natural colours. Other birds on the other hand, may prefer the brighter colours, in which case acrylic toys will probably be very attractive to them.
Although we have found out what our birds favourite toys are, we still buy them other types of toy every now and then to see if they have any interest in them. Your birds favourite toys may change as they grow and develop.