Due to their intelligence, your parrot must have plenty of toys for them to play. If you have tried toys specially made for birds and they have no interest in them so what else can you use that’s safe for them to play with?
Can parrots play with baby toys? Generally, baby toys are safe for your birds to play with due to the regulations that are in place for children’s toys. Before bringing any toys into your home for your parrot consideration must be paid to the toxicity and size of your bird.
Read further to understand the basics of what your bird can and can’t play. What parrots are attracted to in the first place and specific toys that are safe for your birds?
Are baby toys safe for parrots?
Typically baby toys are excellent for your bird to play with. While there are general rules to go by when purchasing your bird a toy, it is up to you to understand your birds’ habits and how they behave.
Baby toys themselves are an excellent option for your parrot because they are relatively nontoxic. You can find these toys for pretty cheap at secondhand stores or your local dollar store.
When buying toys second hand, make sure to clean thoroughly before giving them to your birds. Washing the toys with dishwashing detergent or vinegar is perfectly safe for your parrots.
Also, do not buy anything that has been heavily used and threadbare. Anything with exposed inner parts is not safe for your bird to use.
When you first get your bird a toy (this applies to both toys intended for birds and those that are not) observe your pet with the toy to see how they react to it and what danger might come to play.
In the introduction phase, it’s ok to use the toys as a sort of treat, something that you pull out when you are actively playing with them so that you can check out how they play with the toy.
Do not put the toy that is not designed for them in their cage at first. Like with a curious child, you want to make sure they are not interacting with these playthings in a harmful way before giving them free rein on the toy itself.
This method also helps you, the owner, precisely what they like and what they don’t like so that you don’t waste your money in the future.
While there are things that you could avoid when purchasing toys for your bird, ultimately each parrot is different, and only you can tell what is best for them.
Toy material and quality that is safe for your parrot that they will like
Anything that is natural fiber is great for your birds. Wood is excellent for your bird to chew on while not poisoning your bird. Most of the toys that you would find at your local pet store are colorful pieces of wood strung together.
When purchasing toys avoid heavy fragranced wood such as cedar or pine, you can use wood blocks that children play with, such as this wooden rattle, or use the wood to revamp it into a custom toy for your bird.
A word of caution massive blocks of wood such as the blocks with letters and numbers on them are fine if you have only one bird. If you have more than one, it’s best to avoid this massive object.
Birds love to play with colorful beads like these, either made of durable plastic or wood. The beads can either strung together like a bracelet or on their own to chew on. Before buying any beads, consider the size of your bird when purchasing beads.
The best ones for your bird to play with are the chunky beads that children make bracelets and necklaces with rather than the beads that you would find at professional beading or craft store.
You can even make them a bracelet or necklace make sure none of the string is showing. Also when not if, your bird has torn beads off of the string discard or fix it.
If the idea of your bird playing with beads scares you, but you notice that they play with your jewelry when being held then allow them to play with the bead while in your presence so you can observe how they interact with it.
Birds love to play with paper because it is easy to chew on and makes noise (more on that later).
When buying toys made of paper for your bird make sure to stick with baby or children paper specifically because you are less likely to come in contact with toxic dyes that you might otherwise encounter in say tissue paper or glossy magazines.
Cardboard like this is also safe for your bird to play and chew on.
4. Shiny Toys
Your bird loves shiny toys, anything that plays with the light like water. So head down to the girl’s aisle when purchasing toys to get the shimmery and shiny playthings.
Do not get anything covered in actual glitter. I’m sure that your bird would love it, but glitter, as you know, is impossible to get off and while it’s mildly dangerous to you (if you get it in your eyes) imagine what it would do to your parrot’s little body.
In the same vein as shiny toys, these vain little suckers love to look at themselves. Any toy that has a reflective surface or has mirrors embedded in it will have your parrot checking themselves out constantly.
However, keep in mind that not all birds should have mirrors. Some birds can get obsessed with the mirror which can lead to psychological problems. Read more on that here!
Colorful toys make sense if you think about your bird’s natural habitat. Which is also why baby toys make great replacements for bird specific toys. As you get to know your bird, you will realize that they have a favorite color.
The traditional stacking toy is excellent for your bird to learn their colors and to exercise their feet.
Think bells or interactive child toys that ring and or click. If your nerves are fragile, get the simple bells with a soft ring because they will play with these a lot.
You have been warned. An excellent example of a noise toy that your parrot will love is a baby xylophone like this one. It’s colorful, cheap, and your bird can make as much “music” as they want. However, if you like to sleep at night, make it a special toy for them.
Toys made of material are great for your bird to snuggle with when they sleep or to tear apart. Keep the material to natural fibers such as cotton. Any toys that you purchase should not have smaller bits that your bird could pick off and swallow.
Also, keep an eye on how your bird plays with these types of toys. If you notice that they are chewing and swallowing the fabric, it’s time to take it away. Similarly, toss any toy that has been used to the point it is threadbare.
What to keep in mind when choosing a baby toy for your parrot?
Toys that are made for babies can be played with by parrots, but it takes common sense on your part to understand which ones are ok and which ones are not.
It seems evident that any toys that are made to be safe for our children must also be safe for your bird. If you have had your bird for a while, then you know what they might like. For new bird owners buy simple toys for them and then observe what they interact with the most.
First, consider the size of your bird.
The size of your bird is essential to consider when buying baby toys. Playthings made for a baby or toddler might be too big, small or are just too hazardous for your smaller bird.
Such as the link toys that children use. Your bird could get their head or foot stuck in the link.
Parrots will chew through their feet if they remain stuck that way for long periods. It is a survival instinct from the wild to prevent them from starving to death.
Don’t get anything that would present a choking hazard to your bird. So if it has any holes in it, but something that has holes that either way too small for them to try to get into or big enough that they can pop right through.
More minor things, such as the beads mentioned above, should be the correct size.
Threads and fibers could also cause your bird to choke itself. Watch out for any strings or thread that they could get their head stuck. This goes for toys that have fibers attached, such as dolls.
Anything that has been used excessively to the point where the thread is sticking out could cause harm to your parrot.
The toxicity of the toy
Birds have a different system than even your toddler does. Paint and chemicals that might be safe for your baby might be too much for your bird’s system.
Certain metals should be avoided since your bird could get metal toxicity. Metals can not be digested. Instead, it will stay in your parrot’s digestive track continuously poisoning them.
If your bird is lethargic, drinking a lot more than they are eating, and their droppings have a greenish-black color take them to the vet immediately.
Safe metals to use:
- Stainless Steel
- Nickel Plated
If the metal starts to rust, iron, and steel, take it out of the cage since parrots love to chew on everything, it’s best that whatever you use is clean and in pristine condition.
Metals to avoid:
Toys that break apart easily
Toys with smaller pieces inside need to be sturdy enough so that your parrot doesn’t break it apart easily.
Your bird’s beak is a lot stronger than baby hands are, so things that are not thought of as a choking hazard for a baby are made dangerous by the very presence of your bird’s beak.
What the toys are made of
Plastic in and of itself has not been proven to be toxic to birds. However, it’s best to avoid the flimsy types of plastics that they can rip apart and digest quickly.
The vinyl itself might cut into their digestive track or not be digested at all, causing a block in their tract. I could also cause your parrot to falsely believe that they are full and cause them to starve.
If you have a single bird, heavier items are ok. However, if you have multiple birds, try to avoid anything substantial. If one of your parrots is the aggressor, then they could pick the item up and drop it on the other birds.
If you are going to getting something substantial, to make sure that is something that they can’t use to bomb your other birds.
Other toys you might want to consider!
Even though this article is about baby toys for parrots, you might also want to have a look at common bird toys for your parrot! We created a couple of articles on our favorite bird toys below:
Is foam safe for birds? Foam, in general, is not great for your bird. If they swallow the foam itself, it could become impacted, which would result in their death. While EVA foam is considered safer than PVC foam (PVC has a more oppressive smell), even EVA is considered just safe enough for humans. It is too toxic for a small bird’s system.
Is bamboo safe for parrots? Bamboo is completely safe for birds. It is excellent to place in their cages for them to perch or by leaning a piece against the cage. Bamboo can also work as a perch around the house. The live plant is also safe for your birds if you find them in your bamboo plant.
Is yarn safe for birds? It is very dangerous for your birds for two reasons. First, they could get their legs or neck tangled, which could either strangle them or cause them to gnaw off their feet. If ingested yarn, string, twine, or any long piece of long fiber can be ingested and compact their digestive tract.