Can parrots play with cardboard? If you are a long-time parrot owner, you might be familiar with how much parrots love to play with cardboard. In fact, they love picking at cardboard so much that if you have a piece lying around in the cage, any other toy would end up being ignored. But is it safe for them?
Can parrots play with cardboard? It is okay to let your parrot play with cardboard. It may even ingest some of it, but this does not cause any serious harm. However, there are trace amounts of toxic materials that can be found in cardboard. Therefore, you should always monitor your parrot when it is playing with one.
Which is why in this article, we are going to discuss if cardboard can be used as a toy for your parrot. At the same time, we are also going to know if it is safe for your parrot to play with. Ready to know if you can save a bit of money on parrot toys? Then keep on reading!
Can Parrots Play With Cardboard?
Yes, they can most definitely can! In fact, a lot of people tend to use cardboard as the default foraging device. This does not save a lot of money but it is also a good engagement activity for your parrot.
The reason behind this is that playing with cardboard closely imitates what these parrots do in the wild.
It does not even matter what type of parrot you have, it is guaranteed that if you have cardboard inside its cage, it will play with it. This type of play can be done via foraging, meaning, they can scratch the cardboard and pick at it.
Or it can also be rough play, where they get a piece and throw it around.
A lot of studies show, that in the wild, parrots take twigs, leaves, and other similar objects back to their nest or tree to somehow decorate their claimed area. More importantly, they put those things there just for fun. Therefore, whenever they get bored, they have something to play with.
One thing is for sure, your parrot knows that it should never ingest cardboard. Fascinating is it not? Parrots are such unique and intelligent creatures that they are aware that cardboard should never be eaten.
However, there are just those times when the parrots themselves are unaware that a little piece got left inside their bill, which will eventually lead to them swallowing it. In this case, will your parrot be okay? That is what we are going to find out next.
Is Cardboard Safe?
In general, it is safe for your parrot to play with cardboard. However, there are slight concerns that you should also be informed about. The answer lies within the cardboard manufacturing process.
Majority of cardboards are made of wood pulp that came from pine trees. Before the manufacturing process, this raw material looks like very runny oatmeal. The next step is to get it heated and then it is pressed into paper sheets.
There are also different types of cardboard and with that, they also have different manufacturing processes which may or may not be good for your parrot. Here are some examples:
Single Ply Cardboard
This is the type of cardboard that is used for a lot of food packaging. What is so unique about this is that it does not contain glue. Glue is only used when the boxes are assembled for specific food packaging.
This type of cardboard, along with its glue is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Meaning, the final output of the cardboard, as well as the glue, should be declared as food safe.
Therefore, this is the type of cardboard that is the safest for your parrot to play with since it has a certification that it is safe to ingest small amounts of cardboard and glue.
Cardboard Containers With Ink Or Wax
There are also cardboards where vegetable oil wax or paraffin are sprayed at the exterior. This is done in order for the cardboard to get a smooth surface so the ink can easily attach to it.
At the same time, the wax that was sprayed protects the cardboard from getting damaged from different kinds of liquids. In terms of the wax, they are also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so they are at least of food-grade quality.
However, the ink is a different story. Generally, ink is toxic to birds and the FDA does not regulate them. Therefore, one cannot be sure if the ink that is on the cardboard is safe to be ingested or even exposed to your parrot.
This is the type of cardboard that is typically used for shipping containers since they have multiple paper layers. Glue is used in this manufacturing process so that it can bind the many layers. Therefore, it is highly likely that it has zinc in it which are toxic to birds.
Further, there are other manufacturers that use a little amount of borax in their adhesives. This is also known to be toxic to birds. As for the United States, it is assured that there is no borax as the use of it is banned in cardboard containers.
It is not often that parrots experience paper impaction since as we discussed earlier, they know that paper should not be eaten. However, this might happen to baby parrots who are still in the weaning age.
The reason behind this is that they still cannot properly determine things that should not be eaten.
When paper impaction occurs, it may lead to impaction of the proventriculus, ventriculus, intestines, or the crop. This can only be corrected through surgery. But you do not have to worry because adult parrots know how to chew properly before swallowing.
On that note, it is easier to prevent impaction rather than correct the problem with surgery. Therefore, if you really want your parrot to play with cardboard, you have to keep an eye on them just to be on the safe side.
Cardboard Toy Ideas
Parrots love to play with cardboard so much so that even though you just give them a piece of it, they can play with it hours on end. Here are some ways to elevate their playing experience.
Folded Single Ply Cardboard
Parrots are such inquisitive birds and they like brain teasers a lot. So instead of just putting cardboard in their cage, you can cut some pieces and fold them in different shapes.
In this way, your parrot has varying experiences of picking up the cardboard and it will figure out a way on how to straighten it out so it can pick at it properly.
Your parrot will love to play with shredded cardboard as it will not only get to pick at it, but it can also do some scratching.
You might be even surprised that your parrot used the shredded cardboard to decorate some parts of its cage. Shredded cardboard can also be a nice birdcage bedding. We show you the best beddings for birdcages in this article!
There are a couple of baby toys made from cardboard. Well, parrots cannot only play with cardboard, they can also play with other types of baby toys. We show you which baby toys are great for parrots in this article!
Is it safe for my parrot to eat cardboard? Yes, but your parrot inherently knows that it should not eat cardboard. Your parrot’s body can process a small amount of paper, just as long as it was properly chewed before it was swallowed. Still, parrots should not ingest too much of it as they can get impacted from it.
Are toilet paper rolls safe for parrots? Yes, but you should be mindful of the adhesives found in them as it may have zinc which is toxic to your parrot when ingested in large quantities. To be safe, cut the toilet paper roll and see if there is any glue in it before giving it to your parrot.