A few days ago, I was passing by a pet store and happened to see a couple of parrots in a large cage, trilling and swinging along on a wide swing above the perch. Watching their antics, I was amused and wondered about birds, parrots in particular and their interest in swings.
The birds looked so cute on the swings that I just had to do some research to find out if parrots like swings, and why.
So, do parrots indeed like swings? Yes, most parrots do like swings, because they enjoy the movement and the flow of air in their feathers and wings. Swings give the parrots a good source of entertainment and a natural environment to enjoy. You can tell that a parrot is enjoying the swing if they use it often, making pleased noises.
Parrots are some of the most interactive birds one can keep as pets. That being said, they also need often more entertainment and can start screeching harshly if bored or neglected.
Apart from talking to and spending time with your parrot, giving him/her some toys will help keep the bird entertained. The swing is one such useful medium by which your parrot can entertain itself and have some fun as well as get some exercise.
Why do parrots like swings?
Parrots are known to be talkative and lively birds that can light up the entire atmosphere of a place with their presence. Parrots love to move around, even if it’s in their cage, so there is no wonder they enjoy swings most of the time.
They are also interactive birds, so the swing can stand in as one of its companions when the owner is busy:
- Many birds, particularly parrots bred in captivity, cannot fly. Thus they relish every opportunity to move around and play even in their cages. The swing is great fun for parrots because of this, as they like the speed and movement and can perform somersaults and perch themselves on different parts of it
- Swings are a great way for parrots to remain active and healthy. Since parrots are susceptible to arthritis in their old age, encouraging them to play on swings when they are young will strengthen their leg muscles, chest and wings. It is a fun way for them to exercise
- The entertainment value of toys like swings can be particularly high, especially for parrots. Many swings have wooden blocks and/ or bells attached to them, which makes the birds all the more amused. The presence of a swing means that the parrot has less reason to get bored.
What makes a good swing?
These days, different types of swings are available for birds. As far as swings for parrots are concerned, it is recommended that the material used for the swing should be PVC or mineral as it helps in keeping the bird’s beak and nails clean and in good condition.
For a simple swing, the concept is merely a perch hanging from one hanger you can attach at the top of the cage.
While this kind of swing allows a lot of movement in various directions, an ideal swing would have double hangers to provide more control to the bird and more balance on its own.
It is important that the swing should be big enough to accommodate your parrot comfortably, but not too big if it is a small parrot. A good swing should be made of safe material- stainless steel is a good choice, as it is free of lead and zinc.
Wood such as birch, pine, elm, and basswood also make for good swings just as long as they have not been exposed to chemicals first. If the swing is made of wood, its quality will be assured if there are no sharp bits sticking out, or uneven edges that could hurt the parrot.
A good swing is one that hangs from two points and is hence more stable- this is also more like the traditional swing used by humans in playgrounds.
Many of these swings have detachable parts as they use acrylic balls at the tops, so you can put toys such as small wooden blocks through these hangers. The parrot will enjoy swinging as well as climbing up and down the swing using these blocks.
Among single hanger swings, trapezes and caves are better options than simple ones if the parrot has a habit of plucking its own feathers. Cave swings are covered with rope, which you can get in the parrot’s feathers’ color so that the bird finds it more appealing.
A good swing should definitely have wooden blocks, some chewable toys and ropes attached, so that the bird can chew on them and play with them while swinging.
Another characteristic relating to birds and swings is that the diameter of the swing’s perch should be different from that of the actual perch in the cage.
This feature will help the parrot keep more active and will prevent muscle atrophy in the bird’s legs. Good quality swings come in different diameters and varying sizes to accommodate this very requirement.
You should also have a look at the following swings to provide a good variety of perches in your parrot’s cage:
There is another type of good quality swing that is very simple to make and use. This swing can be made easily at home as well.
It is the twister swing, which is a stiff length of thick rope hanging from a coil. Ideally, this type of swing would come with bells, small toys and accessories attached, to amuse the parrot.
Rope swings should always be made with strong quality natural fibres and in multiple layers so that they don’t fall apart quickly. Ropes with artificial fibre will break down quickly, and make bad swings as you will have to get them repaired or changed soon after using for a little while.
Where can you get a good swing for your parrot?
Swings for birds are available in retail stores and pet stores, but buying them online will save money and time as well. These days there are reputed websites such as Amazon where you can easily buy good quality swings for your parrot and at a reasonable price.
Here are a few good options if you want to buy a swing for your parrot:
BWOGUE 5 pcs combo
This is a set of five different types of swings at a good price. The set includes a double hanger swing, simple swing with beads and bells and other single hanger swings with accessories.
It is a good option if you want your parrot to have some variation and have fun using different swings every now and then. You can get it here.
Old Tjikko Bird Swing
This is a rather different kind of swing for those pet owners who want to give their parrots a special swing.
It is a wooden swing that can be attached to the top or side of the cage to allow the bottom part to swing a bit and the specialty is that one side of it is a mirror, which parrots will love preening in. You can get it here.
RYPET Bird Swing
If you prefer a double hanger swing, this one’s for you and your adored pet parrot. What’s more, it is a set of two swings: one double hanger and one rope swing. The rope swing uses tough rope so that even if your parrot chews on it, it won’t get ruined. You can get it here.
What should be kept in mind while making a DIY swing for a parrot? To begin with, be mindful of the material you use. For the swing’s perch, use good quality wood, perhaps pine. Parrots love to chew on wood, so be sure the wood you use has not been treated with chemicals. Test the swing with objects of variable weight before letting your parrot use it.
Can one swing accommodate more than one parrot and should you let them swing together? Parrots are social birds and very interactive. There is no harm in letting two pet parrots play together, or swing together. Larger swings may be able to accommodate more than one parrot, but in case they do not, you can convert a hula hoop into a swing for several birds.
What kind of material is perfect for rope and fabric swings? If you are making a rope swing, you can use untreated hemp and sisal as they are sturdy and will not cause any harm to the parrot even if it chews or swallows some. Do NOT use cotton or yarn. Cotton would be dangerous if swallowed, and yarn can get entangled with your bird’s limbs or neck.
What other toys can be given to the parrot if it does not like swings? Parrots love chewable toys, so ensure that whatever you give them will not hurt the beaks. Colorful toys like wooden blocks, popsicle sticks, and grinding stones are available in the market. Pinata toys woven with rope, filled with treats are also good options as parrots will love tearing them open.