Nita's Nest - Beginning With Birds Toys
A bird kept alone, especially a playful type like a budgie, really enjoys a toy or two in the cage.  It's also a lot of fun for the bird owner to watch his pet at play.  Larger types of birds, such as Amazons or Greys, especially need the physical and mental stimulation of new things to explore.  If you can keep a bird from becoming bored there is less chance you will end up with a bird who plucks his own feathers or screams incessantly.    Birds kept in pairs have each other for company and mutual stimulation, and  sometimes ignore toys in their cage.  I do think they should be given the opportunity of at least one toy in the cage, though.

My cockatiels are usually not interested in toys unless kept singly.  Single budgies and tiels often enjoy a bell.  Budgies usually love mirrors, although this is a rather controversial subject.  Some feel that a mirror will be more important to the budgie than the owner, so if you add a mirror and notice your budgie doesn't want to come out and play as much then take it out. 

A spray millet can be considered a toy for some of the smaller birds, as they like to hang out on the twig-like center after the seeds are eaten.  I get untreated rawhide laces,  and string Cheerios on them after knotting the end, and hang these from the cage.  This not only helps wean young birds such as budgies and cockatiels, but adult birds also love eating the cereal  and playing with the laces.  Larger birds enjoy a block of wood with a few holes drilled into it.  You can see that toys are only diversions for the birds and needn't be expensive if you use your imagination.

Recently we began making wooden devices to hold cuttlebones in the cages.   Not only do they do an excellent job as they were intended, but we also found that our cockatiels absolutely love to chew them up when they are made from plain pine wood.   My husband has made tons of replacement pieces, so they can chew to their heart's content. 
Birds and their supplies have become a big business.  As a result, there are many toys to choose from.  Most bird catalogs group the toys according to the type of  bird they are intended for.  This is a big help if you are just starting out with a bird and want to pick out a few appropriate toys.

Most manufacturers have become very aware of the fact that pet owners now demand very safe toys, and those on the market generally reflect this.  Even so, you still must be careful.  Birds are still injured on toys that are supposed to be safe.  Be sure there is no lead in the toy.  Be sure the bird cannot bite through and ingest small pieces of plastic.  Be aware of anyplace your bird could get a nail or toe tangled in, or a leg band caught on.  I recommend you take plenty of time to observe your bird playing with any new toy to be sure he hasn't found a unique way to get hurt.

All Content Copyright 1998,
Anita M. Golden
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