Entertaining Your Flock

A budgie playing on one of her many toys
A budgie playing on one of her many toys | Source

Contents

  1. Clean Bird!
  2. Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall...
  3. What's That I Hear?
  4. Back And Forth, Back And Forth...
  5. Exercise That Beak!
  6. I'm A Little Birdie Einstein.
  7. Up And Down And Any Which Way I Please
  8. Did You Make That?
  9. Oh, You Shouldn't Have!

Introduction

So you've decided to strengthen your family with a pet bird; maybe a budgie, a cockatiel, a lovebird, or something else. You've read up a bit on what they need, and you've found out that they need the opportunity to play. So, toys!

But what kind of toys? The store offers such a wide variety, and you don't really know which ones are the good ones. And should it even be something the store offers, or maybe something you made yourself? What's okay, what isn't?

You're in luck. There is a great deal to read about bird toys. Stores provide you with a difficult choice: finding the right toys. What they offer is usually okay for birds, if it's in the bird section. Sections 1-7 of this article deal with store-bought toys (or toys in general).

However, you should always examine the toy before purchasing. Is it safe? Can the bird get stuck, either with its head, a paw or toe, or any other way? Evaluate it as if you were buying it for a little child -- which in effect, you are. Safety should always be the number one priority.

You can also choose to make a toy yourself. Crafting time! Yay! Birds again are like children in this matter. You could spend a million dollars on a toy, and it will have a GREAT time... playing with the box. And you stand there, shrugging your shoulders. Of course it's the box they want. Of course!

If you want some ideas on how to make toys at home, look at section 8. You'll find some tips, and I've even provided a video showing you the joy a home-made toy can provide to a bird. I have to warn you in advance though, it's absolutely adorable. You may hurt someone's ears cooing so loudly.

Flippy the Cockatiel taking a bath

Flippy having a bath
Flippy having a bath | Source
Really enjoying the water
Really enjoying the water | Source
Birds also drink the water, so make sure it's clean!
Birds also drink the water, so make sure it's clean! | Source
Source
Source

1. Clean Bird

A bird should always have the opportunity to take a bath. Not constantly, but at least once a week - and if it's warm, daily.

The water should be clean, and contain no soap. You can find bird baths in the store - some you have to place on a surface, others are designed to be hung from the cage (most often from the outside). These baths come in a variety of sizes, so find a bath that's right for your bird.

You could also find a bowl and fill it with fresh water. It's best if the inside of the bowl has a different color from the outside, and the bird can easily judge the depth of the water. Otherwise, they may be reluctant to try it out.

The temperature of the water? Not freezing, obviously, but not hot either. A bird will enjoy a bath that's too cold for us, but the best temperature is room temperature. Try the water with your hand and leave it in for a bit. If it's difficult to keep your hand in, it's too cold/hot. It should feel pleasant. You can also just try different temperatures and see what your bird prefers. They all have their own idea of the perfect bath!

If your bird is very tame, you could also try taking it into the shower with you. Don't put it directly under the stream. Provide a perch (you can also find these in the store, or you can make one yourself) for it to sit on, from where it can enjoy the steam of the shower. That should be plenty of water for the bird to wash itself and have a great time!

If your bird refuses to shower or take a bath, you need to take to misting it. Again, the water should be clean and the bottle sprayer has to be reserved exclusively for this purpose!

If you look to the right, you will see some images of one of my birds, a cockatiel, having a lovely bath. The water is room temperature. I captured these stills from the video I made. As you can see, the water isn't too deep, just up to her body, she has a nice view of the bottom so she can judge how deep it is.

She doesn't have a bath for her cage, since I have yet to find one that fits. The budgie cage does have a bath attached to it, and if they could they would all go in at the same time!

Mirrors

Does your bird have a mirror in the cage?

  • Yes, but it's not addicted.
  • Yes, and I'm going to remove it!
  • No, it doesn't need a mirror when it has me!
See results without voting

2. Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

This is a standard addition to most bird cages, but it should come with a word of warning.

Many birds, especially those kept in solitude, can develop a serious addiction to their mirror. There have been reports of birds who wouldn't even leave it long enough to go eat! So naturally, if you decide to provide your bird with one, you should keep a close eye on it. How much time does it spend with the mirror? If you feel it's too much, get that mirror out!

It's not obligated to have a mirror in the cage, after all. If you're in doubt, remove it. You should provide your bird with attention and love, and free flight time if at all possible. And in that case, it doesn't need the mirror to keep it company. If you can't offer it time outside of the cage, you should still keep it a part of the family: talk to it frequently, give it fresh food as you're going to sit down for dinner, make sure it has things to see and has plenty of entertainment to keep it occupied.

3. What's That I Hear?

Bells!

If you got a bird thinking it wasn't going to make any noise, you were wrong! Many birds love to sing and chatter all through the day, but did you know they also love having an instrument to play with? Bells are available in many forms - and often come attached to another toy! A lot of birds love to even incorporate the bell into their song.

You should always try to provide at least one bell to your bird.

4. Back And Forth, Back And Forth...

Who here never liked swings as a kid? You there, go try one now, because you've been mistaken for a long time and should save your childhood immediately!

As you would expect, being the kids they are, birds love themselves some swings! These come in various forms, some having only 1 point with which they're attached to the cage, others are more stable. Which one your bird prefers may be a matter of personal preference, so don't be afraid to try some out. My birds have swings of all kinds, and I've found they really do have their own idea of what the perfect swing should be. Many try to sleep on the swing!

5. Exercise That Beak!

Did you know a bird's beak, like our fingernails, keeps growing as long as it lives?

For this reason, you need to provide your bird with plenty of opportunity to use it. Many birds love, love, love shredding toys. You should always have something in the cage for your bird to destroy. This will keep the beak naturally shortened, provide exercise and entertainment. There are no downsides to shredding toys - with of course the exception that it has to be safe.

You can buy many shredding toys in stores, but you can also provide one you made yourself, such as an empty roll of toilet paper that you hang in the cage with a rope.

If your bird doesn't immediately start shredding it, don't worry! It takes many birds some time to understand what it's for, but at one point it's going to grab it with its beak, and discover the joy that is ultimate destruction!

6. I'm A Little Birdie Einstein

Birds are extremely intelligent creatures, but they need to be challenged in order for that intelligence to shine.

For this reason, you need to provide your bird with challenges of all kinds. Stores offer toys that will have your bird needing to solve a puzzle to get to a treat, but you could also hide seeds and other yummy things that your bird then has to find before it can enjoy it.

This is a great way to prevent boredom in birds, and you'll be surprised just how smart that little featherball really is.

7. Up And Down And Any Which Way I Please

You may not yet know this, but birds usually live in trees. Yes, I know, it's shocking!

And trees mean lots and lots of climbing. So it's no wonder birds love to climb, and loves toys that provide climbing opportunities - ropes, ladders and so on. Look at the budgie in the first picture up top: it's having a great time climbing! Again, this provides a great variety of exercise and helps to keep your bird happy and healthy.

Home-Made Toys

Do you buy your toys in the store or make them yourself?

  • Store-bought
  • Home-made toys
  • A bit of both!
See results without voting

8. Did You Make That?

As I stated before, you can buy a great many of these toys in stores. They're sometimes very cheap, but often very expensive. Especially if you want to provide your bird with a shredding toy. You'll need to replace it very very often, as it gets destroyed, and it can feel like you're throwing your money away.

And you wouldn't be wrong, since most birds are deliriously happy if you make them something yourself. I made my budgie Nala a toy with something I had left over - a small cardboard box that used to contain a bottle with vitamin drops for birds. I made some holes in it with a pair of scissors; put seeds, small pieces of paper, safe rope, some nuts, etc... in it and hung it with a rope on the cage. It's the most fun she's ever had!

Attached for your viewing pleasure, and to prove home-made toy doesn't mean ignored toy, is a video of her playing with it. I captures a few minutes, but she started hours before this, and she kept going for days after!

Home Made Toys Are Great!

9. Oh, You Shouldn't Have!

With birds, it's very important to rotate the toys every once in a while. Buy a new toy if you find something fun or have some spare money. If you're bored, try to come up with a great new toy that you can make yourself. You should have enough toys that you can put a nice variety in the cage and still have some to spare.

That way you can rotate the toys once every week, or every couple of weeks as you see fit. Birds are particularly easy in this regard. When you rotate the toys, they'll see it as completely new! They may recognize the toy, but they'll play with it as if it were their latest present. Since they often use their beaks to entertain themselves, destroying their toys in the process, a frequent trip to the store to get new toys is no luxury.

If you follow the tips in this article, you should find yourself with birds that are well-adjusted, confident, happy, healthy and smart!

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Comments 2 comments

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

I just got myself a bird today, haha. Toys are very important for them. Voted up!


Kelly L. Wicker 21 months ago

New parent to two budgies. I am a sponge in regards to reading all i can about these tiny parrots! Thank you for making this information available.

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