Teach your parrot to enjoy bird toys just like Sierra, our Timneh African Grey Parrot
If you've spent money on parrot bird toys only to find that your parrot ignores them, read on! Because bird toys serve an important need in all pet birds.
Conscientious bird owners know that parrots must have mental stimulation to prevent emotional and behavior problems. But parrots are individuals with individual likes and dislikes. Some parrots have never been socialized well and so they are fearful of anything new. The key to providing bird toys that your parrot will use is to carefully observe what your individual bird enjoys most. Of course, toy preferences change as your parrot matures.
Think about how your bird likes to use his mind. Does your parrot enjoy manipulating it's bird cage lock? Or, does your parrot like walking around on the cage floor looking for what might have fallen under the grate? Does he chew up his wood perches or, heaven forbid, furniture and woodwork? Your answers will provide you with clues as to what your parrot likes to do for fun and what bird toys it might use. There are so many varieties of parrot bird toys available to choose from. Wood bird toys, bird puzzles and props, and even foraging bird toys. You'll find parrot bird toys with different shapes and textures that fascinate different birds at different times in their lives.
Observe your parrot to determine what textures he prefers. Does your parrot favor wood, metal, leather or acrylic? Does he prefer hanging bird toys over foot toys? Does he like bird toys that make noise like parrot bird toys with bells? Does he like leather or shreddable bird toys such as leather strips, palm leaves or paper? Is he a little puzzle buff that likes to figure things out like unscrewing things or breaking out of his cage? Are there items that he ignores altogether? Which bird toys does he come back to over and over again?
If your bird just doesn't show interest in any parrot bird toys, get another person involved. Allow your parrot to watch you and your friend play with parrot bird toys. Irene Pepperberg has noted how modeling / rivaling behavior stimulates parrot curiosity. Your parrot may just need to be shown how to play with bird toys. Have your friend ask you for a bird toy and then manipulate the bird toy while your parrot watches. But DO NOT give your parrot attention during this interaction. Your parrot will become excited about bird toys simply by having you and your friend engage in an interesting flock activity. While you may need to model how to play several times, your bird parrot will soon learn that it is safe and fun to play with parrot bird toys!
Enriching Your Parrot's Life
Engaging a parrots natural instincts can help to develop your birds need play with bird toys. Foraging for food is one such behavior that you can easily develop when teaching your parrot to play with bird toys. Some people find that hanging a wicker basket in the cage to hold foot toys stimulates playing with bird toys. Platinum Toy Works has developed a similar parrot bird toy in the Foraging Bucket pictured above. Try putting some favorite treats such as nuts in the basket or bucket to increase your parrots curiosity! Many bird toys can be stuffed with favorite treats. Some people have found that burying nuts or treats in pine shavings inside the basket or bucket makes for fun.
Or, check out our bird toys and our Mardi Gras Foraging Bucket.