5 DIY Bird Foraging Toys
So, as a bird owner, you want your pet to have the best of everything, but that can get expensive. Between having to be careful about the ingredients in store bought treats and worrying about what materials the bird toys themselves are made out of, you have a lot of things on your mind when looking for the perfect toy for your bird!
Well, why not make your own bird toys? Take the guess work out of buying, save money and your peace of mind! It's really not difficult to do and takes very little time.
Here are 5 DIY Bird Foraging Toys that you can make at home on any budget:
1. A Hanging Chinese Finger Trap Toy:
Do you remember using these toys as a child? To make this toy you're going to have to buy a package of these Finger Traps, which are not at all expensive at all. You can either put dried fruit or nuts directly into the trap and wrap the trap in some kind of bird-safe paper, for an added challenge. Then, using safe, simple raffia, hang it inside your bird's home for a cheap bird toy. This one is especially good for smaller birds that might have trouble getting through thicker cardboard.
2. Coffee Filter Hanger:
Another super simple foraging bird toy! Who doesn't have coffee filters? And, even if you don't, they really aren't that expensive and you can pick them up at any grocery store in your area. Look for the unbleached ones. This idea is similar to the finger trap. Roll your bird's dried food, fruit or nuts up in the coffee filter and, using raffia, hang it from the cage for your birds to pick at. They'll enjoy this one a lot! Also, for another coffee filter toy, try stacking coffee filters atop one another, place a bit of dried food between each layer and let your bird investigate each layer to get to the food inside. Sort of like a coffee filter pine cone!
3. The Dishwasher Foraging Basket:
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Dishwasher silverware baskets are generally used for safe, easy cleaning of baby/toddler accessories (pacifiers, cup tops, etc), but you can use one for your birds! Again, not an expensive addition and easily found in stores or online, so you should have no problem making this bird toy either. What you're going to do is tie the dishwasher basket to the sides of the bird cage with plastic zip ties. Once it is tightly secured you can add fruits or veggies to it! Try putting in things like carrots, celery (remove stringy bits), and kale that will stick up through the top or down through the bottom. Alternatively, you could add more stability to the basket by buying a simple cage addition shelf to give you a stable base. Choose leafy greens, crunchy red and orange vegetables, and nuts in shell if your bird can lift the lid. Remember to remove veggies after a few hours and wash the container.
4. Hanging Fruit:
Easy one here! Just stab some fruit with a stainless steel skewer, thread it through and hang it in the cage for your birds to pick at. They'd be eating hanging fruit if they were in the wild and they can do it at home too! Once again, remove fresh food products after a few hours to keep those pesky bacteria at bay.
5. Wrapper Foraging Toy:
You can use kale, spinach or lettuce here. You're going to put a bit of food in the middle of the wrapper, tie off the ends of the wrapper and there you go. It's going to look like a burrito, but for your bird.
These are just 5 ideas for bird foraging toys and you can expand on them however you please! Talk to other bird owners to find out what kinds of toys they like for their birds and to find more ideas. These are super easy, very inexpensive and take almost no time to create. Your birds will appreciate their toys whether they cost a bundle or nothing at all!
There are some things you need to be aware of when making toys for your bird and here are some issues to keep in mind:
- Use only one (1) strand of raffia (or hemp or whatever you choose to use to hang your bird's foraging toys). Cut it just long enough to get the tying done. Any more than that runs the risk of tangling around your bird and hanging them. A sad, sad thought, but you need to be aware of it and take the proper precautions! Again, only use ONE strand to hang any toy in your bird's cage.
- Be aware of the materials in the things you use for your bird's toys. Zinc and nickle metals can be lethal to your bird over time. Use only stainless, marine grade steel if you're adding things like that to your bird's cage.
- We advise against using paper towel or toilet paper rolls because they may contain unsafe glues. The glue that is used with both those products isn't made to be bird-safe nor are the products themselves made for use by pet birds. Try Birdie Bagels instead.
- Talk to your avian veterinarian if you have any questions about foods that aren't safe for your bird to eat, but know that some fruits have seeds that are toxic to your bird.
- Pay close attention to the way your bird plays with any new toy you introduce to them. Different birds will react in different ways to new things. You need to watch how your bird plays with the toys you've made to be sure they're going to use them in a safe way. Even though the toys listed above are generally safe, it could cause a problem if your bird decides to try and eat a coffee filter or finger trap.
- Don't over-feed your bird. How much you need to feed will vary based on what type of bird you have and their size, but more food does not mean more love. Over-feeding will lead to an unhealthy, unhappy bird and you don't want that to happen. Give your bird the nutrients they need in moderate amounts. Talk to the veterinarian if you have any questions about how much your bird should be eating.
- Finally, the disclaimer. This article has ideas you can use with your birds at home, but it is not the end-all-be-all for information. These ideas are safe as long as you take the necessary precautions, including paying close attention to your bird when they first play with a new toy, but this blog is not responsible for any accidents that may happen. It is up to you to decide what toys are okay for your bird and to make them in a way that is safe for your pets to use.
Have fun making your bird foraging toys and be safe!
- Diane Burroughs