Bird Safe Wood: Choosing Wood for Perches and Bird Toys

How To Choose Bird Safe Wood

The following image lists bird safe wood and describes how hard the various types of wood are. 

The woods are listed from the softest, which is appropriate for small parrots, to the hardest, which large parrots enjoy.   If a wood is too hard or soft, a bird will either destroy it so quickly that you feel like you're wasting your money, or it might be so hard that the bird doesn't enjoy the toy.

Wood Density Guide for Bird Toys

All sized parrots love to chew wood, but you must make sure to choose bird safe wood. Birds chew and destroy bird toys, especially wood bird toys! Parrots have an instinctual need to chew wood.  Wood bird toys  and perches satisfy the gnawing, chomping need that parrots have, exercising the jaws trimming the beak and comforting the bird.  

It is important to know your woods when picking out bird toys.  Like all bird toys, wood bird toys come in different sizes, with wood densities recommended by parrot size.  A small parrot needs smaller, softer wood types in order to gain the physical and emotional benefits of wood bird toys. Likewise, large parrots with more powerful jaws will benefit from larger individual wood pieces made from denser woods. 

Please purchase wood bird toy parts from reputable manufacturers and experienced bird supply stores, such as BirdSupplies.com  Even bird safe woods that have been made for products other than bird toys may have been treated with wood preservatives or chemicals. Furniture manufacturers often sell seconds on auction type sites.If you are making your own bird toys, remember that NOT ALL WOODS ARE BIRD SAFE.    Avoid Cedar, Red Cherry, Plywood. Oak and especially pressure treated woods.

Bird Safe Wood for Toys and Perches (not a complete list):

Not all wood is safe for birds.  Some woods have toxic properties.  Stay safe and choose woods from this list, especially if you want to make your own perches. Keep in mind, that if you cut your own branches, there may be bugs in them.  You can bake a freshly cut wood perch in a 250 degre oven for a couple of hours to rid it of unwanted pests.

 
 Wood  Density  Bird Size Toy Application
 Pine  52-53  Relatively softer wood, especially when cut across the grain.  Makes great medium sized bird toys.
 Balsa  7-9  Extremely soft wood that is excellent for small bird toys.
 Birch  42 +/-  Moderately soft wood for small to medium bird toys
 Basswood  20-37  Moderately soft wood that is excellent for small to medium bird toys.
 Poplar  22-31  Moderately soft wood that is excellent for small to medium bird toys.
 Maple  39-47  Moderately soft wood that is excellent for medium to larger bird toys.
 Walnut  40-43   Moderately soft wood that is excellent for medium to larger bird toys.
 Ash  33-53   Moderately soft wood that is excellent for small to larger bird toys.
 Apple  41-52   Moderately soft wood that is excellent for medium to larger bird toys.
 Elm  35-50   Moderately soft wood that is excellent for small to larger bird toys.
 Cactus (cholla)    Very soft bird wood with cavities that make good small bird toys, bird perches
Manzanita    Very hardwood best for very large bird toys and bird perches

So, there you have it.  A good list of bird safe wood for perches and toys.