July 31, 2021

Toys for Parrots: Psittacines Require Playthings to Curb Boredom

 

Why toys for parrots? Parrot toys are absolutely necessary for good physical, emotional, and behavioral adjustment in a captive parrot. (Guide to a Well-Behaved Parrot, 1993, Mattie Sue Athan).

A parrot should not be purchased simply because it has beautiful plumage and would make an interesting topic of conversation when visitors come to the home. Parrots are intelligent creatures that need to do far more than merely sit in their cages and look pretty.

Once a parrot has been brought into the home, consideration should be given as to how to meet its particular needs. Like their human counterparts, parrots feel a range of emotions. Parrots are capable of feeling frustration, boredom, and loneliness. Parrot toys can help to counter these emotions.

 

A parrot has an innate need to chew and shred, to preen and to forage. Good toys for parrots provide opportunities for decision making, intellectual development, physical exercise, the release of aggression, nurturing instincts, and other role-playing behaviors. Toys help to foster avian adjustment for parrots taken out of their natural environments.

Toys for Parrots–Alleviating Frustration

A parrot that has to spend time in its cage while owners are away can become easily frustrated at being confined. While a cage is a bird’s territory and may be a safe haven for eating, bathing and sleeping, it can also become a prison if a bird has to spend long hours inside.

Giving a parrot toys can help to make long periods spent in the cage somewhat easier.

Parrot Toys–Curbing Boredom

Parrots have a natural curiosity so playthings that offer an outlet for inquisitiveness are ideal.

Parrots are “busy beakers” so It is important to give a parrot something to nibble on. Parrots deprived of toys may self-mutilate, turning to their own feathers as a means to relieve boredom.

Many parrot toys are made of vegetable dyed wood that can be safely chewed on.

Toys for Parrots–Curbing Loneliness

While toys are never a substitute for one-on-one human companionship, avian playthings can help to curb a bird’s loneliness when its owners are absent. Some toys for parrots are actually designed for this purpose. A Polly Dolly or faux parrot toy can serve as a substitute avian companion. A parrot will in turn play with, preen and even beat up a Polly Dolly, as a normal part of avian behavior.

Toys for Parrots–Exercise

A parrot in the wild would spend much of its time flying. Exercise helps to keep a parrot physically and mentally healthy. Parrot toys that allow for climbing and swinging are ideal, helping a bird to release some of its restless energy.

  • Olympic Rings (interlocking rings with a bell) encourage swinging activities.
  • A knotted rope can also provide hours of entertainment.
  • Parrot ladders make good climbing toys.
  • Parrot play stands/tree perches are essential items. A tree perch with many branches is ideal. A parrot can climb all over it, hang upside down and shred the bark. A parrot can also use a tree perch for daily wing flapping, which helps to satisfy the urge to fly.

Toys for parrots should be rotated and new parrot toys offered to keep beaks busy and curious temperaments satisfied.