Today we're sharing some household items that you can use to make economical toys for your parrots.
A quick word of caution before we dive in. Please remember that not every toy (or toy part) is safe for every parrot. Make sure you are watchful of how your bird interacts with new items you introduce, and that you feel comfortable with anything you give to your birds. You must know YOUR parrot...nothing is 100% safe for every bird.
But remember, the benefits of providing enrichment far outweigh the risks! They can suffer when no enrichment is offered too!
Ok, on to the fun stuff!
Here are 12 household items we've used to make toys and enrichment items for our parrots.
This includes cardboard pieces as well as very small cardboard boxes that you can stuff with toys and treats for foraging. We love the thick layered pieces that you get when you purchase furniture or larger home appliances. You can cut them into squares and stack them on skewers. You can also put them in treat cages for foraging.
Coffee Filters make great puff ball toys. You can also use them to cover dishes to encourage foraging for food (start with a hole punched through it if your bird is a beginner forager). We have a few more ideas for using coffee filters in parrot toys on our Coffee Filter Pinterest Board.
Photo from Kelsey on Pinterest.
Cupcake Liners - You can use them to make puff ball toys or stack them for foraging on skewers. Check out some ideas on our Cupcake Liner Pinterest Board.
Image from How To Raise A Parrot
Drink Carriers - Cardboard drink carriers make GREAT bases for foraging mats...kind of like the ones you see made on seagrass mats.
You can mount them with the cups facing outside the cage and hide toy parts and treats in the cup areas (like the one in the image below). Or you can string a bunch of toy parts to the top of the carrier and mount it the opposite way. We have a link to a how-to video for you on our Household Items Pinterest Board.
Photo from Robin Lineal via Pinterest
Shredded paper is great for stuffing into little boxes for foraging and for lining foraging trays. You can also stuff it into treat cages and small cardboard boxes.
Paper Towel Rolls
Paper Towel Role Tubes can be used in lots of different ways. We especially like these Kabob Foragers and Foraging Balls.
Image from PetDIY's
Ball Image from Instructables
Our Rose Breasted Cockatoo spends hours destroying even the small phone books. You can also use magazines and old books (just make sure you remove any staples first). We like to drape these over the cage bars at the top of the cage, but you can also hang them.
Photo from Parrot Nation
You can use these for making foraging cups. Just put a hole through the bottom of the cup. Then stack the cup along with a larger disc shaped plastic or wood piece and attach with jute or parrot-safe rope. Be sure to clean out the cups well before using.
Image from ParrotUp
Plastic Bottle Tops
Bottle tops from water and milk jugs are great for stacking onto wire, leather rope or a skewer. They make good foraging areas. You can alternate stacking the tops with cardboard pieces to make it a little more difficult for your bird to get to it.
photo from Pawshop.co.uk
Popcicle sticks are great for weaving into seagrass mats. You can also punch holes in them and string them onto skewers or wire.
I also like making the below foraging toy with a paper towel tube. After inserting all the sticks pull them part way out and place a treat wrapped in paper in the middle. Then insert the popsicle sticks back in.
We have a few more ideas over on our Popcicle Stick Pinterest Board.
Straws can be stacked and strung onto wire or cut into 1" pieces and used like beads. You can grab a bunch of straws and cinch a zip tie around them for a foot toy. We also made this cool Straw Foraging Toy using a jumbo plastic straw.
Check out more ideas for straw toys on our Straw Parrot Toys Pinterest Board
Lastly, while this may not be something everyone has lying around, if you have parrots and make toys for them, it will become a staple. Zip ties are amazing for making toys. I especially love to make foot toys with them. You can also use them to attach things to the side of the cage and to seagrass mats. Be sure not to leave the loops too big as they can be an entrapment hazard.
Make QUICK and INEXPENSIVE bird toys using household items and toy parts with our Bird Toy Builder!