Foraging Trays are easy, fun and inexpensive to put together.
You can buy shallow organizing trays at the dollar stores, Target, Wal-mart, heck even Walgreen's probably has them.
You'll need something to hide stuff in (paper from a paper shredder, purchased paper shred or your shreddable items (popcicle sticks, balsa pieces, beads etc) could also be used to hide anything edible.
The first time you do this you may want to show your bird that you're hiding some yummy stuff in the tray or they may not even attempt to search in it.
Cover the bottom of the tray with the paper shred and then toss in other edible and non-edible items.
Non-edible things you can use are the things I mentioned above plus vine balls, pine cones, plastic toy parts, foam beads, straw pieces, wood blocks and foot toys.
Edible things include dried fruits and veggies, healthy nuts, Nutriberries, dried herb or salad mix.
Once your bird has some practice using the foraging tray you can increase the complexity by adding treats that are wrapped in paper or hidden in paper tubes. You can also put the entire tray into a paper lunch bag and tie it shut, so they have to "unwrap" it before they get to the good stuff. This can also be done by wrapping it with plain paper, like a present.
I also do a miniature version of this for our Meyers parrot Baby. She's a little uneasy about large toys, so this small one was the perfect size for her (it's a small stainless steel cat bowl). At first I just put one or two safflower seeds in the bowl so she'd get used to having the bowl around and getting close to it. Then slowly I added toys, toy parts, pine cones etc., and sprinkle on a few safflower seeds.
If you have a shy or scaredy bird, this method may work for you too!
She uses this tray daily now, which is a huge win when you have a bird that won't really play with anything.
If you're bird still isn't quite sure about the tray, play with it yourself right in front of them. Pick up the shred and say "whee" and look at all the stuff in it. Pull out one of the treats and give it to your bird. If they're totally afraid of it start a step back and put the tray near the cage, pulling out a treat here and there to give to them. Make sure they see that you're getting the treats from the tray.
Does your bird love their foraging tray? We'd love to see your pics!
Check out our Foraging Fun Pinterest board for more great ideas!
Are you looking for...
- Easy, creative toys, foraging and enrichment ideas?
- Tips and tricks for getting your parrot to try new foods?
- Info on parrot-safe vegetables, legumes, fruits, sprouts, nuts, flowers and seeds you can feed?
Join our new group Parrot Up: Food, Foraging & Fun.
We can't wait to see you there!