Breeder's of Eclectus Parrots, Timneh African Grey, Great Billed Parrot, Cape Parrot
Games to Play With Your Parrot
There are many books on parrots that are full of ideas of games we can play with our feathered friends. Our parrots enjoy and need this interaction. Through play we teach them many things.
Peek-a-Boo. Once your parrot learns peek-a-boo you can add a variation where you use a towel. You can use this game to help your parrot get used to the towel.
Shake a Claw. Once your bird knows how to do this it will help to train them to allow you to clip their claws.
Pretty Wings. The parrot learns to spread out it's wings and be pretty. Eventually this will help you when wing clipping time comes.
Imitation. Parrots like it when you imitate them and they often turn this into a game.
Gravity. Parrots like it when you pick things up for them and they also turn this into a game.
Singing silly songs. An example is the five little pigs go to the market and play with your parrots toes while you sing the song.
As you spend time with your parrot you will come up with all kinds of games to play. It just comes out of everyday events. Tag, hide n' seek, I'm going to get you, wrestling with stuffed toys that squeak, tug of war, etc.
Here are some websites with ideas for games:
Parrots need lots of mental stimulation and toys to keep them busy, out of trouble and happy. It's important for parrots to learn to entertain themselves. Ideally, you should have lots of toys to rotate. Make sure you inspect the toys to be sure they are safe and thoroughly clean all toys before you give them to your parrot.
There are many different types of toys. There are toys that are for the parrot to destroy like piñatas. There are toys that make noise. Often toys made for small children are good for this, just make sure there is no way the parrot can hurt himself. Play School staking cups, V-Tech toys, etc. There are foraging toys. There are foot toys. Cat toys can make good foot toys, and example is the carousel with the bell in the middle. Then there are stuffed animals and so many other things that our parrots use as a toy. Different parrots prefer different toys and it's your job to find out what your parrot likes and does not like.
A parrots acceptance of a new toy can depend on whether or not it was introduced to a variety of colours and textures while young. Whenever you select a new toy for your parrot remember that your parrot may be afraid of it. Place it near the cage for a few days so your parrot can watch it and become acclimatized to it. Show your bird how it's used. Play with it. Something the parrot feared may quickly become his favourite toy.
Make Your Own Toys
A little imagination will go a long way. Many household items can be used to make parrot toys. Straws, bottle caps, keys, clean cardboard egg cartons, roll of paper towel or toilet paper, cardboard boxes, PVC, food, wooden dowels, untreated scrap wood, towel, old book, cotton gloves, dixie cups, corks, wooden spoon, etc.
Some toys can cause a hazard. Avoid toys that use a split ring (key-ring) or dog leash clips. Use the screw open/shut quick link clips found in hardware stores. Do not get zinc or zinc coated metals.
You can also use PVC or Manzanita branches to make a play gym or play stand.
Some things eclectus like to play with: whiffle balls, foot toys, balls with a bell inside (in the cat section of your pet store), V-tech toys, bird kabob, pinecones (see below), cat tumblers, adding machine tape dispenser, hand a old phone book in the cage - they like to shred it, Boing, popsicle stick dispenser, wood shred balls, Dixie cups, swings, etc.
A good book on making your own parrot toys is, 'Parrot-Toys & Play Areas' by Carol S. D'Arezzo.
Websites on making your own toys:
Bird Toy Parts
Stainless steel is safe. If it rusts it is not stainless steel. If it doesn't rust it could be stainless steel unless it is coated with something. Most common coatings are zinc, nickel or chrome.
Aluminium is also safe, but may be to soft for a large bird.
How to tell: Aluminium and stainless steel will not stick to a magnet. Most manufacturers will tell you on the label if it is stainless steel because it is much more expensive.
Also check our Household Hazards page to see a list of metal toxic items you don't want to use when you make your own toys.
Here are some places that sell parrot toys:
When collecting pinecones look for pinecones that are dry and clean. Stay away from the damp moldy ones. Try to pick them as soon as they fall off the tree.
To prepare the pinecones for your bird you need to heat up the oven to 225 degrees. Then place a tin foil cover over a cookie sheet. This will catch the sap that comes out as the pinecones bake. Give the pinecones a good cleaning with GSE and then bake for 1/2 hour at 225 degrees. This will kill the mold and whatever spiders, etc. may be inside them. Let them sit in the warm oven another 1/2 hour or so to dry out. Collect the pinecones and throw the tin foil out. They are ready to use.
Do not cook hotter than 225 degrees because the pinecones can burn.
FORAGING: It's very important for your bird. Click here to read more about it.
Copyright © 2004 Valley Aviary
Last modified: November, 2007