Safe and Fun Toys for Your Pet Birds

white butterfly on white wall

Keep­ing a bird enter­tained isn’t just about teach­ing them to talk or whis­tle. It’s also about pro­vid­ing them with toys that are both safe and fun. Let’s dive deep, feath­ered friends!

Understanding Bird’s Play Needs

Why Play is Vital
Birds, like humans, thrive on men­tal and phys­i­cal stim­u­la­tion. Play is an essen­tial part of their dai­ly rou­tine, help­ing them to stay men­tal­ly alert and phys­i­cal­ly active. When deprived of this essen­tial activ­i­ty, birds can devel­op var­i­ous behav­ioral prob­lems, like the dread­ed feath­er pluck­ing. Think of it this way: no one would enjoy see­ing their col­or­ful par­rot slow­ly turn­ing into a nude mod­el, right?

Types of Play
Birds have var­ied inter­ests and play styles, much like our own diverse hob­bies.

  • For­ag­ing: In the wild, birds spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount of their day search­ing for food. Toys that pro­mote for­ag­ing behav­ior help to repli­cate this nat­ur­al activ­i­ty, giv­ing them a sense of accom­plish­ment when they “find” a treat or toy.
  • Chew­ing: This isn’t just a play­ful activ­i­ty. Chew­ing helps main­tain a bird’s beak, ensur­ing it remains sharp and healthy. While many mate­ri­als can be used for this, wood remains a peren­ni­al favorite among our avian friends.
  • Audio: Birds are nat­u­ral­ly attract­ed to sounds. From the songs of oth­er birds to the jin­gle of a bell, audi­to­ry toys can keep them enter­tained for hours.
  • Puz­zle: These are the equiv­a­lent of Sudoku for birds. Puz­zle toys chal­lenge them men­tal­ly, pro­mot­ing prob­lem-solv­ing skills and keep­ing their brains sharp.

Men­tal and Phys­i­cal Ben­e­fits
While toys are fun, they aren’t just play­things. They act as tools that cater to a bird’s men­tal and phys­i­cal needs. From the men­tal stim­u­la­tion pro­vid­ed by puz­zle toys to the phys­i­cal activ­i­ty of a swing or lad­der, toys offer count­less ben­e­fits. They encour­age cre­ativ­i­ty, prob­lem-solv­ing, and help improve motor skills. It’s sim­i­lar to how a gym mem­ber­ship helps us humans main­tain our fit­ness; toys are a bird’s tick­et to a healthy lifestyle.

Inter­ac­tion vs. Soli­tude
While some toys pro­mote soli­tary play, oth­ers are designed to fos­ter inter­ac­tion. Engag­ing with your bird using inter­ac­tive toys strength­ens the bond between bird and own­er. On the flip side, soli­tary toys are essen­tial for times when you can’t be around, ensur­ing they remain enter­tained. A bal­anced mix of both types ensures your bird remains well-adjust­ed and hap­py.

Types of Safe Materials

Wood is a favorite for many birds. It’s per­fect for those who love to chew and shred. How­ev­er, always ensure that the wood is untreat­ed, devoid of any chem­i­cals, and is of a type safe for birds.

Plas­tics can be durable and long-last­ing, mak­ing them suit­able for cer­tain toys. How­ev­er, it’s essen­tial to ensure the plas­tic is BPA-free and does­n’t have small, break­able parts that can be ingest­ed.

Ropes are excel­lent for climb­ing and swing­ing. They can also be used in toys that pro­mote preen­ing behav­ior. But fray­ing can be an issue, so reg­u­lar checks are nec­es­sary to ensure your bird does­n’t ingest loose fibers.

Nat­ur­al Mate­ri­als
Nat­ur­al does­n’t always mean safe, but mate­ri­als like hemp, sisal, and coconut shells are typ­i­cal­ly good choic­es. They offer a more organ­ic play expe­ri­ence and are often biodegrad­able, mak­ing them eco-friend­ly options. Always ensure they haven’t been treat­ed with pes­ti­cides or oth­er harm­ful chem­i­cals.

Types of Toys to Avoid

Glue & Adhe­sives
While they might be great for keep­ing things togeth­er, they’re a strict no-no for bird toys. Many glues and adhe­sives con­tain tox­ic chem­i­cals that can harm your feath­ered friend. Always check to ensure that toys are free from harm­ful adhe­sives.

Met­al Toys
Met­al might seem durable and long-last­ing, but it can pose severe risks. Many met­als, such as lead or zinc, can be tox­ic to birds. If you must choose met­al toys, ensure they’re made from stain­less steel or oth­er bird-safe mate­ri­als.

Loose Threads
Loose threads from fab­rics or ropes can be a seri­ous haz­ard. Birds can eas­i­ly get tan­gled in them or ingest them, lead­ing to poten­tial health prob­lems. Always mon­i­tor any toys with threads and remove them if they start to unrav­el.

Small Parts
Birds are curi­ous by nature, and they love to pick, prod, and pull. Small parts like beads or bells can eas­i­ly be ingest­ed, lead­ing to chok­ing or inter­nal block­ages. Always opt for toys that are appro­pri­ate­ly sized for your bird and mon­i­tor for any small parts that might come loose.

DIY Bird Toy Ideas

For­ag­ing Box
Get cre­ative with a sim­ple card­board box. Fill it with a mix of treats, shred­ded paper, and oth­er bird-safe items. It’s a fun way for them to “hunt” for their rewards, mim­ic­k­ing their nat­ur­al for­ag­ing behav­ior.

Rope Lad­der
With some stur­dy rope and wood­en rungs, you can cre­ate a fan­tas­tic climb­ing frame for your bird. They’ll love the chal­lenge of nav­i­gat­ing the rungs, and it offers them a fun phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.

Pop­si­cle Stick Cre­ations
With some non-tox­ic glue and col­ored pop­si­cle sticks, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Cre­ate bridges, lad­ders, or even lit­tle huts. If col­or­ing the sticks, ensure you use bird-safe dyes.

Paper Roll Toys
Emp­ty toi­let rolls or paper tow­el rolls can be a source of end­less enter­tain­ment. Fill them with treats, cap the ends, and watch as your bird works to retrieve the good­ies inside. Or, cut them into rings and string them togeth­er for a makeshift toy.

Toy Rotation is Key

Why Rotate?
Imag­ine hav­ing the same set of toys and no new chal­lenges every day – it would become monot­o­nous, would­n’t it? Birds are no dif­fer­ent. Rotat­ing toys ensures they always have some­thing new and excit­ing to look for­ward to, keep­ing their minds sharp and their spir­its high.

Signs of Wear and Tear
Like every­thing, bird toys won’t last for­ev­er. It’s cru­cial to reg­u­lar­ly inspect toys for any dam­age, as splin­ters, bro­ken parts, or frayed mate­ri­als can pose risks. A dam­aged toy isn’t just less fun—it can also be a safe­ty haz­ard.

Keep it Clean
Clean­li­ness is para­mount when it comes to bird care. Toys can accu­mu­late dirt, food, and even drop­pings. Over time, bac­te­ria and mold can build up, poten­tial­ly caus­ing health issues. Ensure you’re clean­ing toys reg­u­lar­ly with bird-safe dis­in­fec­tants and giv­ing them a good rinse.

Intro­duc­ing New Toys
Birds can be a lit­tle wary of the unknown, espe­cial­ly if they’re on the shy­er side. When intro­duc­ing a new toy, it’s best to take it slow. Start by plac­ing the toy out­side the cage, let­ting your bird observe and become famil­iar with it. Once they show inter­est, move it inside, and mon­i­tor their inter­ac­tion. With time and patience, most birds will come to enjoy their new play­thing.


Your avian com­pan­ion looks to you for love, care, and enter­tain­ment. The right toys can make a world of dif­fer­ence in their over­all well-being, pro­vid­ing them with the nec­es­sary stim­u­la­tion, exer­cise, and fun. Always pri­or­i­tize safe­ty and mon­i­tor their play­time, ensur­ing they’re hav­ing a blast and stay­ing healthy.


Q: Can I give my bird a mir­ror?
A: Mir­rors can be fas­ci­nat­ing for birds, giv­ing them a “com­pan­ion” to inter­act with. How­ev­er, some birds can become obsessed, mis­tak­ing their reflec­tion for anoth­er bird. This can lead to aggres­sive behav­iors or even depres­sion. It’s advis­able to use mir­rors in mod­er­a­tion and observe your bird’s reac­tion to deter­mine if it’s a suit­able toy for them.

Q: How often should I replace toys?
A: The fre­quen­cy of replace­ment depends on the toy’s mate­r­i­al, usage, and your bird’s behav­ior. If a toy shows signs of exces­sive wear, it’s time to replace it. Oth­er­wise, observe your bird—if they’ve lost inter­est in a par­tic­u­lar toy, con­sid­er rotat­ing it out for some­thing new.

Q: Are cat bells safe?
A: Cat bells, com­mon­ly found in pet stores, can be tempt­ing addi­tions to bird toys. How­ev­er, they might have small parts or mate­ri­als that aren’t bird-safe. Always ensure any bells or add-ons are large enough to avoid inges­tion and made from non-tox­ic mate­ri­als.

Q: Can toys be too big?
A: Absolute­ly! While a large toy might seem like more fun, it can be over­whelm­ing or even dan­ger­ous for small­er birds. Ensure the toy is pro­por­tion­ate to your bird’s size, allow­ing them to play safe­ly with­out the risk of injury.

Q: How do I intro­duce a new toy?
A: Take it step by step. Ini­tial­ly, place the new toy out­side the cage, allow­ing your bird to observe from a dis­tance. As they show inter­est, move it inside. Always mon­i­tor their ini­tial inter­ac­tions to ensure they’re com­fort­able and safe.