Toys are important to parrots because they help achieve two things: they keep the birds mentally stimulated and they provide some form of exercise that allows the parrots to expend their stored-up energies.
Parrots are highly intelligent animals. In fact, experts claim they have the intellect of a two to three-year-old human child. As such they can be quite needy and yet independent at times. They definitely cannot be left alone on their own for several days as this will make them feel unloved and neglected and lead to behavioral problems. They also like to interact with their human owners and play with them and feel like part of the family.
To keep them mentally alert and motivated, toys are very important. However, parrots can be very effusive and boisterous and as such, care must be taken that the toys they play with are safe and will not end up injuring them or causing dire consequences for them.
In the wild, parrots were able to choose the toys that interested them. In captivity, the choice of toys to keep them happy rests on their owners. We have to make sure we get them the toys they want and which are safe for them.
There are important things to consider when buying toys for your pet parrot. The first of these is to make sure that the toy is suited to your parrot’s size. Playing with a small toy, a big bird can get its nails caught in the toy. A big toy, on the other hand, can injure a tiny bird. In either case, the toy is not appropriate to the bird.
Another thing to consider is the material the toy is made of. They must always be of natural fiber. Nothing synthetic please as these contain toxic chemicals. This also holds true for the dyes and paints used on these toys. An ideal toy should be painted with natural and organic dyes. Wood, cowhide and rope are good toys because they lend to the parrot’s natural instinct to chew. Just be on the lookout for frayed threads on your rope and for sharp edged toy parts when your bird decides to break apart his toys.
To give your parrot maximum stimulation, get him toys that will allow him to figure things out like toys that are made up of various parts which he studies and tries to break down. Remember the parrot is a very intelligent bird and the more complex or puzzling the toys may be to him, the longer and more interested he stays. Some pet shops sell toys that allow you to hide nuts in them for the bird to figure out. There are also edible toys. These are good in that they both stimulate your bird and provide him nutrition.
Parrots love tactile stimulation so consider the texture of the toys you provide your pet.
The most important thing to remember when providing toys to your bird is not to overwhelm him by giving him all the toys at once. Three toys at a time would be good but please remember to ROTATE HIS TOYS or he will just end up getting bored and unhappy with them. If he seems tired of the toys he is playing with right now, replace them with new ones. Keep the ones he lost interest in and reintroduce them to him after three months or more. By this time, he would have forgotten about these and would get all excited about them all over again.
Remember, taking care of parrots is like taking care of little children. It can be fun yet challenging at times. If you are patient and you care enough for your birds, you will be rewarded with the joy of having a loyal, loving and playful bird in your midst. It doesn’t take much to make your bird happy — just a little attention from you and some nice, motivational toys.