Toys! GRRRR… The birds go through them so fast, I’m actually happy for out of the cage time as they can explore and do other things then damage their toys. When buying toys for parrots, this is what you expect them to do and what you WANT them to do because at least you know they are being stimulated and are taking out any type of energy out on their toys but it doesn’t make the facts any less true! I just spent 30 bucks on that toy and it lasted a day IF I’m lucky (this is especially true for Grayson) so now that I’m following Kris Porter’s Parrot Enrichment vol 1 – I’m a bit more happy because it’s not breaking my pocket to stimulate my parrids (parrot kids).
So today, I focused on reconstructing an old toy. I don’t remember what this toy originally looked like however, this was the end result.
I’m really not creative so I wasn’t sure what to do, anyhow I went to my pile of items and said let’s try these wooden cutlery pieces. I punctured a hole in them and made a tiny slit and slid 6 pieces onto it and BAM! I was done, totally new toy! I gave this toy to Purrain, my violet Indian Ringneck.
FYI – It lasted 2 days!
There is so many things to teach our feathered kids, how does one make sure they know everything they are supposed to know? Well, I for one can say my parrots do not know everything they are suppose to know however I’m looking forward to the years to come, for them to continue learning well into their adulthood.
When I first got my parrots I was adamant that I wanted them to be the perfect pet and they would know everything and we would never have any issues. Well wishful thinking does get one far but it’s not realistic. Realistically, parrots will only dish out what you put into them so if I never teach them to say thank you, they never will. I can’t just expect them to!
Teaching your parrot to step up is very important and I will cover exactly how to do that in another post. This is about making sure you are conditioning them to step up onto a variety of different items.
First you would want to teach them how to step up regardless of if it’s on to your hand or a perch depends strictly on you and your comfort level with your bird. I usually start with my hand, if there is fear of hands then I will start with a perch. There are 7 things you want to cover when teaching your parrot to step up and you can only implement these other items once your parrot has learned to step up onto at least one.
You will teach your parrot to step up onto:
1) To and from your hand to a familiar perch
2) To and from your hand to an unfamiliar perch
3) To and from a handheld perch to a familiar perch
4) To and from a handheld perch to an unfamiliar perch
5) To and from both hands (left hand to right hand and vice versa)
6) To and from a handheld perch to a handheld perch
7) To and from a handheld perch to your hand
Once you have done this with your bird, you have successfully completed the “step up cooperation exercises.” Please see below for a video demonstrating this exercise.
I wish I could take all the credit here but I can’t. I stole this idea off of Facebook from Patricia Anderson who has a few Quakers and a Blue headed Pionus (They are perfectly trained and so gorgeous to look at). Anyhow I have always been one to believe in foraging as an important aspect for any parrot and recently I realized I spend a lot of money on toys – even more than I thought. Sometimes my toy bills (most of the time) are running me 2 to 300 dollars a shop. So I really wanted to find things I could make myself and wouldn’t break my pocket. So when Patricia posted the foraging cereal box I was all excited because being a family of 5 we go through cereal boxes as often as we change our underwear, hahaha daily.
You see the red thing? It’s the Zip tie I used to attach this to the cage
I have a whole bunch of stuff I bought for foraging but if you are anything like me then you don’t have the creativity behind your belt to do it yourself so I have to steal ideas from others but that’s why they post them online right? To share? Once I get their basic ideas then sometimes ways to “fancy” it up comes to me… Only sometimes though.
So why do I find foraging to be important or why is it very high on my list? BECAUSE in the while food is not just handed to your parrot. They search for their food causing them to release energy and stimulate their brain cells. Now by no means does this mean starve them. I still use my food bowls but I do cover my food bowls with paper every now and then and have them rip through the paper to get to the food. I find the days I do that my house is quiet as a mouse because everyone is busy ripping through the paper for their pellets. Otherwise some mornings I’m crying about wanting more sleep. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE! I/We can’t provide the wild environment for our parrots but we still need to find ways to keep them stimulated, motivated, entertained and I find that foraging toys do that….
It’s really simple, all I did (Now Patricia may have used different items inside of hers, I didn’t look into all of that) was take my cereal box put some timothy hay at the bottom, wrap up a few almonds into newspaper balls, put a few sheets of regular newspaper over, come nice crinkled purple (my favorite color) paper sticking out at the top and the inside was done. Then I pierced a few holes into a face and had treats sticking out. 2 Sunflower seeds for eyes, an almond for a nose and baby carrots going across to make a smile.
I used a big cereal box but it was for my Indian Ringneck so I should have bought those cereals that are small that come in those packs of 10 and use that size. I think the big cereal boxes are too overwhelming for Ringo, that size is PERFECT for Grayson, my african grey. So far Ringo hasn’t teared apart the box hence why I say the size is too big. But he has removed the carrots, almonds, sunflower seeds and some of the crinkled paper at the top…. Slowly but surely he is getting there.
Oh I attached it to the cage using a zip tie. My parrot shop sells them. I will be doing another one of these for Grayson and I think at the bottom of it I will make a small hole on each side and have a rope going from one end of the bottom to the next and tie a “Top toy” out of each side to make it more pretty with more accessories. I want to make lots of foraging toys and you can find GREAT ideas on Facebook DIY bird toy groups or by going on Pinterest or of course by following me! All you have to do is sign up where it says follow Parenting Parrots and you can go through this journey of toy making with me! I’ll post a YouTube video on making this toy next weekend and I’ll add it here but if you want to make sure you don’t miss that then go to my YouTube channel and Subscribe so you can see all the important videos we post there.
Some people are visual learners vs. being a reader so that’s why I like to cover a video on what I write about here too.