Bird toys are mostly personal preference. Your bird will need toys to entertain it when it is to be left in the cage for any length of time. Most well-socialized handfed birds love to play, and are very hard on toys. Your bird needs toys that are meant to destroy, such as pieces of balsa wood (rabbit chew sticks), tree branches, clean Popsicle-type craft sticks, tissue boxes, paper towel cores, and also toys that offer a challenge, such as short pieces of knotted strings to untie, or scraps of undyed leather.
You can give your bird crumpled clean white paper or twisted paper towels to shred, or rawhide dog chew-bones to gnaw on. Many birds enjoy playing inside a large-size brown paper grocery bag with the top folded down a couple of times so it stays open while on its side. They will cluck and laugh, and drag other toys in and out-quite funny to watch! I don’t recommend giving a female bird paper bags to play in, though, because it might stimulate unwanted egg-laying or nesting behaviors.
Some birds like to have a bell to ring-be sure your bell does not have a removable clapper. Many birds have died from choking on small parts of bells. Never use jingle-type bells-the clappers are made of lead! Some pet stores sell large copper cowbells-these are fine. Don’t buy parakeet toys made of brittle plastic for anything but a parakeet! These toys are too flimsy for the stronger beaks of the bigger birds, and your bird could hurt itself on broken plastic or small parts. Don’t give your bird a mirror, because some birds will become more interested in the reflection than they are in you. If you buy your bird toys, stick to acrylic, wood, rawhide, or rope-type toys.
Never put anything loop-shaped in your bird’s cage-it could hang itself accidentally. Limit the bird to two or three toys in the cage. Too many will crowd it, and it will not use them all. Switch the toys occasionally-an old toy will be quickly forgotten and will be as good as a new toy again.
Bird Play Gym
You might want to make or buy a “jungle gym” for your bird to sit on when it is out of its cage. These are easily constructed from dowel rods and a board, if you are good with tools, or can usually be purchased ready-made at pet stores with bird supplies.
A small T-shaped stand (on wheels, if you like), is handy if you want the bird with you as you go from room to room. If you make your own stand or gym, be sure not to use toxic glue on it.