Instructions to Build Your Parrot a Play Area

Written by marie anne haughey
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Instructions to Build Your Parrot a Play Area
Parrots benefit from time spent outside their cages. (Grey Parrot image by Wimbledon from

Parrots are very intelligent creatures -- too intelligent to be happy inside bars for their entire lives. Bringing your parrot outside of its cage for human interaction and play time is crucial to keep your parrot happy and healthy, and will also minimise undesirable habits, such as biting and feather-picking. A basic tabletop play area can provide your parrot with a safe place to play as long as the play area is kept in a secure location, away from children, other pets and open doors and windows. The play area can easily be carried from room to room so you can always keep an eye on your feathered friend.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Unstained, untreated wood
  • Wooden dowels
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Toys (optional)

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  1. 1

    Decide how large or small your parrot's play area is going to be, based on the size of your parrot. The play area is going to need a solid base to prevent your parrot from making a mess on the floor, a thick centre dowel to support the perches and slightly thinner dowels for perches. The size of the base will depend on how large the play area will be.

    For example, if you're building a play area for a small parrot, you can plan on building a play area that is 18-inches tall, with a square base of 18-inches by 18-inches. You just don't want the play area to become unbalanced, because then your parrot is at risk of injury.

  2. 2

    Gather together your materials. Make sure you use unstained, untreated wood, as the chemicals used to stain, treat or finish wood are extremely toxic to parrots. Also choose wooden dowels for the perches that are the right size for your parrot.

    Perches 1-inch in diameter are suitable for small birds such as cockatiels and conures; perches 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter are suitable for medium birds such as African Grays and Mini-Macaws; and perches 2-inches in diameter are suitable for Macaws. Remember, you want the support dowel to be thicker than the dowels used for the perches.

  3. 3

    Prepare the base. It's best to use a solid piece of wood. If you don't have a solid piece of wood, screw a few pieces of wood together. Make sure no part of the screws, sharp edges or splinters can be felt by running your hands over the board. If you feel any rough edges or splinters, sand them down with a piece of sandpaper.

  4. 4

    Cut the support dowel to the height of the play area and attach it to the centre of the base. Make sure to measure it with a tape measure and mark the spot you'll cut it with a pencil. The easiest way to attach the support dowel to the base is to hold the dowel perpendicular to the base with one end tight against the base and drill a screw through the bottom of the base and up into the centre of the support dowel.

    The size of the screw will depend on the thickness of the base and dowel and, again, you want to make sure the play area is sturdy. After the screw is in place, gently apply pressure to the support dowel. If it feels unsteady, remove the screw and use a larger one. You also might need to use several screws if you're building a particularly large play area.

  5. 5

    Attach the perches to the support dowel. Cut the dowels to form perches. Then, hold the dowels, one at a time, perpendicular to the support dowel. Drill through the opposite side of the support dowel and into the centre of the perch to secure it, as you did when attaching the support dowel to the base. You might find that you need a larger screw to hold the perch securely in place, or that you need several screws. Space the perches so that your parrot can climb from one to another.

Tips and warnings

  • You can try attaching toys to the perches, too.

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