Parrots are highly active and intelligent birds that should be kept engaged and stimulated to ensure their overall health and well-being. Pet parrots are easily bored by routine activities, and can as a result indulge in destructive behaviour. These birds should be able to exercise their physical and mental capabilities in play gyms that serve as an extension of their living environment. Though ready-made play gyms are available, you can customise a simple or elaborate play gym to keep your parrot occupied with fun activities.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Untreated wood
- Natural branches
- Nontoxic glue
- Bird toys
- Fruit and nuts
- Plastic cup, paper and rubber band
- Large bowl with water
Select an area in the house that is the hub of family activity as the location for the play gym. This will ensure that your parrot uses the gym under supervision. Place the gym at a height, in a stable and secure area. Parrots prefer heights because it gives them a sense of stability. Make sure that the play gym is out of reach of electric wires and cables.
Use a flat untreated wood panel as the base of your play gym. The size of the wood panel will depend on the space that you have available. Create ledges and ladders over the wood panel with natural branches such as milled pine, maple or manzanita. Attach the natural branches to the wood panel with nontoxic glue. Do not stop your parrot from chewing on the wood, as the chewing action will trim its beak naturally.
Place detachable toys such as swings and climbing ropes in the play gym. Swap the toys and add new toys occasionally to add a sense of novelty. Create perches in varying sizes to improve your parrot's range of motion and keep its feet healthy.
Hone your bird's foraging instincts by hiding healthy treats in foraging cups. Use fruit and nuts such as grapes, berries and almonds. Hide the treats in a plastic cup, cover the top with a sheet of blank paper and secure with a rubber band.
Place food and water dishes in the play gym, so that your parrot can enjoy itself without needing to go back to its cage if it feels hungry. Let your parrot have an enjoyable bath. Fill a large bowl with water for your parrot to have fun splashing in and bathing.
Tips and warnings
- If you have to use screws to attach toys and other accessories in the play gym, ensure that the screws are large, so that your parrot is unable to detach and swallow them.
- Regularly inspect the play gym for broken toys and accessories. Frayed pieces nibbled from the toys can enter your parrot's foot and cause injury.
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