Cockatiels need stimulation and creative toys help keep their minds and beaks busy. Giving your bird a variety of toys helps avoid having a depressed, destructive or disruptive bird, according to Busy Bird Inc. Purchasing new toys for your bird to destroy may be expensive, especially when the pet lives approximately 15 to 20 years. Making your own toys helps reduce the cost without depriving your bird of play time.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Bird food and treats
- Mineral blocks
- Plastic, stainless steel and wooden parts
- Cotton and leather cords
- Paper items
Select only safe materials for making your cockatiel toys. Unbleached cotton rope, non-toxic dyes, untreated wood and stainless steel make safe toy parts, suggests Busy Bird Inc. Contact pet supply stores and online sites offer kits containing parts, plastic beads, mineral pieces, leather laces and cords for making toys. Check craft stores for items such as wooden spools and cotton rope. Consider other items, such as paper towel rolls and solid wood clothespins, to make into toys, advises veterinarian Vanessa Rolfe, The Bird and Exotic Hospital, Green Acres, FL. Evaluate older toys to use safe parts for making new toys, suggests Birds Just Wanna Have Fun.
Select items for the toys that give a variety of objects for the cockatiel to chew and shred in order to help keep its beak trimmed. Use different colours, thickness of cord, shapes and textures to make the toys interesting and stimulating. Include edible and mineral parts as well as pieces intended for shredding and indestructible parts such as stainless large steel bolts and washers. Use food dye and staining foods, including blue berries, beet juice and grape juice to colour the cords and wooden pieces.
Use a drill, hole puncher or other tools to put holes in toy parts and foods, such as apple or carrot chunks. Put a cord through the holes of the parts, tying small knots between them for spacing. Create different shapes, such as circles by tying the ends together then hanging with another cord or tying several knotted cords onto the main cord to hang down like legs. String indestructible stainless steel items and beads with cord or leather laces and tie into balls to create foot toys for your cockatiel to kick and manipulate.
Create cheap paper toys by putting food or treats into a paper cup, paper towel holder, envelop or small box. Crush the item into a ball or flat shape, put a hole in it and hang on the cage with a cotton cord. String several items on a cotton cord, placing knots between, and hang across the cage to provide the bird with more challenges. Hide food inside dried corn husks by tying the ends with cords, suggests Birds Just Wanna Have Fun.
Tips and warnings
- Rotate toys and tie in different areas to help avoid boredom.
- Place some toys in closed box for the cockatiel to open.
- Check toys daily and remove any toys that present choking hazards or sharp fragments.
- Make the material used for stringing short enough to avoid strangulation dangers.
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