Why do parrots need toys?
But to play, of course !!!!!
In its natural environment, the parrot is always busy: finding and gathering food, eating, grooming, flocking, communicating and above all… playing. Playing is part of the normal learning process. Searching, foraging, touching, tasting, discovering shapes and textures are all forms of sensual experimentation; snatch, nibble, detach, take, grasp, climb, twirl, learning coordination necessary for development. The young parrot must learn to interact in its environment. The best toys we can give must be a form of artificial transposition of what they would have found in their natural environment and we must play with them ourselves in order to help them define themselves inside. of its human social group. The term play differs somewhat in meaning for the parrot and for the human. In many cases, for these birds, playing is often synonymous with… destroying. Let’s say that parrots keep themselves mainly occupied with the systematic destruction of everything that falls under their beak ( to play is often synonymous with… destroying. Let’s say that parrots keep themselves mainly occupied with the systematic destruction of everything that falls under their beak ( to play is often synonymous with… destroying. Let’s say that parrots keep themselves mainly occupied with the systematic destruction of everything that falls under their beak (tree branches, twigs, leaves) and take real pleasure in it… It is an innate behavior, consequently… unchanging. This attitude will be transposed into his domestic environment and the devastation resulting from this behavior will be inversely proportional to the sum of the objects that will be placed at his disposal … or that he will find by himself to satisfy this need. So, if you don’t want your parrot to furnish its time with… your furniture… you’d better get it items to destroy other than your sofa or window frames. Because … no matter whether it is in nature or in your home, playing and destroying are part of the behavioral baggage of the parrot … And tell yourself that in a domestic context, the parrot who has no toys, but who, On the other hand, has a lot of time in front of him, who has a minimum of imagination and creativity, risks quickly transforming himself into Attila the king of the Huns, of whom it was said that “nothing grows back in his path”. Domestic parrots unfortunately live in an environment that is not at all adapted to their needs. They live without knowing it with a sword of Damocles above their heads. They are indeed surrounded by a multitude of traps and dangers arising from the human imagination and, as our innocent birds generally trust their humans, the risks of bad luck are increased tenfold. It is therefore necessary to provide the bird with safe activities to keep it occupied. Toys are needed to reduce the stress caused by the boredom and monotony that directly arises from the bird’s captivity. Toys to chew, to hold in its paw, which make noise or whirl are used to keep the bird occupied and consequently, in good mental and psychological health.
Some parrots can’t resist the overwhelming urge to completely and unceremoniously demolish a new toy, almost seeing it as an enemy to be brought down. On the other hand, others will be more “Zen” and will work the toy piece by piece, node by node with infinite patience … Each has their own personality, each their own temperament. It’s up to you to be the observer and choose the style of toy that suits your bird. Here are some fairly common personality traits in parrots. It’s up to you to determine which type is your bird!
Elisabeth Taylor parrot
Fascinated by jewelry and all that glitters. Cannot resist in front of earrings, bracelet, necklace, no matter if it is solid or fake. Offer him shiny ( stainless steel ) and very colorful toys that make “gling to gling”. They are “glingglingneux…”.
The parrot Arsène Lupine
He is the vault piercer, the one who likes to open before stealing ( or ransacking ). Offer him boxes or chests to open with treasures inside; an old jewelry box (be careful with the materials) or a small cabinet in the style, Barbie’s wardrobe.
The Numerobis parrot
( see Asterix and Cleopatra )
The architect. He does and remakes the decor of your apartment or his cage ( it depends ) and not always in a very straight line. The Numerobis type does not have a compass in his eye and often his constructions look more like demolitions. Better to secure and fix the objects in its cage ( bowls, poles, toys ) otherwise, there is a risk of changing location and not always at your convenience …
The Old Powell Parrot
( see Lucky Luke, The Ghost Town )
The mine driller. He likes to dig and poke holes everywhere. He searches … who knows what, but he digs and rummages all over the house … under the sheets, linens, sofas, furniture. He digs in walls or doors, he’s a real miner! Better to stock him with cardboard or wood boxes, old towels or sheets, because if he has nothing to dig or dig … a world of possibilities is available to him in your home!
The parrot Babe Ruth
The famous pitcher … Throws everything that falls under his beak or paw: toys from the top of his cage or his perch, grains, feed, fruits and vegetables from his bowl. This guy loves to make a clean house in your china cabinets, counter tops or coffee tables. It’s not a destroyer, it doesn’t nibble a lot… It really is… a pitcher. His favorite game with his human is: Go get it! He throws an item and likes his human pet to pick it up so he can throw it or drop it again. Hours and hours of fun in sight…! Play ball, teach him to store his toys in a trunk or play basketball. A tip on the other hand,
The artisan parrot
Expert in macrame and knots of all kinds. He likes to spend hours untying the knots of leather or rope straps… You know what to get him!
In his world, everything must be perfect… the over-the-top perfectionist! It cuts, removes, loosens everything that sticks out: moles in your neck, pimples in your face; in fact, anything that is button or eyelet … blouse, remote control, telephone, watch winder, eyes and noses of stuffed animals, etc. He is generally proud of having done you such a great service. Offer him large-area objects with sticky stuff that sticks out. Be careful that he does not swallow small parts.
The parrot Armani
The designer. It cuts and recuts all your clothes, especially those unsightly seam lines at the height of your shoulders, those points of blouse collars… Ouiche…! And what about those labels at the top of your sweaters… Come on…! We redesign and make an original Coco! This kind of bird is a “quirky” of rags … He likes toys made of rope, leather and above all … your old clothes … So why not?
The Saint-Jean-Port-Joli parrot
Its beak is its knife and everything that is called wood deserves to be “bred” and carved according to the artistic tendencies in use in the world of parrots. It has a very particular aesthetic that escapes us somewhat. What do you want, humans are a little boonish in the face of the magnificence of avian art… All barbarians…! On the other hand, for this kind of bird, the choice of toys is very varied and above all … available!
The parrot Kasparov
He is the cerebral… He likes complicated games and has a great power of concentration to learn. It is the ideal subject for educational or awakening games ( numbers, colors, shapes, etc. ).
The parrot Martha Stewart
Very ingenious in tinkering of all kinds. Likes to invent his toys himself. He’s the kind of guy who spends hours filling a little bottle with pieces of tissue, inserting them perfectly one by one; to undo the parts of a toy to go and integrate them into another. He hates waste and recycles anything that comes his way.
The parrot Obelix
Nice guy, but break everything he touches. It’s not his fault: he’s too big or too strong! Better to get him some juggernaut-proof toys. This is often the case with large macaws or cockatoos. My little parrots literally hate Molly, my hyacinth, to come and take over their toys. A toy passed through Molly’s mouth = a ruined toy!
Often, it also happens that a parrot does not like the new toy or activity center that has just been given to it. However, we must not assume that the parrot does not like playing or does not like this type of toy or activity… He does not like that toy, that’s all! Each parrot has a distinct personality, something that appeals to one may leave the other indifferent. Some parrots get very excited when they are playing with a toy they particularly like; and in some cases, the toys are used outright to evacuate the stress or frustration of the parrot. If you notice this kind of behavior on the part of your bird, then avoid putting your finger between the parrot and the toy,
Staggering power of destruction
It is normal for a parrot to try to reduce to its simplest expression everything that is within reach of the beak and to try to grab what is not. These are natural nesting behaviors that flow directly from the sexual instinct, although often these demolition jobs do not resemble this profile in any way.
Raking the ground or the nooks and crannies, rummaging, shredding, nibbling, chewing, transporting materials and destroying are completely normal behaviors and, depending on the build of your bird, the work will be up to it!
My cockatoos have already drilled a tunnel in the wall separating two rooms of my house, just to kill the boredom and I barely arrived the day my macaws had decided to open a new window further south … in the living room ! These are not made-up stories; it really happened, I swear!
Boredom and its little miseries
Keeping busy and playing is important for the mental and physical health of your parrot. As important as food, hygiene and… naturally, your unwavering affection! More often than not, the “domestic” parrot lives a life of seclusion in the company of humans. That is, he spends far too much time alone, isolated from a social group and trapped inside a cage. There is nothing more like a prison than a cage: bars and locked doors. Humans only enter to fill the bowl and clean the jail. Often, the bird lives to the rhythm of departures (in the morning for work ), arrivals ( returning from work in the evening), has only a few hours of daily outing and minimal social interaction. Nothing new in all of this, right? For an animal as gregarious, curious and active as the parrot, it really is prison! Boredom and languor are the leading causes of behavioral problems in parrots ( anxiety, howling, morbid behavior, pecking, self-harm, manias, obsessive / compulsive rituals, etc.). Believe me, a bored parrot quickly turns into a nagging and insufferable parrot. The parrot needs to play, to create scenarios, to destroy, to explore and to frolic interactively with his social group, in short, to find more or less a context equivalent to what he would be entitled to. have in its natural environment. A parrot should never be bored in your home to the point of becoming depressed! It is up to you to provide him with a pleasant environment where several activities are available to him during the day ( even in your absence) and to offer him quality time when you are at home. The good education of his parrot also involves taking time to play with him, incorporating a large edutainment part into his routine and thus, stimulate him through play to acquire good behavior and a place within the social group. that he composes with you and your family.
Coco’s little tricks
You must be very careful when giving your parrot a new toy and pay special attention to the mania some parrots have for swallowing inedible substances. It is obvious and almost normal in the case of a very young bird not to quite differentiate between food and other objects or substances which it carries in its beak. On the other hand, one of the quite widespread pathologies in domestic parrots is allotriophagia, or Pica, which consists of a kind of appetite perversion which leads them to absorb substances inedible and dangerous for them. Cockatoos and conures in particular seem to have a strong taste for this kind of practice; for some it will be the rope or the leather of the toys, others the wood or the sisal and even the plastic. Another little quirk attributable to domesticity! Better to be vigilant.
Coco and the scarecrows
As we know, parrots are prey animals that are easily frightened at the sight of an unfamiliar object. A brand new toy can take the form of a cockroach in a bird’s imagination if it hasn’t had time to tame its presence before. Here again, everything depends on the temperament and / or the education of the parrot. A bird accustomed to novelty and daring to change will perceive this new toy as a rewarding experience and will begin to have fun ( destroy it) immediately without problem. On the other hand, a poorly socialized parrot, with a timid or suspicious temperament, can come close to a nervous breakdown in the presence of a new object in its cage or its toy box. At this point, it is best to introduce the toy gradually, leaving it casually in plain view of the bird in its familiar surroundings. Little by little, he will get used to her presence and let his guard down. At this point you will start to interact with the new toy and the parrot, then, when the bird shows no fear of the object, there and only then you will be able to install this toy in its cage. Quita, my macaw, can destroy a toy designed for a parrot of her caliber in a single hour depending on your mood. If she feels bold,
Today there is a plethora of toys in pet stores, made available to keep your parrot busy ad vitam aeternam. On the other hand, we must remain on our guard. Just because the toy is sold in pet stores and the words “for parrots” appear on it, does not mean that it is automatically safe for the bird. There are no regulations on parrot toys and anyone can sell anything. Even if the toy seems very attractive to you, be vigilant: safety should be the priority when choosing the toys you give to your parrot. Remember that he will systematically carry everything you offer him in his beak, without any suspicion! Your parrot trusts you,
- Can my bird take its feet, its head?
- Can he unhook it, untie it?
- Can he wrap his finger, his paw, his head?
- Are the materials non-toxic?
- Are the parts too easily detachable … unmanageable?
Always imagine the worst case scenarios, because with parrots even the improbable can happen. They are the very embodiment of Murphy’s Law …
If there is a single hazard… it will happen…!
Some toys are very safe when new and become damaging as they deteriorate. I am thinking here more particularly of string toys or wooden toys held in place by hardware ( screws, eyelets, etc. ). Keep an eye … When you offer toys made of porous or natural materials to your bird ( rope, leather and soft wood)), be sure to file his nails well. These materials can be “hooking” and have unfortunate consequences for Coco. Be certain of the complete safety of a toy before placing it in its cage or letting it play with it on its own. If you are in any doubt, remove the toy from the cage when you need to leave the house. Some toys require human supervision.
PS If you tie your toys with rope or leather straps to the bars of the cage, be sure to secure them tightly and tie very tight knots so that no small loops form. Parrots are curious and will strive to enlarge this small loop at the risk of being tied to it.
Giants and Lilliputians
Giants must not play with Lilliputian business. Always choose a toy based on the size of your parrot. A tiny toy designed for small parrots such as the parakeet, lovebird or cockatiel can prove fatal for your Amazon, parts that are too small come loose or interfering too easily, or a ring may be too tight. for your bird’s head. The latter can do it and… hang on it. The rings that are part of or make up the toy must be large enough to allow the bird’s body to pass through or too small for its head to pass through. Toys made for small birds are only for small parrots: fixings, bells, chains, marbles, etc., harmless to the very small parrot, can kill your medium or large parrot. I know that the price of small toys is more attractive than that of toys designed for large parrots, but compared to the fees your vet will charge you, or even worse, the loss of your companion, I think it would be better to invest a little more in toys designed for the size of your parrot than to take the risk of …