5 Bird Enrichment Toys You Can Make

A list of toys you can make for your pet bird, with instructions on how to make them, and an explanation for why birds need enrichment!

Jan 11, 2024By Sara Rumrill
bird enrichment toys you can make

Most people know that if you have a dog, they benefit greatly from toys. Playing with toys relieves boredom, provides mental stimulation, and can help with behavioral issues stemming from boredom. But did you know that pet birds, like parakeets and parrots, also benefit from playing with toys? Today we will go over some of the easiest toys you can make yourself for your birds. Whether you’re a pro crafter or a beginner at DIY projects, there will be something you can feel confident in creating for your feathered friend.

Provide a Variety of Toys

parrot on back in hand birdandbeyond.com
Image credit: birdandbeyond.com

So, why do birds need to have toys? As discussed previously, it is very important to provide mental stimulation for your bird, just like for any other type of pet. Your bird’s toys should give them an outlet for their natural behaviors, such as chewing, preening, shredding, and foraging. By giving your bird a variety of puzzles and lots of different materials to chew and shred, as well as toys that will satisfy their instincts, your bird will have a much happier and fulfilled life. You can even expect to see the bond between you and your pet grow as you interact with them more and more and give them lots of toys to try out. If you haven’t considered making your bird toys before this, consider this a nudge to give it a try!

hanging bird toy etsy.com
Image credit: etsy.com

There are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when creating any toys for your pet bird. First, please always be aware of the materials you’re using. For any toys that call for string or rope, be sure to choose twine or cotton, and not plastic, metal, wire, or fishing line. These types of string can hurt your bird’s feet. When using beads, or small pieces as a part of a toy, never use plastic, as it can be a hazard to your bird’s beak. Wood beads are best. When it comes to wood, if using blocks or beads, do not use any pieces that have been painted or treated with any type of chemical.

It is also important to replace any toys that have become too worn out, or when any pieces get too small, to avoid a choking hazard. And of course, when using any toy it’s best to supervise your bird to make sure they don’t accidentally hurt themselves or ingest anything dangerous.

Hanging Toys

New Colorful Parrot Toys Suspension
Image credit: amazon.com

Hanging toys made of rope and chewing blocks or beads are a very popular type of toy for birds. Making one yourself is quite simple - select some rope or strong string, and whatever types of additions you like. Consider bells, wooden blocks, or beads. If you choose to use chewing blocks, you’ll need to drill a hole through each one for stringing.

Most people will string the beads, bells, and blocks through the rope, using knots to secure and separate each piece, and then hang the rope from the top of the bird cage. Now your bird can swing the rope around and chew on the blocks and beads to their delight! As well as providing entertainment, this type of toy can also provide excellent mental and physical stimulation for your bird, so you won’t have to worry about them getting bored. This type of toy also helps wear down your bird’s nails and beaks, which is something that they would do on their own in the wild with trees.

Paper Toys

Wooden Parrots Swing Toys Birds Swing Perch Hanging Swings Cage Wit
Image credit: wayfair.com

Did you know that birds love shredding paper? As long as the paper used doesn’t have any dyes or inks, you can offer your bird paper in many different forms for them to have a ball with! Balled-up paper, paper that has already been shredded, and even origami can be used as a bird toy.

If you want to go one step further, try folding up some paper and placing seeds and small nuts in between each fold. Then, when you’re done folding, poke some holes into the paper. When you give your bird the folded-up paper, it’ll act as a puzzle-style treat dispenser that they can use their beaks and nails to navigate! Not only that, but this type of toy is very entertaining for birds. They love to shred, and doing so can help satisfy their nesting habits.

Climbing Toys

bird using climbing net toy etsy.com
Image credit: etsy.com

If you enjoy making hanging toys, you can use the same principles and materials to make a swing or hammock for your bird. Be sure to use strong enough rope, as this type of toy will support your bird’s full weight. There are many different patterns you can find online for hammocks and nets, so have fun with them and choose one that has the best dimensions for your bird’s cage. You can also try adding in beads and bells to your net to provide extra fun for your friend as they climb up and down their new toy!

Toys Using Everyday Objects

cute bird getting pets thesprucepets.com
Image credit: thesprucepets.com

Birds also enjoy playing with items that you probably have lying around the house! Poker chips, popsicle sticks, and wooden spools are popular choices for birds. These items can be strung up, or just given to your bird as foot toys. They love to chew on things like this, so as always, be sure to only let them have these items when they are being supervised. Another option that might surprise you - you can also use your bird’s own molted feathers as toys! Giving them to your bird will give them a chance to practice their natural preening instincts.

Using everyday objects and crafting materials, you can make a huge variety of toys for your birds - by using these guidelines and a little creativity, you can likely come up with even more options for your beloved feathered friend. Remember, it’s important to watch your birds while they use any of these toys to prevent any hazards. And if you notice anything that seems off with your bird, it’s best to bring them to see a veterinarian immediately, and let them know what types of toys they had been playing with, in case something was ingested or they had a reaction to one of the materials used. Happy crafting!

Sara Rumrill
By Sara Rumrill

Sara lives in the US with six pets - a pit bull, a shi-tzu, and four cats, named Frankie, Morty, Ralphie, Stevie, Fritz, and Ayla. She has been in the veterinary field for over a decade and considers animal care to be her life's work.