9 types of toys your parrot should have (and where to buy)


A few people have asked me for advice on the kinds and types of toys they should get and I think it is a very important question to ask, because there are so many toys found in pet shops and it's hard to know what types of toys will be enjoyed by your pet bird. I've also realised that not many people are aware of the variety of toys they should provide their birds and end up having 1 or 2 toys which are never changed around throughout the bird's lifetime. Parrots are very intelligent creatures who have the mental capacity of a 5-6 year old child. Just as how kids will get bored and restless if they see and play with the same toy all the time, parrots will be bored too. This boredom can cause behavioural problems such as screaming and plucking.

The 9 types of toys I will introduce in this post is really good to have as they serve different functions and stimulate your bird in different ways. To help you out, I will also give some of my recommendations, from stores I have personally bought from. I am based in Singapore so the stores are in Singapore and the prices are in Singapore Dollars, but if you are an international reader the brands I really love and recommend are Super Bird Creations and Planet Pleasures which are found on Amazon. Let the picture also serve as a reference and help you in your choosing!

An important note: Although you might notice that your parrot might seem to have a preference for a few types of toys or a particular toy. You might also notice that your parrot seems to ignore some toys you place in the cage. Nevertheless, it is good to keep a variety of toys in the cage to provide a choice. After a while you might find that your parrot suddenly takes interest and learns to play with the toy that he initially did not.

Disclaimer: All the products recommended in this post are not sponsored in any way. If you notice, my recommendations are a little skewed to small to medium birds because of my personal experience with shopping for my lovebirds.

1. Foraging toys

To start off, foraging is the act of searching for and finding food. In the wild, birds spend most of their day foraging for food - an activity that engages them both physically and mentally. For many pet birds, however, foraging behavior rarely occurs because food is made readily available to them at all times. Foraging keeps your bird busy and challenges your bird by forcing him to look for his food instead of having it just put in front of him. I can confidently say that foraging toys are perhaps the most entertaining toys to parrots of all sizes.

Foraging toys are toys where you put treats in such a way that your parrot has to find a way to get to it. It is different from serving meals in a food bowl and more like puzzle for birds. I really recommend these toys because foraging toys stimulate parrots for hours when they try hard to get at these delicious snacks. Not only that, they get more physical exercise as they use their beak and feet to remove what is hiding their food.

The best news is that foraging toys can be made for FREE using everyday items like cupcake wrappers, paper cups, paper, tissue, toilet rolls and natural paper twine. You can also buy cardboard and acrylic foraging toys from the pet store for more ‘complex’ and ‘problem solving’ stimuli and stuff treats.

My DIY recommendations:

Foraging treat bags - I simply wrap a few seeds they don’t usually eat as part of their diet, such as sunflower, or millets into a paper cup cake liner or kraft paper and then tie it close with a paper twine. I tie the bags to their cages and put them in their hanging basket toys and they go crazy!

My store-bought recommendations:

Super Bird Creations Finger Traps from www.birdsprees.com, S$5.90 (12 sticks) - S$51.90 (144 sticks)

Suitable for Small to Medium birds

Super Bird Creations Foraging Pouch from www.birdsprees.com, S$24.20 - S$34.90

Comes in 2 sizes, suitable for small birds such as Budgies, Lovebirds to medium birds such as Conures, Cockatiels and other similar birds

2. Shreddables

I say with personal experience that shreddable toys can be one of the cheapest types of toys and yet are so so much loved by parrots. This is because parrots have a natural instinct to shred. In the wild, they spend time shredding leaves and barks for the fun of it or to make a nest. Shredding toys can be something such as an old telephone book tied to the cage, toilet rolls, kraft paper, egg cartons. Some parrots prefer coloured paper, while others prefer natural coloured paper like cardboard or kraft paper. If the Planet Pleasures range of toys are available in your country, they have very interesting shreddable toys like the Birdie Bouquet, Birdie Piñata and the shreddable weave strips that can be weaved around the bars of the cage. It has also been shown that giving your bird shreddable toys can help to prevent the onset of feather plucking that happens due to boredom. For a plucking bird, shreddables can hopefully distract him from plucking his own feathers as well!

If you can get pandan leaves, the leaves make an AMAZING and SUPER CHEAP natural shredding toy! It is really fragrant and birds absolutely love it. Plus, when they shred pandan leaves it keeps the bird room smelling good naturally, and the best thing bout pandan leaves is that it doesn't ‘rot’ - it just dries up. Also pandan leaves are a natural insect repellent! Alternative shredding materials can be dried corn husk, loofah and coconut husks. Though I’ve have to say that shreddables might make some female birds feel nesty, especially during breeding season. Daffy was addicted to shredding (and messing up the house in the meantime) before and during her pregnancy!

*make sure that the shreddables you give that are not bought from a pet store is not printed with toxic ink! Newspapers are generally not printed with toxic ink.

My store-bought recommendations:

Planet Pleasures Shredders Rainbow from www.birdsprees.com, S$14.80 - S$19.80

Suitable for small to medium birds such as Lovebirds, Cockatiels, Conures, Caiques and other similar sized birds

Comes in 2 sizes - 1" to 2" wide

Planet Pleasures Spiked Pinata from www.birdsprees.com, S$13.90 - S$33.90

Comes in 4 sizes - small to extra large

Coconut Pumice Toy from www.houseofparrots.com, S$39.90

Suitable for large parrots such as macaws and cockatoos

3. Climbing toys

Climbing toys are super awesome for clipped birds because they cannot fly much so they spend most of their time climbing around. Although my lovies are fully flighted, they enjoy climbing too - it’s a workout for them. Climbing toys include wooden ladders, rope ladders and rope nets. Rope nets can be large so they are more fun on an out-of-cage play gym and even against the window so they can hang on the net and look at the world outside. Penguin loves hanging on the sisal rope net I hung on the glass window and looking out or getting a little suntan!

My DIY recommendations:

Natural seagrass floor mat, from Daiso, S$2

My store-bought recommendations:

Ladder in Natural Finish from www.houseofparrots.com, S$4.90 - S$9.90

Suitable for small parrots

WILD Ladder for Birds from www.petloverscentre.com, S$16.05

Suitable for small parrots

Cargo Net from www.houseofparrots.com, S$14.90

Suitable for small to medium parrots

Super Bird Creations Activity Wall from www.birdsprees.com, S$23.50 - S$30.20

Suitable for small birds such as budgies, lovebirds, conures, cockatiels and other similar birds

4. Hanging wooden toys

Parrots will hang on, beak at, chew on and generally have a ball playing with hanging wooden toys! I suggest this type of toy to be bought at a pet store where the wood used is properly treated to be bird-safe. Wood toys come in either natural (undyed) or in many different bright colours. Make sure that the dye used is non toxic food dye, which you can tell when you wash the toy (please wash any toy you buy from the shop before you give it to your bird!) and some of the dye comes off. With voracious chewers, wooden toys wouldn’t last long. A wonderful toy that I've recently bought is this DIY box of wooden toys with rope to make my own combination of toys so the birds never get bored. Living World makes such DIY toys too. Daffy especially loves swinging, foraging and generally hanging out in a DIY non-treated rattan basket I bought for $2 and attached sisal ropes to it to make a swinging hanging basket.

My DIY recommendations:

Rattan basket and hemp rope, from Daiso, S$2

My store-bought recommendations:

Living World Create Your Own Bird Toys - Wooden Collection For Small and Medium Hookbills 40-piece kit from www.polypet.com.sg, S$41.40

32 Assorted wooden pieces, 4 Clasps, 2 Leather ropes, 1 Cotton rope, 1 Sisal rope

Living World Create Your Own Bird Toys - Wooden Collection For Medium and Large Hookbills 28-piece kit from www.polypet.com.sg, S$55.85

20 Assorted wooden pieces, 4 Clasps, 1 Cotton covered Sisal rope, 1 Cotton rope, 2 Sisal ropes

5. Toys that jingle and clang

Toys with bells can be very fun for birds to play with because of the tinkling sound the bells make. Do take note that any bell toys given to a parrot should be the open bell type, not the closed bell with a little slit (the ones on dog and cat collars) because birds can get their beaks stuck in the small hole.

My store-bought recommendations:

Star Acrylic Toy with Bell from www.houseofparrots.com, S$5.90

Suitable for small and medium parrots

Super Bird Creations Cow Bell from www.birdsprees.com, S$12.90 - S$14.90

Suitable for medium and large parrots

Foraging Ball with Bell from www.birdsprees.com, S$23.90

Suitable for medium and large parrots and can be used as a foraging toy as well

6. Swings

I don’t know why this is late in the list but swings are the BOMB!! Swings are good because as they swing back and forth and birds get exercise by trying to balance on it. Also when the swing gently rocks back and forth its a very good napping spot. I have this swing with interesting elements like chewable wood beads and brightly coloured beads that my birds like to play with while swinging.

My store-bought recommendations:

Super Bird Creations Mini Flying Trapeze Toy for Birds from Amazon or Goodwill Birds Trading

Suitable for small parrots

7. Foot toys

Foot toys are small toys suitable for grasping in a parrot's foot and provide foot, balance and strength exercises. They are particularly a huge favourite for ground foragers, and birds who are clipped so they spend most of their play time on or near the floor. Foot toys include rattan balls, balls with bells in it (although this can scare some birds) and small plastic ring-o-links for babies. Foot toys can be made into foraging toys as well.

My store-bought recommendations:

Super Bird Creations Munch Balls 4cm from www.birdsprees.com, S$7.90 (10pc) - S$35.90 (50pc)

Suitable for Small to Medium birds

Eagle Double Dumbbell Foraging Toy from www.houseofparrots.com, S$15.90

Suitable for Medium parrots and can be used as a foraging toy as well

8. Acrylic toys

I have included acrylic toys because it is much more durable against destruction by chewing by strong beaks. If your parrot likes making sounds (mine doesn’t), acrylic toys can be very fun to knock against to produce a sound. Acrylic is also the material used in the more high-tech foraging toys you can get out there.

My store-bought recommendations:

Flower Mirror Bell Toy from The Happy Bird- Singapore's First Parrot Subscription Box, S$12.90

Suitable for Small to Medium birds

Brainy Birds Toys' Sliders from www.birdsprees.com, S$25.50

Suitable for Medium to Large birds

9. Stainless steel skewer sticks

THE LAST BUT TOTALLY NOT THE LEAST! In my opinion, a skewer stick is a must have! It is SUPER versatile, and can be used for shredding, foraging and used as a fun way to introduce and feed fresh food. It can easily be washed and disinfected after use too.

My DIY suggestions:

I recycle plastic ice cream /llaollao containers by burning a small hole big enough for the skewer to go through and my lovies go crazy over whatever snack I put in it and hang at the top of their cage!

My store-bought recommendations:

Scooter Z's Bird & Small Animal Stainless Steel Skewer from Amazon

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There you have it! The top 10 types of toys your parrot should have in his toy cupboard and he will be a very happy bird.

Of course, do get more of the type of toys that you find your parrot enjoys more, though remember to give them options even if you don't see them playing them yet, and rotate their toys to keep them interested and entertained.

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