Not sure what cockatiel toys to get your pet? Trying out everything, but your bird is rejecting whatever you get her? Don’t worry; this guide will help you out with a few ideas.
Bird owners want only the best for our feathered friends. Apart from providing food and water, you should also look into your bird’s mental well-being.
Since it is not possible to provide birds with out-of-cage time throughout the day, you should invest in a variety of toys to keep them mentally stimulated.
In this article, we will look at the different types of toys that can keep your cockatiel sharp throughout the years.
What Kind of Toys Do Cockatiels Like?
Cockatiels are intelligent and curious birds that enjoy toys that challenge their minds and keep them entertained.
The best playmate is obviously another bird to bond with. But toys come a close second.
Of course, for birds, this means things that can chew, pull on, make noise, or move. There are many types of toys for cockatiels available. Broadly, they can be classified as:
#1. Foraging toys
These toys encourage your bird to use its natural foraging instincts to find hidden treats or toys. Some common types of foraging toys are:
- Puzzle-based – These contain multiple compartments that can be opened in different ways. You can hide treats within.
- Foraging wreaths – A large ball of crumpled paper, cardboard, bamboo strips, and other organic material with seeds hidden inside.
- Foraging boxes or wheels – Also have cabinets that can rotate or move.
#2. Chew Toys
As the name suggests, these are toys that the cockatiel can chew on. Chewing is essential for parrots as it helps to trim their beaks naturally.
You can find chew toys online or offline, made from softwood that the birds can bite through.
These are also the easiest toys to make on your own. Virtually anything organic – such as bamboo wicker baskets, corn cobs, or thin corrugated cardboards can chew toys for pet birds.
#3. Perch toys
Perches are a natural part of a wild cockatiel’s habitat. All birds of the parrot species have feet adapted to perching and climbing on branches.
To develop the muscles of your cockatiel’s feet, perch toys that are contoured and have a natural texture are the best. Bird Perches can be:
- Rope perches – You can get perches, ladders, or cables made from thick jute, sisal, or hemp ropes. It’s best to avoid synthetic materials like nylon.
- Wooden perches – A wide variety of wooden perches are available in different designs for single birds and colonies.
- Ladder perch – Ladders encourage up-and-down movement and are fun for cockatiels to run along. These can be made from wood, rope, or a combination of both.
Please ensure that the perch you use is not concrete. Concrete has heavy metals like cadmium, lead and zinc. Concrete perches are known to have caused heavy metal poisoning among birds who chew at them.
#4. Preening toys
Preening is a natural behavior seen in all birds. It helps them distribute the oil on their feathers and keep it healthy.
In fact, apart from eating, it is a bird’s most important job of the day. Domestic cockatiels may not naturally develop such instincts.
Preening toys are a great way to initiate them into this ritual. It also ensures that your bird does not get bored and resorts to feather plucking.
These toys are similar to foraging toys but without the food reward. Another way to encourage preening is by placing a mirror near these toys.
#5. Edible toys
Edible toys can be in the form of chew, perch, or foraging toys. Alternatively, you can make a DIY edible toy by adding a skewer or rope with your bird’s favorite fruits and vegetables on it. Other types of edible toys can contain necessary vitamins – such as stacked cuttlebones or hanging mineral blocks.
Cockatiel Toys DIY: How To Make Your Own Cockatiel Toys
Toys that are organically made and crafted can be expensive. And constantly buying new toys is simply not feasible in the long run.
But you can save quite a lot by making your own DIY toys with minimal craft skills. Here are some common cockatiel toys that you can make:
- Thread together popsicle sticks and hang them in the cage.
- From woven baskets made from natural materials like bamboo (make sure it is thin and weak enough for your birds, untreated wood can scratch your bird)
- Cut cardboard pieces into various shapes.
- Attach corn cobs to the cage for them to chew on.
- Stack or unit of fibers from coconut, jute, and hemp – all rolled into one hanging unit.
- Simple ladders from small wood branches.
Remember not to use any glue or thin twine while constructing the toys. Do not paint or spray the toys with anything, either.
Chemicals in the paint can be very harmful for birds, and some can even be toxic to them.
You can follow along with DIY Youtube videos such as this one:
In the end, remember to rotate the toys regularly to keep your cockatiel happy and interested and prevent boredom.
Choose toys that your pet bird can move and interact with – based on their size and ability.
Birds might also have individual preferences. Some may enjoy foot toys like wooden perches, whereas some might gravitate towards rolling balls.
Hence, it is best to first try out a few toys and see which ones your birds like. Then you can stick with the types that are its favorites.
Why Does My Cockatiel Ignore Toys? 4 Reasons
It’s not uncommon to see cockatiels scared of toys or completely ignore them altogether. While they are curious, they take time to warm up to new things. If your bird still remains disinterested after a couple of days, some possible reasons could be:
#1. Your cockatiel is not interested in the toy
Perhaps the toys are simply not to your bird’s liking. It’s important to offer a variety of toys to see what your bird enjoys.
You also have to be patient as they may take some time to get used to new toys.
Some birds prefer immovable chew toys, while others like things they can roll around. Be open to changing and investing in the beginning to find your bird’s interests.
#2. It does not understand toys
The right time to train birds and introduce them to new experiences is around 8 to 10 weeks. A cockatiel that was not introduced to toys at the right time may not develop affection towards them.
Hence, even with toys around, these birds will not interact with them, get bored and resort to self-mutilation.
The best course here is to spend some out-of-cage time and play with the toys alongside so that your bird can see and learn.
#3. Your bird is unwell and does not want to play.
One of the common signs of illness in birds is inactivity. If you suspect that your bird may be unwell, consult with a veterinarian at the earliest.
#4. Disinterest due to stress or anxiety
A stressed, afraid or anxious bird will lose interest in toys and instead become hyper-aware of its surroundings.
It’s important to provide your bird with a calm and supportive environment for them to explore their toys safely.
Disinterest does not automatically mean something bad is happening.
You can try to motivate your bird by introducing new toys or rearranging its cage to see if this helps.
Apart from this, it’s also important to ensure that your bird is receiving adequate nutrition.
Remove the food dishes from the cage when it is not feeding time to allow them to explore other things.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many toys should a cockatiel have in the cage?
Depending on the size of the cage, you can start by placing 2 to 3 toys and rotating them based on your bird’s interests.
Ensure that your bird has enough space to move around and fly. The toys should not disrupt their routine movement lines.
What should cockatiels have in their cage?
Ideally, a cockatiel cage should contain two food bowls (wet and dry food), two water bowls (for drinking and bathing – water dishes are preferred for the latter), and accessories.
Accessories can include perches, toys, and bells. Some cockatiels also like looking at themselves in the mirror, especially male ones.
What do you put in the bottom of a cockatiel cage?
You should place replaceable lining on the bottom of a cockatiel’s cage to collect its droppings.
This lining can be old newspapers, paper towels, napkins, or other disposable material that you can change regularly.
You should also spray the bottom bars with anti-bacterial spray.
How do you introduce toys to cockatiels?
To introduce a new toy, first, place it in the bird’s line of sight on a table. When your bird is enjoying out-of-cage time, introduce the toy by playing with it yourself.
If your cockatiel joins you, you can start by keeping it near the cage and finally placing it inside. Always keep a close watch when you introduce a new toy in the cage, if the bird stops playing with it, replace it immediately.
Where do you put toys in a birdcage?
The placement of a toy will depend on the type it is. Hanging toys, of course, will have to hang from the top bars.
Others, like foraging toys, should be kept so that your cockatiel can reach it easily from a particular perch.
Balls and other such toys can be placed at the bottom of the cage.
What toys should birds avoid?
Common things to avoid are toys that are not well-finished, toys with paint on them, and toys that can get caught in your bird’s toenails or with sharp ends.
It’s best to buy them from reputed pet shops. For a DIY toy, make sure you read through the proper resources before beginning.
Many owners give up if they see their bird not responding to a toy. But it’s important to try different things to find your bird’s interests.
Other things that cockatiels enjoy are clean water in bird baths. Cockatiels are dusty birds, and a regular bath will keep their feathers healthy.
Over time, this can also be an activity they enjoy. Thank you for reading.