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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Decorating Bird Style

By Linda Costello
Explore the diaries of daily life with large birds.

McMurphy enjoying his playtime
(Click on image to enlarge)
McMurphy was playing on one of his hoop swings when he got up above the ceiling saver and unhooked it. The swing went crashing to the floor!

Molly and McMurphy enjoy playtime together
(Click on image to enlarge)
Molly and McMurphy, green-winged macaws, are "spoiled."

Molly and McMurphy anxiously await playtime in their cages
(Click on image to enlarge)
Molly & McMurphy and their cages.

My birds need plenty of room in for their cages, playstands, boings, swings and more. After all they do need their play time, not to mention exercise!

Having as many birds as I do, I have to be creative in finding things to keep them busy. They all have cardboard boxes full of toys to play with or destroy, depending on whatever mood they may be in. They love shredding paper and cardboard, or wooden things. They get everything from unused phonebooks, empty cereal boxes, to chunks of untreated, safe wood. It's a good alternative or addition to their stainless-steel buckets full of hand/foot toys.

Everyone knows how expensive bird toys can be but I have to keep a steady flow of new ones to replace the ones destroyed they get their big beaks on them. So, along with many store-bought toys, I have found some easy-on-the-budget ways to put together a few other things, too. Like a swing, made simply with one or two hula hoops that I buy at our local dollar store. For the macaws’ big feet that need a wide grip, I tie two hula hoops together with twine or vet wrap, then wrap them all the way around with 100-percent cotton rope. You could also use the heavy twine that can be found at places like Lowe’s.

I use a length of PVC pipe as a ceiling saver to cover the chain used to hang it up. Voila! A great swing that my birds spend a lot of time playing on and so cost efficient!  I have these swings hanging throughout our house so the birds can spend a little time wherever the action is going on at the moment!

One dollar for each hula hoop, about $3 for 100 feet of cotton rope, maybe another $3 for the chain and a couple bucks for the PVC pipe, which brings the price to approximately $10 — best of all, the birds love it.

Since I use a swivel ceiling hook, they get lots of flying exercise by flapping their wings as the swing goes round and round in circles. A regular ceiling hook could come unscrewed as they twirl so it's best to use a toggle bolt. The ceiling saver must be long enough so that the bigger birds can't reach above it to possibly unhook it.

McMurphy was playing on one of his hoop swings when he got up above the ceiling saver and unhooked it. The swing went crashing to the floor.

There he hung from the ceiling looking like a big, beautiful, feathered chandelier!  Once I was sure he was OK, of course, I had to grab my camera to get pictures! What a predicament! Silly bird!

Cluttered as it might seem at times with all my birds and their toys and play areas, living with them doesn't leave me time to sit around being bored. I am continuously thinking up new ways to fit yet something else in for the birds’ enjoyment.  We who live with and love our birds find ways to fit it all in. My birds have definitely decorated my life and my home!


Tell me how you manage it all in the comments section below.
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Reader Comments
I have two Macaws (a Blue and Gold and a Scarlet) and I am always trying to think of low-cost toys. Your hula-hoop idea was great! Thanks!
Emily, Chicago, IL
Posted: 1/17/2010 9:07:39 PM
Gorgeous birds!! I wish I could come and play with them!!!!!
Diane, Marysville, KS
Posted: 9/4/2009 8:02:54 PM
I'm enjoying reading all the comments.
Don't forget to leave some ideas for all the fun ways you have found to decorate areas of your home with the idea of fun for your parrots in mind.
After living with parrots for a while I think most people come up with some unique ideas we can share.
After all...If our parrots ain't happy...Nobody's happy!
Linda, Toronto, OH
Posted: 6/27/2009 11:04:23 AM
Linda this was so wonderful to see. It was so pleasant. My hubby and I both watched it and had to go back several times to see things that we missed. Your family is very well cared for as it is obviously seen. I am so happy that you have the time to take care of these wonderful creatures.
I have an African Grey, 2 cockatiels and a green-cheeked conure. I love them all dearly.
Thank you for showing your "decorating". It has given us some ideas to use with our little family
Cryste, Ventura, CA
Posted: 6/26/2009 1:39:35 PM
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