Here are some bird toys and bird products for caiques that will keep your pet bird enriched and entertained:
Coils: Any toy with the ability to bounce back, swing or sway will entertain a caique for a long while, or, at least until he’s on to the next thing! Try coiled rope and sisal toys that double as perches or ladders. Coil toys tend to become favorites.
Climbing Toys: Cargo nets for birds have become trendy recently, and they certainly won’t be wasted on a caique, a bird that lives to climb. Ladders and floor-to-ceiling toys also give this swingin’ bird some great exercise.
Foot Toys: Small foot toys are a caique’s BFF (Best Foot Friend). Caiques like to roll on their backs and play with small items. Bird-approved whiffle balls, safe bell balls, acrylic toys, birdy dumbbells and willow balls will all be put to good use.
Caiques love woven grass toys that they can tear apart or toss around.
Foraging Toys: Any toy that makes a caique “work” (or foraging) for a reward, such as a treat or food, is great mental and physical stimulation. Try toys that are pre-filled with treats or puzzle toys that make a bird mechanically move parts to retrieve a snack.
Grasses: Woven grasses are safe and fun for a caique to pull apart, especially when a woven toy is filled with treats or small toys. Caiques love crunchy and crinkly textures, so baskets and woven mats make perfect destruction toys.
Knots: Try toys with lots of rope, leather and sisal knots, and watch your caique take on the challenge of unraveling them. Remove rope toys when they become frayed, and always trim long strands that might pose a tangling hazard.
Leather Bird Toys: Caiques are big fans of a variety of textures, so include toys with leather pieces or knotted strands.
Noisy Bird Toys: Caiques love to make noise! But if you live with one of these birds, you know that already. Include toys with lots of bells and rattles. There are even toys that play music and those that record your own voice and play it back with the push of a beak.
Orbs: Sphere-shaped toys made from rope or plastic that allow a bird to perch or crawl inside are a caique favorite. Many of these types of toys are made with caiques in mind, so they also include what looks like an inordinate number of wooden, plastic and bell-type toys attached; no bird could possibly need all of those pieces on a single toy, right? If you’re asking yourself this question, you probably don’t have a caique — yet!
Paper Bird Toys: Toys that include paper rolls, such as calculator paper or toilet paper, are a little slice of heaven for a caique. Kraft paper items are also fun; try filling a small brown lunch bag with treats and sisal knots, and watch your caique behave like a kid on Christmas morning.
Puzzle Bird Toys: This is a bird that thrives on figuring things out. Puzzle toys that hide food are great stimulation.
Shredding Bird Toys: Birdy piñatas and toys that include woven, destructible materials and paper are big fun for caiques. You’ll have to replace these often, or learn to make them at home.
Swings: Every caique should have at least one swing, preferably one that includes toys and bells dangling from it.
Wooden Bird Toys: Safe wooden toys are great for caiques, especially youngsters that are still “teething” (or, beaking) and breaking in the world; in a caique’s landscape, everything looks better a little bit chewed.
Remember, caiques are tough on their toys, so only purchase those that can withstand rough play. Flimsy toys and those not sized for the caique can pose a hazard.
Other Forms of Enrichment For Caiques
Toys aren’t the only way to enrich a caique’s environment and life. There’s a big world beyond the cage! Here are some ideas to help give your caique the stimulation it requires.
Company: Caiques tend to be social and often appreciate the presence of another caique. Whether or not your particular bird will accept a bird companion is a judgment call only you can make, so start with a “birdy play date” to see if your bird is more of a “people-person” or a “bird’s bird.”
Fish Tank: A boring view is pure drudgery for the curious caique. A fish tank filled with colorful fish (or even fake fish and lots of bubbles) can be a fun distraction. Just make sure the tank is out of the bird’s reach and is securely covered so it doesn’t pose a drowning risk.
Radio & Television: Background noise mimics a caique’s wild environment. The rainforest is never quiet except when a predator is present. Quiet equals danger. Be your caique’s DJ or personal TV programmer. Choose shows that you think your caique will like; perhaps talk shows or cartoons.
Shower Perches: If your caique likes water — or just hanging out with you — invest in a shower perch. The humidity of the shower is good for a bird’s skin and feathers, and your daily shower is a great time to bond with your bird. Whose voice sounds better singing in the shower?
Bird Training: Doing some simple bird training with your caique gives your bird some dedicated hands-on time and strengthens your bond. Training can be as simple as teaching or reinforcing the “Step up,” and as complex as teaching your bird to dunk a tiny basketball or solve puzzles.
Window Views: Most parrots appreciate a view, at least part of the time. A nervous parrot might not want to see all of the activity outside, but the courageous caique might be quite entertained by the neighbors. Remember not to place your bird’s cage up against a window full-time because of temperature fluctuations and possible sleep disturbances.
You: Yes, you are the bottom line in enrichment for your caique’s life; spending quality time with you is the best entertainment. Bonding time can include just watching your favorite television shows together; just be careful, your caique might insist on holding the clicker.
Why Caiques Need Bird Toys
Many years of owning pet birds have shown that bored parrots become self-destructive, develop behavior issues and can even become medically ill. For caiques in particular, lack of enrichment can create biting issues, medical problems and feather destruction.
Behaviorally, the caique tends to be “beaky,” meaning that it likes to take on the world beak first. Most caique owners deal with this through behavioral modification. However, a bored caique or one that doesn’t get handled enough might become more “bite-y” than “beaky,” and that’s a difficult situation to turn around once the behavior is entrenched. Better to try to prevent it through enrichment.
Medically, an un-enriched caique can become overweight and even “depressed,” which can lead to self-mutilation. Lack of stimulation can also lead to a depressed immune system due to stress, which is a perfect environment for illnesses to begin.