Ask any conure owner what toys or activities their bird prefers and chances are you’ll get a variety of answers. Favored toys range from bells to chewable wood items to knotted leather; highly rated activities include bathing, hanging out with favorite humans or helping with household chores. However, what applies to one conure may not necessarily apply to another. But one thing seems universal; conures just want to have fun!
Top Toys & Activities For Conures
It can be difficult to pinpoint all-around favorite toys or activities because many conures, like orange front JC, enjoy a variety of things. “JC loves to chew on paper towels that I’ll tie around the cage bars for him. He enjoys chewing on bamboo toys after I give him a spray bath,” said JC’s owner, South Dakota resident Brian Cochran. “He will move plastic toys around if they have bells on them because he enjoys listening to the sounds of the bells. And he loves to chew on wood toys.”
JC also enjoys noisy activities. “He loves to play the ‘clapping’ game. It’s where he’s out with me on the gym or on his ‘traveling basket’ and I’ll clap while he’s on it. The minute he hears the clapping, he’ll be moving his head up and down with the rhythm,’ Cochran added.
Diane Baron of North Carolina has three conures that she refers to as her conure boy band. Band members include Patagonian conure Detre, black-capped conure Izzy and Sammy2, a green-cheeked conure. All are dedicated fun seekers. “My guys have tons of toys in their cages, and I change them out regularly. They also get music and TV in their room when I am not there.”
Baron’s Detre favors bells and leather, often ringing bells for attention or just for play. Sammy2 loves to shred wood. Baron said they especially enjoy foraging toys. “Izzy and Sammy love to go through a paper bag that I have tied to the side of their cage that contains treats. It gets shredded quickly.”
Florida resident Rebecca Kline shares her home with seven sun conures and a double yellow-headed Amazon. It takes creativity to keep her feathered flock occupied. Plenty of toys like shreddable wood items, foot toys and treats does the trick. Kline also has to figure vigilance into the equation. “My sun conures are all fully flighted, and they are out for safe flight time at least three times a day. They come out in shifts, as some don’t get along.”
Some conures prefer time-tested oldies but goodies. My 22-year-old blue crown, Rio, has a cockatiel-sized swing that he hitches to the front of his cage so he can preen it, kiss it, feed it and sometimes beat up on it. He’s had this swing for more than 20 years, along with a stainless-steel bell and mirror. No matter how many new toys he receives, he always returns to these trusted playthings.
While many conures are fearless when it comes to accepting new toys, others, like dusky-headed conure Chloe, are more cautious. “She does not like new things showing up in her cage and likes to keep perches in the same places,” said her owner, Florida resident Ellen Tolson.
And for some conures, like orange-fronted conure, Kermit, nothing satisfies the urge to play like human playthings. “Kermit prefers human jungle gyms to toys,” said Kristy Weldon of Missouri.
From Fearless Conure To Clingy Conure
Conure playstyle vary. Some conures fling themselves into play with wild abandon. Some even devise ways to include humans in their games. “When Lucky is out of the cage, he loves to throw his toys down from the top of his cage and, of course, I pick them up for him,” said Linda Pearson of Illinois of her sun conure.
Not many conures can resist the lure of a fresh container of water, so it’s no surprise that bathing is a beloved pastime. Nanday conure Banning is no exception. “She loves to take a bath or a shower. She bathes in a Pyrex pie plate or gets sprayed. Her favorite is standing on her shower perch in the corner of the shower while I’m in there,” said Banning’s owner, Kit Grundstein of Pennsylvania.
Foraging & Shredding Toys For Conures
Wild conures don’t have the luxury of having their food hand-delivered and spend vast amounts of time every day foraging for whatever they can find. At home, enticing conures to work for their treats keeps their foraging instincts sharp and provides entertainment at the same time.
Creating homemade foraging toys is simple and they’re great fun for conures. “Loki and Tovi love it when I stuff a wiffle ball or grapevine wreath full of confetti, treats, little toys, beads, etc. I buy these at the dollar store, load them and hang them in their cages. It keeps them very occupied!” said North Dakota resident Beverly Ault. Ault also has two other conures, Oscar, a blue-crowned conure and Felix, a painted conure.
New Hampshire resident Sarah Glenn makes sure her two conures, Phoenix, a jenday, and Buster, a nanday, have challenging toys. “I like to make Buster and Phoenix work for their treats. I will wrap some treats in a paper towel and put them in a cage-like treat holder so that they will have a lot of work to do to get their treats. I occasionally give them each an almond in the shell, which they enjoy because they have learned that if they can get through that tough shell, there is something really good to eat.”
Unleash that conure urge to shred by offering safe ordinary household items. A favorite toy of Tolson’s dusky-headed conure, Chloe is an empty square boutique-style tissue box. “I clear the opening of the plastic and she likes to run in there and defend her territory. I put toys inside and she flings them out as quickly as she can!” Orange-fronted conure, Kermit, also takes great pleasure in chewing these freebie toys. “She likes plastic soda bottle lids, preferably the blue ones,” said Weldon.
Like most people, many conure owners work full-time so they can’t spend all day amusing their birds. Fortunately, as long as there are plenty of interesting diversions, most conures happily find ways to entertain themselves until their human companions get home.
Ault’s four conures are all quite happy to play on their own. “While of course Loki and Tovi would like to be with me as much as possible, they are also very good at entertaining themselves. I spend time with each bird every day, but I also make sure they have time everyday to hang out on the gyms or on their cages. Our schedule doesn’t allow for them to be out all the time, so they are also used to having time in their cages and don’t get demanding about coming out whenever they see us,” said Ault.
Conures Are Social By Nature
Social creatures, conures crave to be where the action is or the center of attention. Gregarious and outgoing, some are so adamant about this that they’ll bulldoze their way into whatever is going on. A conure left alone in a room far from the doings of its flock runs the danger of turning to self-destructive behavior, such as feather plucking, excessive masturbation or self-mutilation. To avoid this, keep your friendly, curious conure where it can see and take part in family activities or interact with visitors.
Zoe, a maroon-bellied conure owned by Massachusetts resident Andi Hall, loves being the center of attention. “Zoe is hyper-social, preferring a crowd to just about anything. She was quite a mama’s bird for a few years, but I starting bringing her to gatherings and events, and she decided that she loved a crowd,” said Hall. “She spends small bits of time with everyone, being very careful to be entirely devoted to the person of the moment, until she is ready to move on to the next person. The problem comes when she charms too many people at once. I have to frisk guests as they leave to be sure The Queen does not get abducted,” Hall joked.
Not all conures are social butterflies. Dusky-headed conure Hatch surprised his owner, Lee Klusky of Washington. “Hatch is not an explorer. He likes to be in his universe and is not particularly thrilled to be brought out of it. His universe includes his cage, his playstand, myself and my daughter. Over time, with familiarity, he will grow to accept other locations, such as our kitchen counter or the sofa. But Step One in keeping Hatch happily engrossed is to simply have him on me,” Klusky said. Similarly, Pearson’s sun conure, Lucky, is fussy about who he spends his time with. “Lucky only likes my daughter and myself. He does not like men at all. When our friends come over, he gets all puffed up, and he makes weird noises.”
Another shy conure is cherry-headed conure Pedra, owned by Alaska resident Donica. However, Pedra loves spending time with Donica and demonstrates her affection by vocalizations and physical interaction. “Pedra is animated and vocal when she plays. For example if we are sitting together, she is content to rub her beak over my clothing.”
Many birds enjoy taking part in daily activities. “Chloe is happiest when she is sitting on me or my husband as we engage in household activities. She also enjoys just sitting quietly on us and preening herself. She much prefers her ‘walking playgrounds,’ which are me and Jim,” Tolson said.
No matter what they’ve done during the course of a busy day, one thing is certain; all conures want to have fun but their preferred pastimes usually involve human interaction. “When it comes down to it, Hatch’s happiness has always seemed less about what he has to play with and more about whom,” said Klusky.