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The Different Types Of Playgyms

Your pet bird doesn’t need to perch on you to bask in your attention — use a playgym.

Diane Grindol

Cockatiel

Your bird doesn’t need to perch on you to bask in your attention. Perched on a playgym, your bird benefits from ambient attention from just being in the same room as you. A playstand or playgym gives your bird a safe perch, and it allows you to move your bird from room to room.

There is a wide variety of playstands and playgyms available. They vary in style, price and quality. You can even make your own perch. Here are some of the aspects of commercial playstands you’ll find in stores and online:

Tabletop Playstands
Tabletop playstands often consist of one perch and a support for that perch, with a base underneath. Some are called T-stands because of the shape. They can include feed cups. Other tabletop playstands have movable perches, which can be square, half round or built of triangles, with a sturdy base and a perch at the top.

Playstands
Made of wood, plastic, cage wire or PVC, there are a variety of playstands available for our small birds. They usually include several perches, ladders, and may even include toys or a place to attach a favorite toy. Some have bells, and they can be colorful. Look for a playstand that is easy to clean. Most are of a size that is easy to move from room to room.

Free-Standing Playgyms
Some playgrounds are available with large bases on wheels, making them free-standing but still movable. Such free-standing units may be made of natural wood, though there are some available in PVC pipe or powder-coated metal. These are sizable items, and become part of the décor in your room. They may be just what you need for your bird, as a sort of second home, or a place your bird can go to play freely. If the perch will be used for extended periods of time, be sure that it is designed with food and water cups. When picking a free-standing playgym, look for one that would be easy to clean and that can easily fit through the doorways of your home.

Hanging Perches
Your bird can "hang out,” quite literally, on a perch hung from the ceiling. Put a piece of newspaper or a washable mat under that area, and you’ve got a playstand. There are spiral versions, and some are built like nets, which encourages a bird to forage and climb. Since they’re made of fiber, and your parrot’s toe could get caught, supervise your bird when it is on it.

Other hanging perches are made of metal or acrylic, balls of plastic or wood.  l

Playstand Safety

  • Wood should be colored with nontoxic vegetable dyes.
  • Metal hardware should be stainless steel to prevent zinc poisoning.
  • Playground toys should be the correct size for the species of bird playing with them so that the bird does not get injured.
  • Playgrounds or perches made of rope or fiber should be used under supervision so that a bird does not get entangled or injured.
  • Metal stands or perches shoauld be powder-coated.
  • Wrought-iron items may contain metal welds and can be toxic if chewed.
  • Bells should have nontoxic clappers. Remove the clapper if you are unsure.
  • PVC pipe is slippery. It should be roughened or molded with ridges.
Want to learn more about playgyms for parrots?

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Posted: October 9, 2014, 11:00 a.m. PDT

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