Whether you have one budgie or delight in caring for a small flock, you can enrich a budgie’s life and stimulate its intelligence with bird toys, personal attention, a room with a view and a vitalizing environment. You can help build a strong, loving relationship with your parakeet by provided it with the stimulation and environment necessary for your bird’s physical and psychological health. Parakeets love bird toys, and there are literally hundreds from which to choose. Many are classic bird toys, and they are still on the market after decades. Others can pose potential hazards to your budgie and should be avoided.
Forego bird toys that may tip over. Pet birds can be badly injured when these structures capsize under their weight. Budgies are heavier than they look!
Budgies or parakeets need plenty of toys in their bird cages.
Bird toys with removable pins, staples and tacks are ill-advised. When manipulated by an inquisitive parakeet, the sharp objects may injure beaks and other body parts. Curiosity can kill the bird!
Check swings, millet holders, ladders, etc., for dangerous notches and crevices. Little notches and crevices can ensnare tiny bird toes.
Jingle-type bells are toe traps. Your parakeet’s toe can slip in easily at the wide end and become trapped in the narrow portion of the opening. A cowbell style is the safer option. If you are concerned about the safety of any bell, remove it.
Synthetic fibers can get wrapped around your budgie’s toes and legs. If you provide your parakeet with rope toys or nesting material, use those made of cotton. The thicker strands will be more visible should they become wrapped around a tiny limb.
Dyed leather contains compounds that are toxic if ingested. Opt for bird toys made of vegetable tanned, un-dyed leather instead. If leather becomes heavily soiled or wet, it should be discarded due to the possibility of bacterial growth. Don’t allow your budgie to nibble on shoes, handbags, wallets or other leather products intended for human use.
Metal, shower curtain-style hooks are sometimes used to suspend bird toys from cage bars. These are unsafe. Large birds may manipulate the hooks and impale their mandibles on them. A small bird may be strangled if its head becomes stuck in the small end of the hardware.
Safety is the most important feature of any bird toy. Examine playthings for potential hazards, and supervise your parakeet with any new bird toy. Choose bird toys that have smoothly welded chains with links of sufficient size to eliminate toe-trapping. Observe your budgie to be sure it isn’t actually eating pieces of wood, cloth or rope. Take some precautions when offering your budgie a new bird toy. Some parakeets may initially be frightened of objects that they do not immediately recognize. Allow your budgie to observe the toy from a distance for a few days, then move it progressively closer to the bird cage to allow your parakeet to develop some curiosity about the strange item. Handle the new bird toy within sight of your budgie to show that it is harmless.
Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Parakeets with permission from its publisher, I-5 Publishing, LLC. Purchase Parakeets here.