Rebecca K. O'Connor
You don't have to spend a lot of money on your bird's gifts this year.
The gift-giving holidays are coming and they are coming fast! Have you thought about what you are giving your parrots for the holiday season? Many of us are struggling with finances this time of year and parrot toys can be expensive. Most of us are also strapped for time. Don’t fret! There are some great quick and easy toys that you can make quickly and inexpensively to give your favorite feathered friend a few things of its own to unwrap (or destroy).
If you’re anything like me, there are suddenly a lot of boxes from online shopping excursions in your home. The people in your life may be getting the presents inside, but don’t forget the outer packaging. A small box from Amazon.com is a favorite toy in my house. Just take all of the tape off of it, stuff it with newspaper, and throw in a few treats or toys. Fold the box shut, toss it in the cage and you instantly have a fun foraging toy for a parrot that enjoys demolishing cardboard!
Baking a lot of cookies this season? Don’t throw away those empty paper egg cartons. Stuff them with shredded paper, nuts seed and other goodies. I like to seal them with zip ties to make getting to the insides extra challenging. Then I use another zip tie to hang it from the cage. It’s quick and easy and the parrots love destroying them to get to the treats inside.
Inspect the cartons to make sure they are clean. As an extra precaution, if you are concerned about salmonella, you can put the cartons on a cookie sheet and bake them for 10 minutes at 150 degrees. Of course, you can always buy unused egg cartons in bulk if they are a hit at your house. They make great foraging toys!
Also, don’t forget that shredded paper in your gift bags and baskets. Shredded paper is great for stuffing foraging toys and hiding food. You should take care that whatever you put in your parrot’s cage is safe, but don’t forget to take a look before you toss boxes and wrapping accessories away. You might be holding a fun toy for your parrot.
You can purchase a bunch of toy parts, and make your own bird toys for Christmas.
If the holidays mean having a bit more time to relax, consider having a parrot toy-making party. If you have other friends who are parrot lovers, invite them over, break out the egg nog and get busy making toys. There are many places online that sell parrot toy parts. You can also get inventive and use components that are necessarily made for parrots. Tongue depressors, wooden spoons, playing cards, wooden blocks and balls, and bit of leather lace are all you need to make a bunch of toys that can last you for months. Buy a bunch of parts and ask that everyone bring a few of their own. Then you can swap pieces, steal ideas and have a good time!
And if you and your friends get carried and find you have more toys than you need, then you can play Santa. Donate some of your holiday cheer to a local parrot foster and adoption program. ‘Tis the season!
What are your favorite quick and easy toys for your parrots?
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