Making Your Own Bird Toys With a Tight Budget

Some of you may have seen this on Facebook but I wanted to share a post about it too! I really enjoyed Jamie’s recent article about foraging for beginners, I was particularly inspired by re-using bits of toys that have been chewed to pieces!

I also recently read Patty’s post, do you spend too much money on your bird?  and was inspired to try to make something really cool that the flock would enjoy. We try to keep the enrichment in the parrot aviary pretty natural looking and tend to go with leafy branches or coconut husk toys, but yesterday the centre was fairly quiet and I thought I’d give them a cardboard box which, believe it or not, I had never thought to put in there for them!

Molly (Citron-crested Cockatoo), Charlie (Blue-fronted Amazon) and Coco (Blue and Gold Macaw)

Needless to say, it went down very well with the parrots, all of them got involved at some point during the day! There was a huge mess to clear up afterward, but it was well worth it to see how much they enjoyed such a simple thing.

One of the macaws (I have my suspicions that it was Bonnie as she is the master at destroying anything wooden!) chewed a wooden perch and it fell down to the floor of the aviary a couple of weeks ago.

Green-winged Macaw siblings, Bonnie (left) and Alfie (right)

When this has happened before, we’ve either re-arranged the perch/branch if it’s big enough or put it ‘to one side’ which often means it gets forgotten about and we end up with shiny pretty new perches or leafy branches instead. The piece that had fallen down was fairly small but we had the idea to make it into a foraging toy! So we drilled some big holes in it and stuffed in a few walnuts, some fruit and some big chunks of veg. Then, hung it up in the aviary and stood back to watch the flock slowly creep over to investigate… and then go nuts with excitement when they realized what it was!

Green-winged Macaws, Ruby (top) and Alfie (bottom) oh and Bonnie in the corner of the picture!

I must also credit Ben Coulson, who works with me at the Tropical Butterfly House for this as he did the hard work drilling the holes and hanging it up! I appreciate that not everyone has access to a power tool to make holes in a chunky piece of wood like this, but it just shows that a piece of wood from a toy, a broken perch, a piece of rope, or anything else, could be re-used to make a fun toy for your bird AND it seems a simple cardboard box is as fun for a parrot as it is for a small child!


Nadine Overstreet

Empty pill bottles…or empty snall containers…filled with a few dried beans… lid back on…interest Dumas. My quaker….He does not stop until he has the lid off and hid all the beans…He also loves plastic forks…not spoons….works for hours laceing them in and out his cage…hard to get them out to clean… Amazing…..He also loves key board keys…to my sorrow…will sit and watch me type….then like lighting…all of a sudden will dart , like lighting and grab a key off he board……Have a time..getting the keys back in place…..The birds just love varity..different , new things……

Nadine Overstreet
Neil Simons

I would like to know if somebody can mail me regarding building my own aviary at home. Keep in mind i am from South Africa and live in Cape Town. Rainy season can be very cold and wet. My email adress is or

Neil Simons
Nora Klinger

I buy corn on the cob, remove the corn which is thrown out for the deer and the cob makes a wonderful chew toy. My bird loves it.

Nora Klinger

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