What is a Preening Toy?

There were a couple of things that I should have elaborated on in my last post, one of them is this question.

A preening toy, preener toy, or simply a preener is an object that is made of materials that can be preened by a bird.  Just as a bird will preen its mate’s feathers, or its own, or groom your hair, it will spend hours working on the strands in the many varieties of preener toys.  Pretty much, it is any toy that satisfies that need.

These are preening toys:







But, so is this:

The one thing they all have in common is that they have dangley parts that a bird will sweep its beak over simulating a preening action.  This seems to keep some birds from over-working their own feathers if they are so inclined.

Different birds have different preference when it comes to the materials that they like to preen.

Cloth toys as well as rope toys and perches fray easily and can serve as a preener for your bird.  HOWEVER, it is important to note, and I didn’t say this in my last post, that toes, necks and other body parts get entangled easily in frayed cloth or rope.  Anything frayed is, in fact, dangerous to keep in your bird’s cage without supervision.

Rope perches that have frayed over time can be cut back with scissors to a safe length.  Since a frayed edge of cloth can become dangerously long in just a matter of hours, it should not be left in the cage with a determined bird.  My vet had to amputate her own cockatoo’s toe after in became entangled in fray from her cage cover.

Fabric, however, seems to be a favorite material to many parrots and as long as safety is in the forefront of everyone’s mind it can make an enticing, and inexpensive toy.  A wet, or better yet frozen, facecloth can offer a lot of comfort and fun to a parrot in the summertime.  As always, be smart and think through potential dangers before you give ANY toys to your bird.

Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.

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