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Are Baby Toys Safe for Parrots?

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

We often store our old baby toys in the loft or basement just in case or as a keepsake. Given the cost of buying new bird toys, with certain caveats, recycling baby toys can save us money.

Babies bite, chew, and toss their possessions, just like parrots. Most old baby toys (unless they’re very old!) are bird-safe because they’ve complied with children’s safety rules and legislation.

Of course, the bite force of large parrots (macaws, cockatoos, Amazons, etc.) is far higher than that of human babies. This must be considered because only certain materials are suitable.

Wooden baby toys like blocks wear down, sharpen, polish, and shape their ever-growing beaks.

Parrots enjoy reflections and sounds. Consider baby mirrors, rattles, and other noisy toys, like bells or xylophones. Parrots love to rip up paper, so they’ll enjoy shredding children’s books.

Old plastic and rubber baby toys shouldn’t be put in a cage. They’re often poorly constructed or made from flimsy materials. If ingested, they can be toxic or present a choking hazard.

All baby toys should be regularly inspected and removed once they show wear and tear.

Why Parrots Need Toys

Parrots need near-constant stimulation, so toys are essential in a caged environment. Without sufficient entertainment, parrots will grow increasingly bored, withdrawn, and depressed.

Companion Animal stated that toys that provide visual and aural stimulation and the opportunity to forage are among the best entertainment sources for companion birds.

Baby toys are a low-cost alternative that provides mental stimulation and physical activity.

Parrots Playing with Baby Toys

The ideal baby toys for parrots have the following characteristics:

  • Colorful – Parrots are drawn to bright colors and interesting shapes.
  • Tough – Parrots will chew and knock toys around, so they must be sturdy.
  • Stimulating – Any toy must occupy a parrot’s mind.

Safety precautions must also be taken under advisement. These include ensuring the parrot won’t choke on broken-off fragments or hurt itself when playing with the toy.

can you use baby toys for parrots?

Best Baby Toys for Parrots

Here are some suitable baby toys for pet parrots:

Wooden Blocks And Beads

Parrots will enjoy chewing on wooden toys, where they can wear down their beaks. The wood should be sturdy enough to withstand such attention.

Wooden toys tend to be larger, which is beneficial. Blocks are at least the size of a parrot’s head, if not larger. Even beads on a string are large enough to avoid choking.

Even though a parrot is unlikely to swallow a wooden toy whole, be mindful of toxic materials. Avoid cedar, pine, or synthetic fibers on strings that host beads.

Soft Toys

As explained by the American Federation of Aviculture, parrots love soft toys. They’re an alternative to the parrot’s mother because they can be embraced for comfort and warmth.

Adult parrots enjoy stuffed toys in their cages. They grow curious and explore, potentially befriending or playfighting with the stuffed animal. However, parrots have destructive tendencies.

When a parrot is left alone with a stuffed animal, it’ll likely tear the toy apart. When the toy’s innards are exposed, it must be removed from the cage and thrown away.

Mirrors

If a parrot is social, it’ll love having a mirror-based toy. Parrots don’t recognize their reflection (none have passed the mirror test, including African grays), so they may assume it’s a second bird.

For some parrots, this is exciting and a source of companionship. Other parrots can grow territorial or aggressive. If this happens, the mirror should be replaced with one that has distorted glass.

Baby mirrors (like those positioned above a cot or crib) are ideal, as the glass is much tougher.

Bells and Rattles

A baby toy with a bell that can be rattled or shaken to produce sounds will capture a bird’s imagination.

If a parrot’s cage is big enough, add a small instrument, like a baby xylophone. Pecking at the keys will create unique noises that a pet parrot will find fun and captivating.

Crinkle Books and Paper

A parrot will play with crinkly toys, growing fascinated by the sounds they make. Crinkly books are also quite sturdy and can withstand the attention of the beak.

Put a traditional children’s book in the cage because parrots love to shred paper. A children’s book will be thin and printed using non-toxic ink.

Baby Toys Parrots Avoid

The low cost is among the main selling points of baby toys over traditional bird toys. Unfortunately, cheap and flimsy toys purchased from a dollar store can be dangerous.

Here are some baby toys parrots should avoid:

Threadbare or Damaged Used Toys

Used baby toys aren’t necessarily a problem once cleaned with vinegar or run through the dishwasher. That’s why you should only give them toys that are in excellent condition.

Rubber Toys

Rubber toys will be soft and bouncy, appealing to a parrot’s fun-loving nature. Rubber is also soft, so if a parrot starts tearing them apart, they may become a choking hazard.

baby toys for parrot cage

Cheap Plastic Toys

Plastic baby toys are often made from cheap, disposable materials, which may contain toxic materials. Keep it out of the cage unless you’re sure a plastic toy is made from acrylic.

The flimsy plastic in baby toys will chip away when a bird chews at it. If a parrot swallows a shard of plastic, it could choke to death or experience digestive distress.

How To Introduce Baby Toys To Parrots

Parrots are neophobic and dislike new and unfamiliar objects. Putting lots of new toys in a cage will result in fear, not excitement.

Put one toy on a nearby table. The parrot will likely watch the toy intently, showing distrust. When the parrot finally starts to relax, bring the toy a little closer.

Eventually, the parrot will want to interact with the toy. Once the parrot has overcome its fear of the toy, you can leave it in the cage.

Baby toys can be a valuable source of enrichment for parrots. They’re a free alternative to toys sold at pet stores, and most parrots will enjoy playing with them once they realize they’re harmless.