Toys for pet birds are not optional! They’re a high-priority necessity, especially for parrots of all sizes.
Bird beaks are designed to work and unless they have satisfying chew toys, birds may exhibit signs of frustration or begin to use their carpentry skills on your furniture, windowsills and doors.
Foot toys from Scooter Z’s Bird Toys and Accessories provide plenty of ways to get your bird working. Precisely milled and designed, some of them, like the geodesic Kosmos Ball, look like mid-century modern sculpture. The 4- by 4-foot sphere is composed of colorful wood balls joined by a network of small wood dowels. As with all Scooter Z’s toys, the colors are created using food-quality vegetable dyes and no glue is used in the fabrication of the plaything. A foraging model, called the Harmony Ball is stuffed with colorful, crinkled paper strips. It comes with hanging hardware that can be detached if you prefer that your bird use it as a foot toy. Larger models of both are in development, according to company president, Sunchea Phou.
I love to give foot toys to my Amazon parrot and African grey parrots to occupy them when I’m going out or when I need an extended period of silence. Bobo, my small African grey parrot, was immediately entranced by the tiny clear plastic pacifiers inside Scooter Z’s Treasure Wheel, a wood cylinder with knotted leather strips running through it and holding wood balls and discs to the outside. She worked on it for hours, trying to get at the little treasures inside. The wood parts are sturdy enough to withstand quite a few hours of medium-sized beak abuse. Bert, the larger African grey loves to roll around on the tray of his playgym, tossing and practically juggling the toys! The Amazon parrots work diligently to untie knots and reduce the wood to splinters. There’s plenty to pique avian interest in the entire line of foot toys: leather knots, faceted, high-impact pacifiers and colorful wood shapes. Others feature plastic balls and stretchy “fist” type knots at the center.
Sunchea Phou doesn’t have pet birds of her own, but does test toys with rescued pet birds and gets feedback from their owners and caretakers. She designs toys with the consumer in mind. “I read a lot of articles and bird lover forums to get ideas of what is needed and what is best for the birds,” she said. “I then research the components available in the market and custom design some of them myself. “ Phou responsibly includes a warning that no toy is 100-percent bird-safe and advises supervision on the hang tags.
Toys are fabricated of imported and U.S. made components. If you don’t see them in your local pet shop, ask the proprietor to order them through their distributor. According to Phou, they are available through bird product distributors nationwide.