African Grey Parrots love toys! Toys they can chew on, shred, untie knots, take apart, puzzles, wiffle balls, bells, and toys they can hang onto. African Grey Parrots are highly intelligent and need toys to keep them busy. They get bored easily and need stimulation.
It is amusing and downright entertaining when you get to see an African Grey Parrot in the midst of playing. African Greys play hard and can be having such a good time that they sometimes forget to hold on and fall from their perch.
Choosing a Safe Toy for Your African Grey
When choosing a toy for your African Grey Parrot, make sure it is sized appropriately. Toys for smaller birds are not strong enough, and small parts can become easily detached and swallowed or lodged. Make sure there are no sharp edges and that the materials used are safe for your African Grey Parrot. If he loves bells, make sure they are “safe” – no “jingle bells” and you should replace the clapper with a small stainless steel quick link.
You will soon figure out what type of toy and / or activity your African Grey Parrot prefers. Just watch and learn!
- Chewing: Destroying wood is a natural instinct for your African Grey. Provide them with wood, cardboard, rawhide and paper.
- Puzzler Toys: Some African Grey Parrots like toys where they can move a lever or chew a box to get a treat
- Interactive and / or “Noisy” Toys: Baby rattles, music boxes, shape interactive toys, wiffle balls, etc.
Rope toys can fray easily so keep an eye on these for loose areas that need trimming and supervise the use of these. There have been instances where African Grey Parrots have gotten their beaks and toes caught in frayed objects.
Make Your Own African Grey Toys
Use your ingenuity and create toys out of normal household items to help keep your African Grey Parrot busy.
- Wad up bits of newspaper
- Cut up pieces of cardboard that they can hold in their “hands” and demolish
- Plastic straws
- Wrap a nut or treat into a piece of paper
- Wine bottle corks – real ones only!
- Plastic bottle caps with any inserts removed
- Large buttons
- Large stainless steel bolts and washers—make sure they’re clean. Note: stainless steel only, other metals can be toxic.
- Unwaxed paper cups
- Popsicle and other wooden sticks
- Cardboard rolls (unscented)
- Wooden spools and clothes pins with wires removed
Make sure you keep salvageable pieces and parts of store-bought toys that have been destroyed during playtime. Place in a “toy box”, a cardboard box works great or purchase some thick natural rawhide and string the beads, blocks, etc. to create a “new” toy for your African Grey Parrot.
Change and rotate the toys every two weeks or so to help keep your African Grey Parrot active and interested. When introducing a new toy, do it slowly. If introduced too quickly, the African Grey Parrot will tend to shy away and very possibly never play with it. If the toy has never been in their cage and / or play top area, make sure they see you playing with it before attaching. Their natural curiosity and wanting to see everything and know all that’s happening will encourage them to come check out the new toy with you.
Toys help keep our African Grey Parrots happy, healthy and curious. Let’s hear it for toys!