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Updated October 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best bird toys

With dogs and cats, pet owners know the importance of giving them toys to provide stimulation and exercise. However, these are not the only pets who need toys and mental stimulation. Finding the best bird toys can give your pet bird entertainment during the day, while also enhancing their mental and physical health.

When a bird plays with a toy, it helps them remain active. Birds naturally spend a lot of time on their own inside their cages, and toys can help them with engagement. Rather than performing destructive behavior that can create a mess in the cage or that can be dangerous for the birds, toys give them items on which to focus their energy.

However, placing just any object inside the bird’s cage and calling it a toy isn’t a safe way to give your pet the stimulation it needs. Instead, you need to rely on safe bird toys that won’t create a health hazard. Check out our shopping guide and product recommendations for some ideas about specific products for safe play for your birds.

a bird playing with its toys
Selecting safe toys for your bird depends in large part on the size of the bird. Extra-large birds need different toys than small birds.

How to buy the best bird toys

Inside vs. outside the cage

Think about whether you’re seeking bird toys that the bird will primarily use inside or outside the cage.

Smaller birds that rarely leave the cage use small toys that go inside the cage. You want the bird to be able to move freely in the cage, so don’t fill it with a giant toy.

For larger birds that spend part of the day outside the cage, play stands and large toys are available that keep the bird entertained. These are expensive, but they’re nice choices for large birds who need a bit of extra freedom of movement.

Encourage natural behavior

When trying to pick a bird toy that your pet will like, think about toys that encourage the bird to act in a natural manner as much as possible.

For example, in the wild, birds need to forage for food. They may need to chew items to try to break them open to reach the food. They may need to try to figure out how to find the food and how to extract it.

Toys that force pet birds to perform actions similar to these can be especially beneficial.

Combat boredom

When birds are bored, they may develop bad habits like pulling out feathers or making constant noise.

Toys can stimulate birds mentally, keeping them busy and engaged. This leaves them less time to exhibit unwanted behaviors from boredom.

To combat boredom, try to pick bird toys that match the activities your bird enjoys. Larger birds tend to like puzzles and chewing toys. Smaller birds appreciate swings, shiny objects, and mirrors.

Items like cuttlebone can serve as both a bird toy and a source of calcium for certain birds.

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What are the key features of bird toys?

Chewing

Birds don’t have teeth, but they do use their beaks to tear at materials in the wild, which makes chewing toys highly popular. By using a chewing toy, the bird keeps its beak sharper and healthier as well.

When selecting a chewing toy, paper and wood are popular choices. Cuttlebones are also popular for this usage.

Chewing toys can result in some mess, and it’s possible that the bird could ingest unsafe chunks of the chewing toys. You must inspect the toy regularly to make sure it remains safe for your bird to use.

Foraging

Bird toys that encourage foraging are especially good for larger birds. Foraging toys may hide the treat inside a compartment, forcing the bird to tear the material until reaching the treat. Some foraging toys may not be tearable, but they may force the bird to try to maneuver its beak into a tiny hole to access a treat.

Large birds may enjoy foraging toys that force them to break open an item to retrieve a nut or treat. This type of toy mimics behaviors the bird may need to do in the wild. It forces them to try to figure out the best way to defeat the puzzle.

Preening

Preening toys help birds mimic natural behaviors related to cleaning their feathers and trying to admire their appearances. When your pet bird is the only bird you own, being able to foster preening behaviors with toys is helpful, as the bird cannot exhibit preening behaviors with other birds.

Some preening toys may be soft, allowing the bird to snuggle with them.

Stimulating

Some bird toys seek to stimulate the bird’s senses. Shiny objects or mirrors that catch the bird’s attention visually can be a great choice for smaller birds.

Some birds like bells or toys that make a noise when they move, creating audible stimulation.

a bird playing with its toys
DID YOU KNOW?
Stainless steel toys are good for birds, as the bird can’t splinter them and they sparkle in the light to entertain the birds.
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How much do bird toys cost?

Inexpensive

Bird toys can cost as little as $3 to $10 apiece. These often are simple toys or those made for chewing, so they may not last very long.

Toys for smaller birds often fit in this price range, while larger birds rarely see toys in this price range. If you see toys for large birds in this price range, make sure the materials are safe, as you may find some dangerous cheap toys for large birds here.

Mid-range

Expect to pay $10 to $17 for average toys. These toys can represent a mix of chewing toys and durable, metal toys. Average-size birds are more likely to find toys in this price range, though metal toys and mirrored toys for smaller birds may fit in this price point, too.

Expensive

The most expensive bird toy options for inside the cage cost $17 to $40. Typically, toys for large birds fit in this price range.

If the bird likes to chew, these toys consist of firm materials, ensuring that they’ll last longer than softer toys. Some toys in this price range are multilayered toys, stimulating the bird and forcing it to solve puzzles.

Additionally, you can find freestanding bird toys made for use outside the cage in this price range. These toys, which can consist of perches as well as hanging items, can cost $50 to $250.

Wooden toys consisting of pressure-treated wood, plywood, or specific types of wood like cherry, cedar, and oak are not safe for birds.

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Tips for maintaining and cleaning bird toys

Keeping your bird toys clean makes them safe for the bird to use for as long as possible. You also want to maintain the toys, removing areas of damage, to ensure the safety of the toy.

  • Clean toys outside the cage. If you’re trying to clean toys while they’re hanging inside the cage, it’s tough to clean them properly. You should remove toys from the cage for inspection and cleaning.
  • Inspect toys frequently. Inspect toys at least weekly. Inspect toys made for chewing more frequently for signs of damage.
  • Remove damage to toys. Remove frayed areas or those that may represent an area where trapping of the bird’s leg or foot is possible. If you see cracks in the plastic, creating sharp edges, discard the toy.
  • Wash bird toys. If your bird regularly plays with a toy, it will become soiled. You can gently wash bird toys with a mild, natural soap that’s scent-free. Use hot water for the best results, and allow the toys to air dry.
  • Clean wood toys. Wooden toys are popular for bird owners. When cleaning them, don’t soak wood bird toys in water. Scrape any solid materials off the wood and then wash the wood by applying gentle soap and hot water.
  • Throw out worn toys. When a toy is showing significant wear, it’s time to discard it. Although we all want to receive as much use out of the purchase of a bird toy as possible, a highly worn toy becomes dangerous. Throw it away and introduce a new toy.
two birds with their toys
Some toys create a lot of noise, so if you work at home and need a quieter environment, you may want to avoid noisy toys like bells.

FAQ

Q. How many bird toys do you need to have in a cage?

A. In most cases, two or three toys are plenty. You don’t want to fill the cage with so many toys that the bird can’t move freely. In a small cage, you may want to hang only one toy. Then you can rotate toys every week or so to give the bird new stimulation options.

Q. Should birds have mirrors as toys?

A. Although you may find some information that says placing mirrors in a bird cage can cause the bird to behave wildly, many small and medium-size birds enjoy mirrors. The mirror can serve as a fun toy for the bird, providing stimulation.

Q. What are the benefits of chewing toys for birds?

A. Birds are able to sharpen and strengthen their beaks through the use of chewing toys. Additionally, for birds that spend time free inside your home, giving them chewing toys is safer for them than allowing them to chew on furniture.

Q. What are some of the most dangerous aspects of bird toys?

A. If the toy has holes or areas that may become slightly loose, birds can snag their toes, feet, and legs inside these areas, creating a dangerous situation. Toys that create large splinters can become dangerous if the bird ingests the pieces.

 

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