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Fun for Feathered Friends

Rebekah Harrison//February 26, 2015//

Fun for Feathered Friends

Rebekah Harrison //February 26, 2015//

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“Gone are the days for bird toys with a few vertical blocks of wood on a chain with a little plastic to rattle and a bell on the bottom,” said Mary Wyld, owner of Wyld’s Wingdom. “Today’s popular toys, hands down, incorporate a wide variety of components including natural fibers, rope, cutesy touches and lots of layered action.”

It is up to retailers to educate their customers on the importance of toys for birds.

“Think child,” said Wyld. “Fid is a term used in the bird community that means feathered kid. A bird’s natural habitat biologically is diverse and intriguing with lots to do in every direction they look. Birds in our care need that same stimulation as best we can provide it.”

Vitacraft Sunseed’s SunSations Brain Teaser Toy is made with blocks that have secret compartments to challenge birds. They can pull on ropes to remove blocks and find treats. The toy works well for multiple types of birds to help keep them busy and to discourage bad behavior.

Another stimulating toy is Hagen brand Living World’s Learning Blocks. This toy was created to stimulate hook-billed birds. It helps teach shape identification, counting, spinning and foraging. The geometric shaped openings in the blocks are an ideal place to hide treats. The learning blocks are safe for birds to chew on as well.

JW Pet has an entire line of stimulating toys that incorporate entertainment for both bird and owner. The Magic Hat toy features a duck and bunny that pop out of a hat when birds shake or pull the dangling chain. This encourages repeat play to prevent bird boredom.

According to Wyld, these toys can fulfill bird’s basic needs.

“Birds are inquisitive and active creatures,” she said. “Toys of the new genre provide much more interaction to keep the boredom factor at bay. Colors, textures and foraging aspects are good for the birds both psychologically and physically.”

Retailers can play a key role in providing birds with a natural and biologically diverse habitat.

“That means lots of good toys rotated and changed out regularly,” said Wyld. “Birds need to chew and forage for food. Choose toys appropriate for the size of the bird and provide lots of choices. The birds will be healthier physically and mentally with fewer behavior problems. Much feather plucking can be discouraged or avoided with the proper use of toys.”

JW Pet features a Hall of Mirrors to fascinate birds by their own image. Given the shape of the toy, birds can see infinite images of themselves to serve as a constant environmental stimulation.

Super Bird Creations Foraging Pouch helps satisfy a bird’s natural instinct to not only chew but also climb, preen and forage for treats. It’s made of sea grass, wood, plastic and cotton. It’s filled with colorful crinkled paper shreds that parakeets can pull. The pouch opens like a purse so it can be filled with treats and snacks too.

For bigger birds, Super Bird Creations makes the Lost in Space toy that provides hours of chewing, swinging and preening for birds like African greys, Amazons, mini macaws and more. It’s made of two bird bagel halves that are strung with an assortment of other toys including a whiffle ball tied with sisal, wooden blocks, large plastic beads, knotted leather and more.

Zoo-Max has several perches that can also pose as toys to form a double threat product for larger birds. The Blocks Perch is a big wood perch that is made from hard wood pieces and 100 percent cotton rope. Birds can not only perch but also chew and play with the colorful wooden blocks.
Ultimately, retailers are responsible for educating their staff and their customers about how important bid toys are.

“Birds toys are a necessity to the well-being of captive birds,” said Wyld. “The retail store is front and center, the touch point for conveying the importance of toys to the bird parent. Taking on that responsibility is good for business and most importantly good for the birds!”