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15 DIY Parrot Toys You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

pet bird electus parrot playing with toy

It may be surprising for new parrot owners, but birds absolutely love to play. The more toys you have for your bird, the better. They must play to satisfy their natural urges to chew, shred, destroy, and forage. Unfortunately, store-bought toys can cost a fortune, especially if you have to replace them every few weeks because your bird has completely demolished and dismantled them. Thankfully, you can make your own parrot toys cheaply with materials you probably already have in your home!

Read on to find 15 DIY parrot toys you can assemble today to keep your bank account in the green and your parrot as happy as can be.

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The 15 DIY Parrot Toys You Can Make Today

1. Parrot Foraging Toy

Foraging box for parrots
Image Credit: psittacology.com
Materials: Box, bedding, accessories
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

Foraging is a natural behavior that all wild parrots engage in. Just because your bird lives indoors doesn’t mean these behaviors go out the window. This parrot foraging toy will entertain your pet for hours, enriching her life and making her happier.

This DIY is super simple to throw together in a few minutes. All you need to do is fill a container (preferably a box, as it will be safe for your parrot to shred) with bird-safe bedding and accessories you probably already have at home. For example, the original creator used old parrot toys that their bird already destroyed. This is a great way to reuse otherwise useless toys. You can use pretty much anything so long as it is made of bird-safe materials, like unbleached coffee filters or even a smashed calcium block.

Assemble all of the materials in the box. Add in your bird’s favorite foods or treats and watch as she flexes her foraging muscles.

2. Cupcake Liner Toy

Materials: Cupcake liners, paper straws, pin, raffia, beads
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This cupcake liner toy is easy to assemble and is made using materials you probably already have. We recommend splurging on colorful cupcake liners as they’ll draw your parrot’s attention more than plain white ones.

You’ll thread your beads, cut-up paper straws, and cupcake liners onto the raffia string to make a fun, shreddable toy your parrot will love destroying. You can make the toy as long as you need it to be for your bird’s size.

3. Toilet Paper Roll Toy

Toilet paper toys
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Empty toilet paper roll
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This toilet paper roll toy is an easy DIY parrot toy that your bird will love to destroy. Since you’re using recyclable materials, this project will cost you nothing and save space in your recycling bin.

You only need to cut out slices from your toilet paper or paper towel roll. Put the pieces inside each other until they form a ball. That’s it! You can place your birds’ favorite treats in the middle to keep her interested and encourage foraging behaviors. While larger parrots will tear through one of these in no time, they’re so easy and quick to assemble that it doesn’t even matter.

4. Climbing Net

Parrot climbing net
Image Credit: birdtricksstore
Materials: Bird-safe rope
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Climbing nets are very popular parrot toys, and for good reason. Birds love them! Unfortunately, the mass-produced options at your pet store can set you back up to $100, depending on the size. Thankfully, they’re relatively easy to make, as evidenced by this DIY climbing net.

The hardest part of this DIY is finding a good quality and bird-safe rope. We recommend contacting manufacturers for samples and buying in bulk, preferably on the spool, if you can. Natural fiber ropes are best as they fray less and are easier to tie back together once your bird chews through part of the grid. However, remember that jute, sisal, and hemp products imported from overseas may be sprayed with chemicals in the cargo hold. Having an open line of communication with the wholesaler can help provide peace of mind that your rope won’t be contaminated by the time it is in your hands. Do not buy rope from marine suppliers or your local hardware store. These companies typically carry rope intended for outdoor use, so it’s treated with chemicals to make it more durable.

5. Dixie Cup Foraging Toy

DIY Foraging Toys dixie cup
Image Credit: bestinflock
Materials: Dixie cups, bird-safe leather, treats
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This Dixie cup foraging toy is another quick-to-assemble project to enrich your parrot’s life. Using little cups is genius as they obviously are great for holding your bird’s favorite treats and food items. Placing them on top of each other encourages your pet to stay active and forage for her food, thus enriching her life and providing entertainment at the same time.

The key is finding bird-safe leather. Vegetable tanning is the only acceptable process that results in a product safe for use in parrot toys. This organic method uses natural vegetable tannins from bark and is free of dangerous chrome found throughout the leather industry.

6. Wiffle Ball Tissue Foraging Toy

Wiffle Ball Tissue Toy
Image Credit: petdiys.com
Materials: Paper towel, treats, wiffle balls
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

This wiffle ball tissue foraging toy is another project to enrich your parrot’s life. Like some of the other DIYs we’ve looked at so far, this toy is super quick to put together. All you need to do is tear a large piece of paper towel in half and shove them through the holes in the wiffle ball. Up the ante by placing your parrot’s favorite treat into the tissue and wrapping it before putting it into the wiffle ball. You can hang this toy from your bird’s cage with bird-safe rope or leather or leave it on the floor for your parrot to approach when she is ready.

7. Coffee Filter Puff Parrot Toy

Materials: Coffee filters, shoelaces, wood beads
Tools: Scissors, hole puncher
Difficulty Level: Easy

This fun coffee filter puff toy is a great shredding toy and can even double as a foraging activity for your parrot. You probably already have all the materials you’ll require for this project. We recommend an entire package of coffee filters to make the toy puffier.

All you need to do to start is punch holes in the center of your coffee filter. Tie a knot in your shoelace and place a wooden bead against the knot to act as a washer. Now, string the coffee filters alternating cup side up and cup side down to make the toy take on a puffed shape. Use another wooden bead as a washer and tie a knot in the shoelace. You can then hang the toy from your bird’s cage and let her shred it up. The spaces between the filters are also great for hiding your pet’s favorite treats!

8. Bird Play Gym

Materials: PVC pipes, PVC coupling, PVC caps, PVC elbows, PVC tees, screws, twine, perches
Tools: PVC pipe cutter or saw, drill
Difficulty Level: Advanced

Bird play gyms, like climbing mats, are popular toys but can be expensive if bought from the store. This DIY play gym project is a much more cost-effective way to give your bird a fun play place. The best part is that since you’re building it from scratch, you can make it as simple or complicated or as big or as small as you need it to be. Once your design is configured to your liking, use bird-safe twine or jute to give your bird a texture material to perch on.

Before beginning this project, please note that you should be familiar with using power tools.

9. Zip Tie Toy

Zip tie bird toy
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Chain, ball with holes or a plastic ring, zip ties, optional things to add to the chain
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

This zip tie toy is a fantastic project that comes together quickly and works great as a destroyable toy for parrots. Many parrots enjoy chewing and destroying zip ties; since these are the basis of the toy, this DIY is often a huge hit with birds.

To start, choose something for the base of your toy. The original creator used a plastic ball that was designed to hold treats. You can use anything that you can attach zip ties to. Next, connect your chain to the ball with sturdy jump rings. At this point, you can add other chewable items to your chain, like leather squares. Next, add zip ties to the creation wherever you see fit and attach the toy to your bird’s cage.

Note: Please ensure the hardware you use is (a) sturdy and (b) made of bird-safe materials such as nickel-plated or stainless-steel chain.

10. Treat Tube

Toy for Caged Birds
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Bird seed, tall glass, A4 paper, yummy treats
Tools: Funnel, non-toxic glue stick
Difficulty Level: Easy

This treat tube is a hit with parrots, providing enrichment and a tasty treat for all their handwork. It doubles as a foraging and destroyable toy, too.

Using your non-toxic glue, put a line down along the long edge of your paper. Next, roll the paper up into a tube, fastening it together at the glue line. Twist one end about two inches in and put it in a glass. Using your funnel in the open end of the tube, fill it halfway with your bird seed and other yummy treats. Twist the other end to enclose the seeds and treats. Poke a small hole along the way to get your bird started, and let her figure out how to get the food out herself.

11. Gum Wrapper Toy

DIY Bird toy
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Gum wrapper(shiny), gum package, paper clip
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

This gum wrapper bird toy is about as easy as it comes to make, so it’s a great option for people who don’t consider themselves avid (or particularly skilled) crafters. Instead of tossing out your gum wrapper or the packaging your gum comes in, shred it up and use it as a bird toy. Don’t stop at gum wrappers, though. You can tear up pretty much any similarly sized cardboard that would otherwise wind up in your garbage or recycling and use it for this project.

Please ensure the paper clip you use for this project is made of bird-safe materials.

12. Toilet Paper Shredding Toy

Recycled toilet paper toys
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Toilet paper roll, shredded paper
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy

This toilet paper shredding toy is a simple and free project you can complete in seconds. All you need to do is save your toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Fill the roll with shredded paper and sneak a treat inside if you have one on hand. This will encourage your parrot to explore her new toy more while also promoting foraging behaviors. If you like, you can poke a hole in the roll and hang it from your parrot’s cage, so long as you use a bird-safe material for hanging.

13. Branch and Loofa Toy

Parrot toy fromnatural materials
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Branches, coconut peel, jute, natural loofah, metal lock
Tools: Drill, shears, scissors, tweezers
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This branch and loofa toy is a fantastic project made using many materials your bird might encounter in her natural habitat. Though the instructions are not in English, the provided photos offer a good idea of how this DIY is to come together.

Cut a length of bird-safe jute rope and drill holes in your coconut peel. Cut your branches into smaller sections using your shears. Next, with your scissors, cut your natural loofah into slices. Loofa is an all-natural plant safe for your parrot to pick at, chew, and preen, and they are great for foraging too. Tie a knot in your rope and begin stringing on your bits and bobbles until you’ve made a toy appropriate for your bird’s size.

Note: Please use bird-safe branches, as not all woods are safe for birds. Avoid toxic ones like cedar, plywood, red cherry, and oak. Non-toxic, washed, and disinfected branches are best for this project. We recommend willow, apple, elm, ash, or maple.

14. Egg Carton Foraging Toy

Egg Carton Bird Foraging Toy
Image Credit: PetDIYS.com
Materials: Egg carton, string
Tools: Scissors
Difficulty Level: Easy

This egg carton foraging toy is another simple DIY perfect for anyone new to crafting. All you need to do is cut up your leftover egg carton so you’re left with the individual egg cups. Poke a hole in each cup and attach it to a string, switching directions of the cup each time to create a little bowl. Make the toy as long or as short as you need it, depending on your bird’s size and the space you have in her cage to work with. Tie the remaining string at the top and hang it from the cage. You can now fill each bowl with snacks and treats to encourage your parrot to forage.

15. Coconut Toy

Coconut bird toy
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Wood blocks, coconut shell, jute, popsicle sticks, non-toxic food coloring
Tools: Scrub brush, drill
Difficulty Level: Easy

This coconut toy repurposes a whole coconut you can buy at the market. You’ll need to crack it with the back of a knife first and then drain its juices. Open the coconut and clean out the flesh before using soapy water and a brush to clean the inside. Let it dry, and then drill as many holes as you’d like.

To keep your bird interested in her new toy, use non-toxic food coloring to paint the popsicle sticks and wood blocks in fun and bright colors.

Using jute, thread it through the holes you drilled in the coconut and tie your popsicle sticks or wood blocks to the rope. Hang the toy in your parrot’s cage and see how long it takes her to destroy it.

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Materials to Avoid Using When DIYing Parrot Toys

Unfortunately, not all materials are bird-safe, so you must ensure everything you use when constructing your parrot’s toy will not harm her. The following materials should be avoided at all costs:

  • Woods like cedar, plywood, oak, cherry, natural branches, flavored woods, or treated wood
  • Rope like nylon
  • Zinc-coated chains
  • Leathers that have been dyed or tanned with chemicals like chromium or formaldehyde
  • Split key fasteners
  • Snap hooks
  • Spring loaded clips
  • Improperly sized rings for your bird’s size
  • Bells with unsecured clappers
  • Jingle-type bells

Materials to Use When DIYing Parrot Toys

Now that you know what materials you should steer clear of, here are some that are generally considered bird-safe:

  • Woods like pine, basswood, poplar, elm, apple
  • Ropes made of 100% natural fibers such as cotton or hemp
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Properly sized acrylic pieces for your bird’s species and size
  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Quick links
  • C-clamps
  • Properly sized rings
  • Cow or liberty-style bells with securely attached clappers

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Final Thoughts

Parrots need toys for enrichment and to keep undesirable behaviors to a minimum. Birds are notoriously hard on toys as they mostly use them to chew, shred, or otherwise destroy. If you’re on a tight budget, the above DIY projects will save you money in the long run and keep your bird happy, healthy, and entertained. It sure beats dropping hundreds of dollars monthly on new toys!

Featured Image Credit: Jill Lang, Shutterstock

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