African parrots are among the most interesting pets to have, and they do enjoy their sources of entertainment. Key among them is their love of foraging, which also happens to be a major part of their natural behavior, because it helps them to keep their minds active.
Since this behavior is a major aspect of their lives, it is important to allow them to fly and look for food sources, as well as have a source of entertainment – otherwise, they will get bored and begin developing unhealthy habits such as culling. When you keep them in captivity, there is a higher risk of them losing this freedom, so it is very important to buy some foraging toys for them to enjoy while they are in their cages.
There is research that noted that African greys, in particular, will prefer to forage over the food that is already present in their feeding bowls, as well as toys that allow them to pass plenty of time while using their minds to solve puzzles. In fact,., they can even enjoy these games so much that they forget to hold to their perches and can accidentally fall off. Therefore, the best toys to buy for them are foraging types, some which we will discuss below.
Type of toy
Check on Amazon
Creative Foraging systems E487
11 x 8 x 6
Super Bird Creations Peacock Sr.
Foraging and chewing
14 x 1.5 x 11
Paradise Toys Creative Foraging systems boxes
6 x 6 x 5.5
Super Bird Creations SB 364
12 x 7 x 7
Paradise Toys Creative forager large starter
7 x 3 x 3.5
Bonka Bird Toys Spoon delight
5 x 0.4 x 6
Bonka Bird Toys Large Jumbo tri-swing
Interactive and Puzzles
18 x 14
Jungle Peak Nuts & Bolts
6.4 x 5 x 1.9
This is an opportunity for a parrot to spin a wheel to its recovery chamber – and then fill the back side of the wheel with treats for your bird. It will present a nice challenge for a big bird, especially due to its rugged construction. The dimensions are not too bad either, coming at 11 by 8 by 6 inches, so it is sure to provide a great time while still remaining comfortable enough to handle.
The wheel size is also not too big or small, making it ideal for a medium-size bird. The treats that you place inside the wheel are also visible through some small individual holes, and these holes disappear as the bird turns the wheel – which can make it curious and try to find the treats in there.
The good news is that cleaning up this wheel is not that difficult as it may initially seem. All you need to do is unhooking it from the cage itself, and then apply a small pinch to remove the back cover. This will reveal a plastic click and small screw on the bolt, so you can remove them and open the entire wheel to wash it out.
The only issue we have is that it is challenging to install vertically on a cage bar, even when you are using both of the connection points. This can also prove difficult when you are using it to store treats for your bird, since the horizontal alignment can lead to things pouring out.
When you think about it, the best toys for birds are not just ‘toys’. For this brand, all their toys are meant to have a purpose that prevents the bird from becoming bored, aggressive, depressed or destructive – and it does this through stimulating its mental engagement, curiosity and physical activities.
This is another of the best forage toys you can get for your African Grey – in addition, it caters well to the playful needs of several other species such as mini macaws, small cockatoos, as well as other birds of similar sizes.
The material that makes it up is primarily pine wood slats (dried in a kiln setting), cotton rope (100%) and hardwood beads that are resistant to damage from chewing. Thanks to the utilization of a variety of textures, shapes, materials and colors, your pet birds will remain interested for a long time as they explore its attractiveness. The materials are also meant to satisfy the curious behavior of your bird by allowing them to chew on it.
The only problem we notice is that the wood can be quite flimsy, so be sure to have a spare one just in case the damage is too fast.
Unlike the previous two options, this one comes in a drawer format, and tis size is more fit for large parrot species such as Eclectic Amazons, Cockatoos, African greys, Macaws, and so on.
The entire system is comprised of four boxes, which are all transparent – so the bird can see the treats that you place in them. The drawers are three inches, and the challenge is for the bird to figure out how to open them – as they have a bottom lock that is inaccessible and prevents the birds from opening the drawers easily.
Since this sparks their curiosity, it is sure to keep them entertained for many hours, and prevent any negative behavior associated with boredom. If you want to clean the drawers, it is also easy; just remove the drawers and clean them individually, and they are also safe to keep in your dishwasher as well.
If you are worried about finding ways of keeping it securely in place, do not worry – the drawers bolt in a convenient way, and they are easy to wire to the cage itself. In fact, you will not need additional hardware to keep it in place. it is also durable, since the drawers are made from polycarbonate that is resistant to pecking from your birds.
As we have mentioned earlier, this brand is committed to offering the best for your pet birds. The brand itself has been highly recommended by avian experts throughout the world, and the company has been in business since 1992.
Best for birds of medium to large sizes, this is a great toy for birds such as Caciques, medium Conjures, ring necks, African Greys, Quakers, Pious, small cockatoos, eclectic Amazons, mini macaws, and other birds of similar sizes.
The major feature of the design employs the use of acrylic cups that are safe to place in dishwashers, as well as hardware that is safe to birds and plastic components that are colorful enough to hold its attention for long periods. All these are arranged in a 4-way pattern, so that each side holds its own level of interest for the animal. The cups are also quite easy to refill, and their clear nature means that the birds can see their treats easily and forage them out of curiosity.
This toy comes in the form of an easy-to-fold box, which has a honeycomb chamber in it. you can then fill this with your bird’s favorite treats, and the challenge here is that it must find a way of accessing them. If you want to increase the level of difficulty as well, it is quite easy – simply place the feeders in strategical locations that are more physically demanding.
For the best results though, you can use multiple feeders and create some perching paths. Change the feeders on a regular basis once you notice your bird is getting the hang of it, and this will keep them interested for a long time. The good thing is that the entire set comes with ten foraging boxes and one vertical forage box holder, so it is not difficult to implement this strategy.
Aside from foraging toys, you also need plenty of other distraction toys for your winged friends – and this is one of the best you can get. For many parrot owners, you will quickly notice it becoming a staple in your bird’s cage.
The height dimensions are about 14 inches, and it has acrylic rings that are multicolored, as well as stainless spoons in a variety of sizes ranging from 3 to 4 inches, to make some interesting noises and keep it entertained. The bird will come to love swinging it, playing with the rings and spoons, climbing, and looking at it.
All the materials that make up each of the components are safe for birds to play with, and they are also durable enough to last for many playtime sessions. In addition, you can use multiple hanging options, which you can place strategically to keep your bird entertained.
One complaint that we do have with the product is the chain links that hold the spoons, as they are not well fastened enough in some cases – so it is important to keep a close eye on them before giving them to your bird, and check for any damages after playtime.
If you are looking for a swing toy that can accommodate the playful needs of your parrot, this is among the best options you can try. It combines both durability and aesthetic design to create a solid tool for play, and one that you can even attach additional toys on to keep your bird busy for hours.
The design is in a tri-swing, which also allows two birds to use it simultaneously. The bright colors throughout as well as the differences in texture will keep the bird curious and entertained (as well as allowing it to chew without much restraint).
The set includes a variety of materials that are safe for birds as well. these are soft cotton rope tassels (though you need to keep an eye on these in case of fraying), colored plastic balls, a large bell, and natural wood cylinders. All these are held in place by a tied rope and a strong link chain, and it is easy for you to place it strategically in the cage through the quick link.
Coming in a pack of 6 bolts and 6 nuts each, this is an interesting item that can take care of the big chewers, as well as smaller birds and big birds alike. They are also versatile enough to be useful as foot toys, or you can use them to string your bird’s treats by drilling holes in them.
At the end of the day, the possibilities with this tool are endless, and your bird is sure to love them. The best part though is probably that the colors are varied, so your bird is sure to remain interested and excited trying to figure them out. There are four colors you will get – yellow, blue, green and red; and there are four different shapes as well.
If you are worried about the screws though, be warned – they are quite thick, and might prove difficult to unscrew and clean as well as join to the nuts. In addition, very large birds might chew these away, so consider buying them if your bird shows mechanical skills or likes taking things apart.
Selecting a good toy for them – the criteria
When you are looking for toys for your African Grey, ensure they are at the correct sizing relative to the bird. For instance, avoid buying toys that are meant for smaller birds just because they might be more affordable; the bird can take apart the components and swallow them accidentally.
In addition, you also need to ensure the edges are not sharp, and the materials comprising them are safe for the parrot to use. If they love bells, for instance, the bells you get for them need to be safe – so no ‘jingle bells’, and you should replace the clapper with a quick link made from stainless steel.
Some of the guidelines to keep in mind are:
- Puzzles – some of the birds will enjoy toys that make them chew a box or move levers in order to get a reward
- Chewing – the instinct of these birds is to chew on things, especially wood. Always make sure you provide them with paper, rawhide, cardboard and wood to keep them busy.
- Noisy toys (interactive) – these include wiffle balls, music boxes, shape interactive toys, baby rattles, and so on.
Rope toys are good, but sometimes will have a tendency to fray – so if you are giving them this type, make sure to regularly check for loose areas that require trimming. In addition, always supervise the use of these ropes so that they do not harm the bird. There are even instances where African Greys have their toes and beaks caught in frayed objects.
What if I want to make my own toys?
If you want to be creative and make your own toys from the usual household items in your home, you can still do so. Some of these include:
- Cutting up some pieces of cardboard, which they can hold in their ‘hands’ and take apart
- Wadding up bits and pieces of old newspapers
- Using real wine bottle corks that they can chew
- Plastic straws
- Wrapping some treats for the bird in a piece of newspaper
- Using plastic bottle caps (make sure to remove any insects)
- Large buttons
- Paper cups that are un-waxed
- Large stainless steel washers and steel bolts – but ensure they are disinfected first. Always use stainless steel, as other metals could be toxic
- Unscented cardboard rolls
- Wooden sticks like ice cream popsicles
- Clothes pins and wooden spools (make sure to remove the wires though)
For any toys that are salvageable after the bird ‘chews’ on them or destroys them during the playtime sessions, you can always keep these in a toy box made from cardboard. Alternatively, you can make ‘new’ toys for the parrot by taking some thick natural rawhide and using it to connect the parts.
To keep your parrot mentally active, change the toys they play with after every two weeks or close to that. introduce new toys slowly to them as well – if they are quickly bombarded with new toys, they will tend to shy away from using them, or never use them at all.
The best way to do this is through demonstration; if they have never seen that toy in their play pen, ensure that you demonstrate it to them before attaching it. thanks to their natural sense of curiosity, they will want to explore playing with this new toy as long as you show them how.
African Greys are highly intelligent birds that need constant stimulation in order to not get bored, so it is a good idea to get good toys for them. The best ones are those that allow them to chew, shred, take apart, and give them a chance to use their brain power, which they will enjoy.