Why bird toys are so important

16/02/2022 Upbringing & behaviour Bird

Birds love a challenge

Scientific research has shown that playing is as important to birds as eating. Playing keeps your flying friend mentally and physically fit. That’s why every bird likes to play and be challenged.

The importance of bird toys

Many domestic birds live a monotonous life, consisting only of eating and sleeping. This is often due to the fact that our lives are getting busier and we’re not at home as often, leaving us less time to care for our beloved pets. Of course, this should not affect your bird. It’s, by the way, very easy to make your flying friend feel at home and comfortable, without having to change your entire schedule.

How to get your bird to play?

Always provide several Toys , so your feathered friend can decide for itself which toys he wants to play with. Birds are fascinated by toys with different shapes, colours and textures. But toys don't always have to be complicated! Birds are extremely intelligent beings who love riddles and a bit of a challenge. And if they get a reward for it as well, they’re twice as motivated.

There are many factors that are stimulated by playing:

  • it keeps the mind healthy
  • the muscles, tendons and bones in top shape
  • it keeps them moving and ensures they don't get too fat from all the extra rewards they get

Toys are immensely important when you decide to keep a bird. In fact, it’s so important that a bird can be considered neglected if it doesn’t have the opportunity to play.

A bird sits on his stick - Flamingo Pet Products
Girl has a bird on her shoulder - Flamingo Pet Products
bird sits on a person's hand - Flamingo Pet Products

Playing is in the nature of your bird

Birds love nothing more than to spend time playing. Playing teaches them different techniques that are necessary for survival. By playing and gnawing on twigs, for example, they learn how to build nests and they develop their ability to search for food. A bird's playground means the world to your bird, every moment is a good time to play, whether it is chewing on a branch or playing tag with a fellow bird.

The perfect toy for your bird

Natural toys

Before we take a closer look at which toys your bird prefers to play with, let’s first have a look at how birds play in nature, as this is the only way to find out what they like to do best.  Wild birds are constantly on the move. . They hop around and fly from branch to branch. But they also do other things to relax, like playing tag with each other or throwing twigs around, they also hang upside down and swing around a bit or they gnaw on twigs.  . If they really want to relax, many birds are also caught enjoying bathing in puddles. And if you thought that was all, crows have even been known to lie on their backs in winter to "sled" down a mountain.

Bringing nature into the cage

Now we know how wild birds like to enjoy themselves in nature. This means that you now have an idea of which bird toys are suitable for your bird.

  • Birds like to  swing. many birds like to swing .forwards and backwards like humans do. Others, on the other hand, like to spin around in circles. If you want your bird to fully enjoy the swinging , make sure it can easily get its feet around the perch, which gives your feathered friend the opportunity to flap its wings while holding on to the perch.
  • Birds love to be challenged, . that’s why you shouldn’t give them a treat without a reason. Make sure they have to earn it. For example, there are fun toys where they have to turn a reservoir and each time they do it, they get a  treat.This will keep your little friend busy for hours. Just make sure you don't put too many treats in, because you don’t want your winged companion to get too fat.

  • As birds love to bathe every now and then, it’s always useful to have an extra  drinking bowl.  That way, your bird can enjoy a bath and you don’t have to worry about your bird drinking enough. Tip: It’s best to use a closed  water bowl  to ensure that it’s only used for drinking. You can then place the open bowl  on the bottom of the cage.
  • Twigs  are for free and always fun to add to your bird’s toy collection. Just make sure you replace them in time.
The text continues below the photo.
boy and parrot with bird cage - jongen en papegaai bij vogelkooi - flamingo pet products

Symptoms of a depressed or stressed bird

There are a number of symptoms that can indicate that your bird is depressed or stressed. If these symptoms are due to your bird being bored, it’s quick and easy to solve by buying a new toy for your flying friend. However, it’s extremely important that whenever you notice something, you first contact your vet to make sure it’s not a medical condition. 

1. 1. Appetite loss 

First of all, your bird may suddenly lose its appetite. If you notice that your pet has not eaten for two days, it’s very important to consult a vet. But birds that are bored and don’t feel good, often lose their appetite. 

 2. 2. Aggression

It’s also possible that you notice aggressive behaviour. Aggression can be seasonal (e.g. when temperatures change and days get longer) or related to hormonal issues. When this happens, it may be important for your birds to be able to let off steam once in a while. What better way to let off steam than against a  punch ball?

 3. 3. Feather plucking and screaming

 The last most common sign that your feathered friend is bored is when they start plucking their feathers or you hear a change in their voice. When you notice that they’re plucking their feathers, there’s only one solution: more attention from you and toys, of course. When it comes to a change in their voice, you know your bird better than anybody. Many birds resort to screaming out of boredom or frustration. Have you begin to notice a change in the level or kind of vocalizations that your bird is making? Don’t hesitate to contact your vet and think about what kind of fun toys you would like to give your bird.


The least fun part for many, but certainly not the least important: cleaning. Regular cleaning of the toys is very important, because you have to take into account the quality of the toys. Keep a good eye on the toy to make sure it’s not broken. Of course, you don't want your bird to get hurt by sharp pieces of broken plastic or loose strings. When cleaning the toys, it’s very important to use scent-free soap. Toys made of natural materials should be thrown away in time.

Tip: Buy bird toys from a  recognised supplier. these are often of better quality and made with animal-friendly products.

What to do with old toys?

Just like humans, birds can lose all interest in a particular toy. If the toy is still in good condition, you should give it to a foundation or an animal shelter. This way, your bird's old toys can make many other feathered friends happy!

In a nutshell

Every bird likes to play and be challenged. Scientific research has shown that for birds, playing is just as important as eating. In nature, playing is how they learn to survive. 
Always provide several toys, so your feathered friend can decide for itself which toys he wants to play with. Birds are fascinated by toys with different shapes, colours and textures. But toys don't always have to be complicated! Some birds are quite happy with a cardboard toilet roll.
Birds that are depressed or stressed often show the following symptoms: appetite loss, aggressive behaviour, feather plucking and screaming. Be sure to consult your vet when you notice something’s wrong with your bird.
Keeping the toys of your flying friend clean is very important. Keep a good eye on the toy to make sure it’s not broken. Sharp edges could injure your pet bird. Always clean the toys with scent-free soap. 
Does your flying friend no longer play with its toys, or do you like to spoil your pet with new ones? Then don't leave your old toys in the cupboard. Give them to a foundation or shelter.