How For The Parrots Came To Be
On July 13th 2019 I brought Pistachio the green cheek conure home. He was a very shy little bird and it took a few months for me to gain his trust and see his personality shine through. I have always believed that animals under the care of humans need to be properly engaged and allowed to express natural behaviours. During my studies in a Bachelor of Animal Science I focused on animal behaviour and welfare and gained a lot of inspiration on cost effective animal enrichment through some of my zoological practicals. A problem I had with Pistachio was his complete disinterest in the toys I bought from the local shops. He was content to sit on me all day, as much as I love hanging with him I knew he needed to exercise his mind more so I started making toys and teaching him how to play and forage.
Birds in the wild spend a large part of their day foraging for food. Birds in captivity are generally given a bowl full of food that they can eat from all day, resulting in bored, destructive and loud pet birds. The best way to stop these unwanted behaviours is to keep our birds busy by providing toys and foraging opportunities.
Most commercially available toys tend to be geared towards larger parrots. Pistachio might try and chew on the big blocks of wood but would be discouraged being unable to break into it and so would stop trying. This is why I make toys using balsa wood, it's easy for the little birds to tear apart and feel like they're big and strong birds! The majority of my toys can be used as foraging opportunities for birds to tear apart and find food inside, the same tasks they would be performing in the wild.
How do I know that my toys have enriched my birds lives? If I haven't provided enough foraging opportunities during the dah my birds will start screaming more and biting harder! I make sure to give new foraging toys whenever they are going to be in their cages for more than an hour, otherwise they are out in the house with plenty of playstands and toys. Don't forget to actively engage with your birds either, they are highly social creatures and so I make sure we have preening time as well as playing with toys together.
SAFETY MEASURES IN OUR TOYS
I make sure that all of my toys are designed to be engaging for birds (of course all new toys are tested by Pistachio and Monkey). My top priority is safety. All products used have been determined to be bird safe. All wood items are untreated and bird safe woods. Coloured pieces have been dyed with food grade colouring, "Poly-chroma" released by Beaks and Feets Parrot Toys and More. Any metal used is stainless steel. Rope toys are put together in a way to reduce risk of entrapment and made with natural fibre ropes deemed bird safe.