Bird Food & Toys
Date last edited: 06/20/12
Bird Tips 'n Trix
These Tips and Trix are of things we personally have experienced with my birds or have learned over the past years. It is always good to use your best judgment when dealing with your feathered little treasure!
If your bird will be out all day with you on a playstand then a small "sleep" cage is fine. My birds are safely in their cages when we are not home. They have a large cage with various toys and perches in there for their entertainment. I have heard of people having their birds in sleep cages - close to their bedrooms - which is fine. But I would caution anyone who would keep a bird in their bedroom to sleep. If you are a late nighter or every time you move - your bird will wake up (remember they are prey animals any movement will alarm them from their sleep). Birds need a total of about 12-14 hrs sleep a day (a baby bird would require more). To elaborate on "total sleep time" is this ~ birds sleep during the day - they get a little nap - that is included in the total time. Food for thought: when a bird is covered at night and you are in either the same room or room just next door - doesn't mean your bird is sleeping. They may be quiet, but sleeping? Probably not. Birds are prey animals - there is always one in the flock who is the watch-bird. That watch-bird will stay awake until all is calm. Now your bird may think you are the watch-bird and entrust you with that task. Birds can develop behavioral problems if they do not get enough sleep. The potential of being cranky, plucking, nervous is greater when sleep requirements are not met.
African Greys need to have large cages if kept caged the majority of the day. Depending on the size of the grey - 36" w x 24" d x 36" h is a wonderful size cage for a Grey! Now that may seem large to you... However, once you put in toys, perches and if you have inside feeders - there is not much room left to play. I have outside feeders on 1 side of my cages - this allows play throughout the cage. And do they PLAY! Recommended Bar Spacing: 1" this will also depend on the individual Grey. Greys who have smaller heads (like Timnehs) may need .75" bar spacing . It will depend on your individual Bird.
Supervision is the biggest key when having predators with prey. Dogs, Cats, Ferrets, etc they are all predators and birds are prey. I have heard more good stories than bad stories of multi pet households. But let me assure you with the bad stories, the birds ended up either in a hospital or passing over the rainbow bridge. Adding a word of caution: If you do decide to get a bird, whether it is a grey or another wonderful species, do *not* train the bird to land on the dog or cat. A while back, I heard a story of a couple who did such a thing. The bird wound up in the dogs mouth and had a punctured lung. The people also did not take the bird to the vet. The bird may have had a chance to survive. In this scenario it was a Grey and that poor baby didn't make it. Still brings tears to my eyes. I just wanted to share that with you so you know the importance of respecting both animals (be it birds, dogs or cats). I can't stress the importance of supervision enough. It only takes a split second. NOW on the other hand, I have heard of countless stories of how people will have their dogs and/or cats living gracefully with their birds. Some cases like: When the birds are out the cats/dogs are either outside or in another room (closed off).
Buy a variety of different kinds of toys. Keeping in mind, not all toys are for all birds. For example: A toy you would buy for a large macaw would *not* be fit for an Amazon or an African Grey. And the adverse, a toy for a Parakeet would not be a toy you would give to your African Grey or Amazon. Giving toys to birds that are *not* meant for their size can be dangerous. We need to be cautious of the toys we give our beloved parrot friends. Checking them for fraying and clipping it back (don't want to get those toes caught!), checking that the toy is secured to its Quick Link on the cage (don't want him or her to fall from a toy and harm itself). Parrots are inquisitive - make sure its tight.
If your parrot is young, I would recommend buying soft pine wood toys and maybe some acrylic toys. Manzanita wood is a very hard wood and can be used later on when the bird is older and can readily chew it. We recommend www.aviannaturals.com They offer toys exclusively with stainless steel.
My greys happen to like toys that are of soft pine (easy to chew and destroy), lots of hanging & dangling parts (what better to attack and scream at), acrylic, cotton toys (be wary that your bird does *not* ingest any of the rope or cotton material - Look for fragments in the bottom of the cage for a clue). My flock in particular like toys that are not too large but more of a medium to small in size.
I also like to rotate their toys. It keeps their interest in their toys constant, and helps them to become used to new and exciting toys.
Touching lightly on how you attach your toys. Some of the attachments that come with toys may not be the best thing to use. For example: Key Chain Rings ~ parrots have the potential of getting their tongue, beak and/or toes caught in key chain rings. We recommend stainless steel wide jaw quick links.
For a more in depth look at toy making, see our article, "The Art of Toy Making."
Most of these publications can be ordered directly from my Book Store .
Congrats on bringing home your new bird! Be prepared for your first bird to feel a little insecure! I will add; he is entitled to ~ he has been "Running the Show" for a while.
He is going to need some special time alone with you ~ without the new bird in the room. Like a bedroom or someplace where the "newbie" is not a distraction for you & him. He should get undivided attention when you are with him.
Play some special new games - Peek a Boo, etc. Please refer to our Games We Play Article.
You don't want to take away time from your first bird at this point. It is a delicate matter. You always want to give those special treats to him first. Everything *has* to be him first! First one to be uncovered, first one to be out of the cage, first one to be offered a treat, etc.
Copyright © It's A Grey's World. All rights reserved.