Foraging Toys. Longevity Naturally!

By Monica Gonzalez, Grey Feather Toy Creations (Published: 2/27/01)



Date last edited:  06/20/12







Female African Grey Parrot with a leafy green that was weaved through the cage top bars.

Diet plays a major role in a parrot's life. Diet promotes good behavior, health and longevity! Here are some fun food toys to offer your bird which may even tempt the finicky birds who need to be on the road to better health! 


A. Pouch Surprise: Take a washed, large leafy green (i.e. Kale, Mustard Greens, Beet Greens) and take some leftover Brown Rice (brown rice is more nutritional than white rice) and pour it into the center of the leaf. You can add some Cranberries, Sprouts, Raisins, or Blueberries. Try not to over fill the leaf. Grab all the ends of the leaf and tie them together to form a pouch. If you would prefer to make a veggie or fruit mash: Take some of their favorites and throw them in the food processor and use that in your Pouch Surprise! Use something that you know they love and can smell. Some birds like a whiff of cinnamon or the smell of parsley. Our flock seems to enjoy fresh garlic. Take about a foot of 100% Natural Cotton Rope and tie a knot and make a loop at the end to affix it in the inside of your bird's cage. Vegetable tanned leather strips can also be used to string up the Pouch Surprise. Note: Keep the rope very trim so your bird cannot get caught in the dangling rope strands and knotted tightly. TYUM! Love that Kale!hey will be very curious of this new fun and healthy toy you placed in there and will rip apart the leaf and find the little surprises you have tucked within. 

B. Weaving: If you are having trouble getting your bird to try some of those high vitamin items you desperately want them to eat. Try taking them and weaving them through the bars of your bird's cage. Start with a small leaf if your bird is afraid of new items within their cage domain. Perhaps washed Carrot Tops, Beet or Dandelion Greens would be a wonderful place to start.. Remember to be enthusiastic about these items. Parrots are very curious by instinct and will wonder what "all the fuss" is about. Before you know it, he will be ripping apart the leaves. The first step on the road to better eating is forming a taste for it. By ripping apart the leaves, your bird will be ingesting some of the nutrients. My flock loves to rub their feathers on the freshly washed leaves then tear it to shreds!  You will see your bird will enjoy eating the stems of the leafy greens which is where most of the nutrients are!

Congo African Grey eating Mustard Greens (high in Vitamin A and Calcium!)C. Pick-Up Stix: I remember playing Pick-Up Stix as a youngster. Well this fun foraging game can be just as much fun for your avian companion!

Take some carrots, kohlrabi, beets - whatever you can find and cut them into long sticks. (Maybe 1/2 the size of a Chop Stick in length.) Here is where the fun begins. Just you and your avian companion at the kitchen table or counter. My flock loves to be on the counter and play with food items. Note: Remove all objects from the area so that nothing is around to "distract" those curious beaks. This will keep them focused. (for a moment or two at least). Start placing the "veggie stix" out and making a pile out of them. Watch your bird come over and pick up the sticks along with you. He may throw them off the counter - be warned! Put some newspaper down to catch whatever may go falling down. 

Our greatest challenge as parents to these wonderful feathered creatures is constantly finding new and exciting way to keep them interested and intrigued. No doubt you will come up with your own ideas for your and your pet bird.

Note: There are many foraging toys on the market today which help to hide treats and make life more interesting for you and your avian companion. Feel free to visit

**Find out safe fruits and veggies for your bird at:  Diet: Safe/Toxic Foods

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