Did you know that parrots, including small species like budgies, are extremely playful beings? In order to prevent your bird from suffering boredom, you should provide it with a variety of budgie toys to shred, chew, ring and more.
I’ve been keeping budgies for years and have learned plenty about their toy preferences during this time. Below, let’s have a look at 6 budgie toys my parakeets love, and yours will too!
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Why do budgies need toys?
I’ve you’ve been keeping (a) budgie(s) for a while, you’ll know that these birds are active, inquisitive and always on the go. They’re very intelligent and trainable, always looking for new items to inspect and trying to find ways to keep their smart brains busy.
To prevent your budgie from getting bored, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors as well as excessive vocalization and even aggression, it’s important to give it plenty of stuff to do. This especially applies during the hours it spends in its cage. That’s where toys come in!
Aside from the boredom aspect, budgies and other parrots also have a number of other natural instincts that need to be fulfilled:
- Chewing: they would naturally chew the tree hollows they nest in to help keep them accessible. The habit keeps their beaks trim and in good condition.
- Foraging: in the wild, a budgie would spend much of its day searching for food on the ground. They’re excellent foragers and most seem to enjoy it.
- Preening: budgies are very tidy and like preening their own and their flock members’ feathers. In captivity, if you don’t give them an outlet, they can end up overdoing it.
Different types of budgie toys have been designed specifically to allow your bird to exhibit all these natural behaviors.
It’s not difficult to see, then, why a budgie that has access to a regularly rotated variety of toys will be happier and healthier than one stuck on a perch with nothing to do!
1. Budgie foraging toys
There’s a reason foraging toys are right at the top of the list: they just give you the best bang for your buck in terms of enrichment for your budgie. The basic premise of a foraging toy is that it stimulates your bird to search for its food, using the same instincts it would in the wild.
There are all sorts of different foraging toy types for small parrots available: see-through balls that your bird will have to wedge its treats out of, rotating puzzle wheels, shreddable pockets that have to be destroyed to reach the food, and much more. You can even make your own budgie foraging box!
The reason foraging toys should be in every budgie owner’s arsenal is that foraging is a natural behavior for parrots. It stimulates their smart brains, helps make sure they’re not just sitting around all day, and encourages exercise.
If your budgie hasn’t played with foraging toys before, go for something basic where the food is clearly visible but a bit more difficult to reach. For foraging experts, you can eventually move on to more complicated toys.
You can find a more extensive list of foraging options to buy or DIY in the post on foraging toys for parrots.
2. Budgie ball toys
Having owned budgies myself, I can tell you there are few toys they like more than small balls. I’m not sure what it is about them, but they love picking up ball toys with their beaks, throwing them off the side of their cage, and running around with them.
For proof, here’s an old video of my budgie Esteban:
There are loads of cheap options when it comes to ball toys for budgies. You can buy bulk packs of natural or vegetable-dyed rattan balls for them to throw around and gnaw on. Just replace the balls with new ones once they’re too chewed up to prevent them from turning into a safety hazard.
There are also plastic ball toys with bells in them, though it’s always a good idea to consider whether your sanity can handle the incessant ringing before purchasing those!
3. Budgie bell toys
Here, too, it’s a good idea to consider whether you can handle more sound than what is already being produced by your budgies themselves. If you think you can, then your birds will greatly appreciate budgie toys that ring, jingle and clang. Making noise is just one of their main callings in life.
There are various types of noise-making budgie toys. Most of them rely on bells, but you may also come across ones that feature steel objects, like small spoons, for your parakeets to clang together.
Do keep in mind that you need to choose carefully. Unfortunately, our birds are sometimes too curious for their own good, meaning that a seemingly innocent object can become dangerous. Bells are one of those items that are connected to a higher than usual number of accidents.
Classic jingle bells are associated with parrots’ beaks getting stuck in the slits. Bells with domes and clappers can be problematic as well, as budgies may manage to dislodge the clapper and can choke on it. Lastly, it’s important to make sure the bells are made of stainless steel so they can’t rust.
For safety reasons, I like to go for toys whose bells are not reachable by the bird, like the one below. Alternatively, there are also toys with tubular bells available, where the clappers can’t be reached by curious beaks.
4. Budgie chewing & shredding toys
There are few activities that budgies like more than destroying things with their beaks. If you’ve had yours for a while, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed that they’ll go for anything even remotely chewable. That includes their perches, wooden furniture, photo frames, even the wall!
You can’t blame your bird for chewing up everything in sight. It’s a natural behavior for them, one that helps them keep their nest in order and their beak healthy. In order to channel this incessant urge to chew into something a little less destructive, though, it’s a good idea to offer a variety of budgie toys for gnawing and shredding.
Chew toys for small parrots are made of materials like cardboard, crinkle paper, seagrass, palm leaves and soft wood. They’re usually colorful and have plenty of moving parts to entice your bird.
5. Budgie training toys
Despite their small size, budgies are considered quite intelligent. They’re curious and eager to learn, especially when offered treats as rewards, which makes them excellent candidates for trick training.
There are loads of different tricks to teach your budgie that don’t require you to buy anything. Basics that I recommend teaching any budgie are step up and come over (recall training), but you could also consider things like wave, spin on the spot, open wings, and similar.
For more complicated tricks, you can use special trick training toys. This way, you can teach your budgie things like riding a skateboard, dunking a basketball, tossing hoops, sorting by color and much more.
The great thing about these training sessions is that it’s about more than just teaching your bird to do something fun. The time spent together also really helps solidify your bond, and it’s a fantastic boredom buster for these little busybodies.
6. DIY budgie toys
Most budgie toys are made to be destroyed, and you’ll have to remove them from your bird’s cage once they’re too far gone to prevent them from becoming a safety hazard. This can feel like a waste, especially considering how expensive bird toys can be.
If you’d like to save some money on budgie toys, making them yourself is actually an option. It’s cheaper, and you can use a variety of items you already have in your home. Additionally, you can use undamaged parts salvaged from old toys and give them a new life.
Simple hanging stack toys are the easiest. Get some parrot-safe pear links and strips of leather, and get to work!
Some perfect budgie toy additions that you may already have in your house include:
- Muffin cups
- Coffee filters
- Uncooked pasta
- Coconut shells (you can share the coconut with your birds!)
- Pieces of parrot-safe wood
- Dried parrot-safe flowers
There are also loads of different items meant for parrot toy making that you can buy in bulk to create a variety of toys on the cheap:
- Dried loofah rings
- Dried cholla cactus
- Balsa wood
- Vine balls
- Cuttlebone pieces
- Colored beads
- Crinkle paper
The only limitation is your own imagination (and basic safety measures)! You’ll eventually get a feel for what your budgie likes to play with, meaning you can custom-make the perfect toys for it to enjoy.
If your budgie has never played with toys, it likely doesn’t know how to. This is common in rescue birds that may never have had the opportunity before.
Why don’t you show it how it’s done? Parrots learn by imitation, so pretend to play with the toy yourself. Or try attaching some food to it to tempt your bird into checking it out!
Whoops! Budgies aren’t always great about sexual boundaries. Your bird may have begun to think its toy is a mate.
Remove the object of obsession by replacing it with a different type of toy. Make sure you give your budgie 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep to ensure it doesn’t go overly hormonal.
If you have any more questions about the best budgie toys or if you’d like to share what your parakeet’s favorites are, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!