Did you know that parrots, including lovebirds, are very playful animals? If you have a lovebird, it’s important to give it plenty of opportunities to play in order to help prevent harmful boredom and keep it entertained. There are all sorts of lovebird toys out there, so there’s always something that yours will like.
Let’s have a look at 6 types of lovebird toys that your parrot will love to play with!
1. Foraging toys for lovebirds
My favorite type of lovebird toys are those that encourage foraging. As described in the full post on foraging toys, they’re among the best types of enrichment you can offer your parrot! The basic idea of a foraging toy is to make your bird work for its meal, rather than just presenting food in a bowl for it to gobble up.
As I’m sure you’re aware if you’ve been a lovebird owner for a while, they’re very smart, so encouraging them to search for their food is a fantastic way to stimulate their little brains. It also helps ensure they get enough exercise, as obesity is always a danger for domestic parrots.
There are many different types of foraging toys. If your lovebird has never foraged yet, it’s best to start with something simple, like a foraging ball stuffed with clearly visible millet. For intermediate foragers, you can buy or put together a nice foraging box, while for the experts, there are plenty of more complicated puzzle toys.
Did you know? Scientists have shown that many parrots actually seem to prefer to forage for their food. The phenomenon in which an animal will choose a foraging opportunity over a simple meal in a bowl is called “contra-freeloading”.
2. Chew toys for lovebirds
If you’ve been a lovebird owner for a while, you’ll know that sometimes it seems like their only goal in life is to chew up everything you love. Picture frames, lampshades, even the wall!
Chewing helps keep your lovebird’s beak trim and is a natural behavior for them. In the wild, they eat many foods that require some beak power to get to the good bits. They also nest in hollow trees, keeping the entrance in good condition by chewing away excess wood.
When it comes to satisfying your lovebird’s natural instinct to chew, there are plenty of things you can do to redirect its attention away from your furniture. Forage for parrot-safe branches like willow outside, offer some half-cracked walnuts or place a few special lovebird toys for chewing in its cage.
A quality chew toy will usually consist of soft wooden items. Most lovebirds (and small parrots in general) adore destroying rattan balls, natural vine, balsa wood, cholla cactus wood and much more.
3. Lovebird playgrounds
One of my absolute staples that I recommend to any parrot owner are playgrounds. They’re perfect for birds that spend part of the day outside of their cage, as any parrot should.
Instead of leaving your lovie to search for a comfortable place to sit by itself, which will inevitably lead it to choose one of your ceiling lamps and cover it in poop, you can just set a nice playground on top of its cage for it to hang out on. Other locations work as well, as long as they’re relatively high up.
The ideal playground is made of natural wood, preferably a soft type that can also be chewed. Add a few toys, maybe a foraging option filled with tempting treats, and voilà! A spot your lovebird will love to hang out on.
4. Preening toys for lovebirds
Just as a parrot instinctively chews, it also instinctively preens. You may have found your lovebird trying to preen your hair, beard, clothes or even your eyelashes! It’s a way for them to strengthen their bond with their flock and keep themselves busy.
To channel this preening energy, you can offer all sorts of fun preening toys. Most lovies will particularly love crinkle paper toys that they can pull individual pieces of shredded paper out of. It makes for a bit of a mess, but seeing your bird working diligently to achieve total destruction makes it all worth it!
Other great preening toy materials include coco fiber, raffia fiber, natural leather strips and more. It’s best to avoid rope, as the fibers can get stuck in your lovebird’s crop if it accidentally swallows them.
5. Exercise toys for lovebirds
As mentioned earlier, obesity is a common problem in captive parrots. Lovebirds are no exception. To prevent your bird’s lifespan from being affected by fatty liver disease, diabetes and other issues, be sure to not just feed it a healthy diet but also encourage exercise!
All of the aforementioned toys come with the added advantage of getting your bird to do some exercise as it plays. However, there’s more: there are also activity toys designed specifically to get that parrot movin’.
Examples of lovebird toys for exercise include:
- Sisal rope nets
- Seagrass hammocks
- Swings (some parrots like them more than others)
6. DIY lovebird toys
Yep, even parrot toys for small birds aren’t cheap. They need to be replaced as soon as they break, which can be quite often, and you should have quite a few on rotation to keep things interesting.
There is a solution! Making your own lovebird toys is absolutely possible. In fact, it’s easy, and it can even be done using items you’ve already got at home. What looks like a simple coffee filter to you can be an exquisite lovebird toy if you cut small strips into it. Dried pasta on a string is infinitely fun to crack and chew.
Aside from the items you’ve already got in your home, you can also buy parrot toy parts for a lot less than premade toys. Stack them onto some parrot-safe rope like raffia or sisal, attach a sturdy pear link and you’re done! It’s fun and your lovebird will thank you.
Having access to plenty of lovebird toys is so important for your Agapornis! A bored parrot is an unhappy parrot. Sure, some may need a little introduction at first – they can be scared of toys if they’ve never seen one before – but that’s easy enough with a bit of encouragement.
Be sure to rotate toys on a regular basis to keep them fresh and interesting. And if it turns out your lovebird doesn’t like one of the toys you’ve bought for it, just try something else! They all have their own little personalities and preferences, so it’s just a matter of finding out what yours likes to play with.
If you have any more questions about finding the right lovebird toys for your Agapornis, or if you’d like to share what your lovie’s favorite toys are, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Coulton, L. E., Waran, N. K., & Young, R. J. (1997). Effects of foraging enrichment on the behaviour of parrots. ANIMAL WELFARE-POTTERS BAR-, 6, 357-364.
Smith, G. E. (2020). Presence and Degree of Contrafreeloading in African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus).