Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received from folks visiting the farm, we’ve been able to purchase more parrot “toys” more regularly than we’ve been able to afford in the past. “Toys” is an odd word to use for the items we give our birds to enrich their environments and enhance their lives, because the word “toy” makes the items seem frivolous or optional.
Destructible toys are absolutely critical to both the mental and physical well-being of parrots that live in human environments. These “toys” provide our parrots with a job to do that engages their minds, encourages them to think and solve problems, and occupies their time in ways that are enjoyable. Click on the photo to the left to see a very brief video of Jericho trying to figure out how to untie one of the rope knots on this huge new toy. He could sever that rope with one or two good bites, but he finds it much more entertaining to figure out how to untie it.
These toys also help the birds keep their beaks in good condition. Without sufficient wood to chew on, their beaks would become overgrown in much the same way that our fingernails would if we never clipped or filed them. Destructible toys that engage them in “play” means that we don’t need to subject them to beak trimming which is neither natural nor enjoyable, and can be very stressful for some birds.
By definition, destructible toys need to be replaced regularly as our birds whittle them down to toothpicks. The picture to the right is what remains of one of the huge $60 toys after a few weeks dedicated to its total destruction.
In order to keep the parrots interested, toys also need to be varied in appearance and texture, need to be colorful, and need to be moved around their cages to the degree possible so they don’t get bored. The pile of toys shown in the first photo, above, are enough to keep our large birds occupied for about a month and collectively cost a little over $200. (Byron, our little conure, has her own set of appropriately sized toys not pictured here.)
People sometimes ask us how much one of our big birds would cost to purchase, or which of them is the “most expensive” to buy. We try hard to explain to them that the cost of the bird is irrelevant, because it costs many times the purchase price just to care for the bird for ONE YEAR. Multiply that by the 40 – 100 years that the bird will live and you can see how silly that question is.
Please — don’t buy a parrot. If you feel you must have a parrot in your life, and are prepared to provide for all of that bird’s physical and psychological needs for its entire life, PLEASE ADOPT… DON’T SHOP.