The Toy

Written By: B.D. Butler - Feb• 22•12

In the 80’s there was a movie starring Richard Pryor called “The Toy”, and it was one of my favorites.   The story line is, spoiled rich kid gets his father to buy him a man, to be his friend, and toy, and come on Richard Pryor would never get boring and would always keep things from getting dull.  Now looking back there seemed to be a little bit of a racial undertone, but when you are nine years old, you don’t think about such things.  Anyways, a few weeks back this very funny movie was on Encore, and it got me thinking about my birds and their toys.


I got my photo for The Toy here.

toy/toi/ ~


toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old. Many items are designed to serve as toys, but goods produced for other purposes can also be used. For instance, a small child may pick up a household item and “fly” it through the air as to pretend that it is an airplane.

Just like any other parrot owner, I spend a large amount of money on keeping my parrots entertained.  Now granted there is the standard “simple” and “cheap” toys that you can use, straws, paper plates etc.  However with a parrots booming intelligence, they need mental stimulation, or as I like to say “a bored parrot will start plotting your demise”.  Imagine being in a cage with the same materials to entertain you, day after day, after day.  Survey says…”can I see boring?!”.

As I sit here and write, both Dexter and Cooper are going to town on their foraging toys, I like to put pellets in their Parrot Pockets, and occasionally put something in hanging foraging toys.  It however aggravates Cooper to no end, and he ends up slinging it’s contents around the room, but it gives him something to do.  Toys are the same thing, something to keep them occupied, and maybe a diversion from them trying to chew off the corner of a wall,  or in Cooper’s case, trying to pull off his seed guards on his cage.  He loves the giant boom it makes, and loves the fact that he gets the whole house’s attention.  Imagine that a parrot that loves attention, shocking…. that was dripping with sarcasm, by the way.

The important thing is knowing your bird.  Dexter is a grey that occasionally likes to chew on rope, and it takes him forever to go through a rope toy.  He is on the smaller side for a Timneh, and has learned to play with his little cat balls on the bottom of the cage. He doesn’t chew on them, he likes the ringing of the bell, and the colors.  Dexter in fact is the most non-destructive parrot I think I have ever met.  He will try to chew on shiny things if you let him, like his UV lamp, and if you put him on your shoulder and are wearing earrings, well all bets are off.  He can get an earring off faster than a teenage boy getting a bra off at prom.

Cooper, as I have written before, he is my large destructive force.  Cooper will turn a perch into a splinter in no time.  He likes trying to pry off the food dish off of his play gym, which is securely fashioned with a bolt through the whole thing.  It does not stop him, he’s a chewer.  He also has more toys than most, and still likes to go for the bars on his cage, or strip a hanging coconut to its post.  I think he must have been in demolition in a former life.  We have to keep an eye on him, he is very curious, and smart.  When I say smart, I really mean smart!  He learned how to turn the bird area light switch on and off, so being safety conscious we got a switch guard to cover the switch.  To not only discourage him from making us think there was some sort of power failure, but to stop him from chewing on a live electric switch.   Since then he has learned to turn the light on and off  even with  the switch guard.  So, his cage got moved further away from it.  Let’s be honest, no one wants their parrot electrocuted!


I got my photo for Birds on a Wire here.

On the market there are so many different varieties of toys, internet, pet store, even the grocery store.  Chewing, swinging, puzzles, bells, mirrors, shiny things, dice on a chain, plastic teething rings etc.  It can get an overwhelming, and sometimes I just stare and look at the shelf with deer in headlights look.  Where does one begin?  Like I said, its knowing your bird, and “how do I do that”, you might ask.  The answer is simple!  In the beginning, it’s all about trial and error.  Try and try again, you will think you have bought the perfect toy for your feathered companion, and he will turn his beak up at it.  It’s really nothing personal, they just don’t like it.  Thankfully I have two birds, and I have a plan b in case this happens.  Picture being a little Ralphie from the Christmas story getting a fire engine , when what you really wanted was that Red Ryder BB gun air rifle.  Oh the disappointment!  Eventually you will know what kind of toys that your bird wants to destroy, play with, chew on, or just ignore like your least favorite cousin at a family reunion.

Whether it be the most expensive complex bird toy of the millennium, or as simple as a little plastic cat toy with a bell in it from the market, toys are important to keep your birds minds entertained, and working.

In the long run, your bird will appreciate you for it.

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  1. […] chew, a lot!  Toys are expensive as I have covered in a few posts ago (Click for The Toy).  Let’s just say that three of my favorite words are “free”, […]

  2. Sandysandals says:

    Got it and agree. Once the toy is taken apart and deposited in the bottom of the cage, I take the ‘parts’ and combine them with ‘safe’ string and make new toys out of them. Like a recycle thing. The pirate doesn’t know the difference and proceeds to destroy the ‘new’ old toy.. What kills me though, is that I spend beaucoup bucks on nice toys and he prefers crinkly paper and plastic bottle caps….sigh.

    • B.D. Butler says:

      It’s just like kids and their expensive toys for Christmas. Most of the time, they just want the box it came in. HaHa. There are so many amazing ways to help your bird forage, and keep it’s brain stimulated. I like foraging toys, crammed with papertowels or parrot pockets for instance, makes them work for it. I love sitting and watching their problem solving skills, genius!!

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