French Version

Breaking the monotony for your parrot

by Johanne Vaillancourt

Translated by Marlène Picard (Mooghie)


Parrots needs a lot of toys to prevent boredom.

Parrots do not have a great ability to concentrate and so they get bored quickly. They vary their activities (or toys) frequently during the day and may even be busy with two or three activities simultaneously. So it is very important for these birds to have at their disposal, a wide range of different games or toys that they can go to or change as they wish.

Unfortunately, people will often provide a single very expensive toy for their parrot to clear their conscience ... "Now he has something of quality to play with!" This kind of attitude is very questionable. It is like giving a beautiful doll to a little four year old girl for Christmas and telling her "take good care of it, it is your only toy for the year." Ridiculous isn't it? Well, it is the same for our parrots: one, two or even three toys are not enough. They must have the opportunity to vary their activities often. They may want to "tinkert", to count, play with colors, textures and shapes, to stimulate their brains with imaginative and creative games, to make noise or just sit in a corner and gently nibble a piece of wood.

The price does not matter. Often, the parrot will prefer an old towel.

Your parrot will not like a toy just because it is an expensive toy designed for parrots. The parrot could not care less about the price. Often shredding a piece of paper is way more interesting than the very expensive toy (almost platinum plated) that you have just installed in its cage. If I take as an example, Quita, my Macaw Ararauna, nothing is more fun to play with than an old terry cloth towel. To Quita, it is the ultimate toy created for the macaws. If you only knew the amount of money I have spent to find the perfect toy for her (you know the price of toys for Macaws $$$$$$). Well, the Missy loves terry cloth towels (and not even the good quality ones). Most of all she likes playing with towels in the washing machine, the dryer or the laundry tub ... Really, this girl loves rags!

So, cheap seems the way to go to make her happy. Parrots have simple tastes, but need variety. It is up to you to discover what kind of games or toys your bird prefers. Be warned that the house of an average taxpayer is really an Eldorado for a parrot that has nothing to do or is bored.


A treasure chest

Ideally, the best investment you can make is to place a box of toys in the cage or the play area of your parrot. A simple wooden box, a plastic container or a cardboard box filled with varied treasures each more interesting than the other will go a long way to occupy your bird for days.

The favoured toys for your parrot will be those that are easily consumable, interchangeable and most importantly, renewable. Almost anything is a treasure: an empty paper towel roll, an old rag, corks, drinking straws, used books or telephone directories, ballpoint pen caps, used envelopes, wood spoons or pieces of soft wood, etc ... Everything is a potential toy that may peak the interest of your parrot.


Ara rubrogenys parrot and its treasure chest full of toys.

Toys everywhere, everywhere...

It is essential for the parrot to have a large assortment of toys, but it is equally important that it not be the same toy box that is moved around from one room to another. The bird will lose interest quickly and will look for something else to occupy itself in the new room where he has followed you... something you might sadly regret ... So here is a suggestion: have several toy chests for your parrot, one in every room in the house and, if possible, ones that contains items that are related to the activity that is taking place in the room.


  • Toys for the kitchen: wooden spoons, bowls, small wooden rolling pin, table linens, plastic bowls, etc.


  • Toys for the office: crayons for children (non toxic), papers, old books, etc.


  • Toys for the bathroom: hair brush and combs (for children), toothbrush without metal fasteners, small towels, etc.


  • Toys for the TV room: this box must contain many varied items if you want to watch a movie quietly.


  • Toys for outings: you are visiting a relative, a friend? If you decide to take your parrot with you, plan to bring lots of new exciting toys... There is nothing worse than dealing with a bored bird during a visit ... Those who have young children know exactly what I mean.


Gris d'Afrique, psittacus erithacus erithacus in full action with its toy.

Toys must not be boring, they are there to distract the parrot and a parrot needs a lot of varied choices in its environment to keep away the monotony that is never very far.


© Johanne Vaillancourt 2004 (french) - 2012 (english)


Ricky, African Grey (psittacus erithacus erithacus), Richard Patry
Quita, Blue and Gold Macaw (ara ararauna), CAJV
Gigi, ara rubrogenys, Sylvain-Luc Richard
Méo, African Grey (psittacus erithacus erithacus), Julie Laflamme