cardboard and Popsicle bird toy

DIY Cheap Bird Toys Ideas

 Why birds need toys?

Parrots are highly intelligent and therefore need mental and physical stimulation and agility. Bird toys encourage exercise, decrease boredom, and keep them happy and healthy.

Are cheap bird toys any good?

I should start this post by stating: Skilled, handcrafted isn't cheap and you get what you paid for. Cheap bird toys are just that, cheaply made, dangerous, and causing more issues than one needs. Cheap toys are smaller, with very few wood blocks, dangerous hanging clips, and the wrong material used.

Many times, I will receive donations of toys and I didn't give them to the birds because they will cause more harm than good. I took them apart and remade them. However, there are still a few things you can do for cheaper bird toy options.

What bird toys should I get for my bird?

We should be aiming for good quality bird toys, fairly priced. A good bird toy maker will use proper materials to make sure the bird toy lasts as long as possible. They will use materials that are non-toxic, and safe yet still deliver creative bird toys for your parrot.

As wood prices increase, and bird toy parts increase in price, parrot toys have and will also increase in price. There are other options and creative ways to help our feathery friends stay happy and enriched.

DIY Cheap bird toys ideas:

1) Cardboard might be every bird owner's best friend. As bird toy parts prices increase, making cheap bird toys out of cardboard is easy and fun. There are cardboard boxes, cardboard blocks, and cardboard sheets. Cut the cardboard into smaller squares or rectangles. Make a hole in the center and string the cardboard pieces. Done! Yes, it's that easy. Cut, Hole, String.

Cardboard bird toy for parrots

2) Infant/ baby toys: Infant toys are not just for a human baby; your 20-year-old parrot might love them too. There are so many varieties of toys from wood to sound-making. Go to your nearest thrift store or look at marketplaces online for used old baby toys. (baby wood toys are safe since they use safe material for baby stuff). Watch out for moving parts toys because your parrot can get its toes stuck in them. Best to use simple, no moving parts infant toys.

3) The Dollar Store: My favorite place where I find all types of goodies for cheap bird toys. Wooden spoons to paper cups and rubber ducks. The dollar store or bargain stores are the best places to find all types of treasures for DIY bird toys. Remember to check out their baby section. Also, don't forget the popsicle sticks and coin paper wrappers.

4) Lumber Yard: Even with high prices, you can find a clearance section at the lumber yard where they are selling off untreated pine wood for 70 percent off. You might not be able to use the full length and throw away part of the damaged wood, but it's much cheaper than the full-priced stuff.

5) DIY bird toys: If quarantine had taught us anything, it's how to youtube and google new skills. There are many DIY parrot toy videos. Many places are selling wood blocks with drilled holes. All one needs to do is string them with sisal or chain. Done.

Wood blocks for birds

6) Books! Why I love catalogs that get delivered to your home and goes straight into the cage. Cheapest shreddable bird toy you can find. Just hand it over to them. To convert a book into a bird cage toy, just make a hole about an inch down, 1/2 depth on the spine side. String. Done.

7) Pinecones. If you live in a semi-rural area, with no hazards from insecticides or exhaust fumes, you can use pinecones as free bird toys. Bake them in your oven for 1 hour at the lowest temperature to sanitize.

8) Paper: Yes sometimes it's as easy as Paper. Use plain paper, no dyes, cut into strips and weave the strips in and out on your bird's cage. They will have a bast shedding it, destroying it, or plainly getting rid of that paper you just added to their clean cage.

9) Paper towel roll: Just a paper towel roll can be entertaining for hours. Give it as is or DIY cheap bird toy. Wait until you have a bunch of paper towel rolls. Fold them in half. Make a hole on the folded end, in the middle about 1/2 in depth. String a bunch of folded rolls together. Done.

10) Baskets: Sometimes you can find cheap bamboo or willow baskets. Fill the baskets with foot toys and paper shreds and watch your bird spend hours trying to find all the cool stuff you added. Remember to add a few foraging toys for even more stimulus. Another cheap bird toy idea, If you are friendly with your pizza delivery guy, ask for an empty clean pizza box. Use the pizza box in place of the basket.

For stringing your bird toys I suggest paper rope since it has been the safest and most bird-friendly in my option. For the rest, you should know your bird and use jute, sisal, hemp, chain and/or cotton rope according to your own discretion.


Author: Monika Sangar 
PDS is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax id #46-2470926)

PDS parrot shop makes parrot toys to help fund our sanctuary, Prego Dalliance sanctuary, non profit.


Your article is very informative and thoroughly written. 👏👏👏

Lari Howsmon

I love your toys And great ideas .. I like natural supplies also from our farm , like madrone, pinecones ECT.


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