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Bird Behavior | PetsWeekly

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Birds are highly intelligent creatures and that means, just like humans, they can bore easily. A bird who is bored is far more likely to develop behavior problems, health problems and many other maladies that are not only bad for your bird, but for anyone living with the bird. 

This is why it’s so important to keep your bird active, even when they’re in a cage. Giving your bird plenty of time outside of its cage is very important too, but when you have them locked up during the day, these toys can bring a quality to his life that will make him feel much more loving towards you.

Here are four ways you can keep your pet birds from being bored while in the cage (and even when they're out of the cage).

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Ladders

Ladders can be a fun, very affordable way to provide your bird with some much needed distraction. You can easily make your own, or choose from some high-quality, pre-made ladders that are proven safe for your bird. 

By changing the shape, location, and position of the ladders, you can alternate your birds environment as needed. Generally, it's recommended you don't change out cage design more than once a week, as that can also stress your bird.

Each time he explores and climbs a ladder, he is working out critical muscles in his legs, his heart rate increases, his coordination improves, and he can stretch those very important neck and feet muscles. Ladders are an important part of your bird’s daily workout.

Play Gyms and Activity Sets

Play Gyms are available in a vast range of climbing styles and activity levels. These gyms are designed to be used outside of the cage, and can be the perfect activity just before you put your bird in his cage for the night. 

Most feature a variety of different sized perches, each of which utilizes varied textures to encourage your bird to play. They often have hooks that allow you to hang new toys for your birds. By switching these toys out often, you will keep the gym new and interesting for your pet. 

Swings

Swings are great ways to exercise your bird. The motion will help your bird stay mentally alert and improve balance, while toning muscles in the legs, neck, and torso. Shifting and balancing his weight is an excellent way to keep your bird from becoming bored. 

Swings can be placed inside the cage if there is plenty of room, or if you have a larger bird, suspended outside of your bird’s cage. He’ll appreciate being part of the action while he’s working out! 

Vary the Types of Toys

There is now a vast selection of toys designed specifically for all types of birds. When selecting a toy, be sure you choose according to species. Toys are the easiest and best way to keep your bird from being bored. 

Problem solving (Smart) toys will help your bird improve mental acuity, and are most effective when switched out frequently (usually once a week or so). There are a large variety of smart toys available on many different bird-centric sites. We've found the best toys (for large and small birds) through many private sellers who are devoted to bird-keeping. Be sure you search - and always make sure you buy toys that are size-appropriate and made from safe, natural materials. 

Chew toys will help satisfy your bird’s instinct for foraging and will help you keep your pet’s beak trimmed. Favorites include "Kabob Bird Toys" and many others. Be sure that the material is natural and sturdy.

Shred toys are wonderful for helping your bird satisfy his nesting needs. By shredding and pulling apart these toys, you are encouraging healthy, natural habits for your bird's "normal" lifestyle. Here is one fun shred toy we've tried! 

Sound toys, like this bell toy, can also be very valuable as they encourage vocalization. If you’re trying to teach your bird to sing or talk, these are some wonderful toys to add to your bird’s daily repertoire. 

Calming toys are fun ways to keep your bird calm when company is over or just in general. Some birds become very anxious when they leave the house, but tools like the PetAcoustics can help keep your bird calm when you're away from the house (see the bird version of Pet Acoustics).

  

No matter what type of bird you have, it’s important to have plenty of toys on hand that you can switch out each week. Otherwise, you risk your bird becoming sedentary and just as an inactive life is bad for us, it’s bad for your bird. They need activity to strengthen muscles, increase blood circulation and exercise their minds.

Bored birds often begin to manifest behavior problems in an attempt to alleviate boredom - which can include self-mutilation, screaming, and biting. 

Remember that when you select toys, you have to be able to keep them clean (see our 10 Steps for Keeping Your Birds Toys Clean). So, be sure you select toys that work into you and your bird's lifestyle. 

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stacymantle
Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.


Avian Quotes

  • "Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."
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Bird Facts

  • Most birds in North America lay eggs and raise chicks in the spring and summer (March-July). During this time, they need plenty of safe habitat, insects for their chicks to eat, and protection from cats, humans, other predators.
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