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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Parrots like to tear things up. They also like to eat. The two together constitute their foraging instinct, and it's important to give them ways to exercise that.
I don't recall where I got this idea, but the wrappers used for spring rolls are a fantastic way to add a little foraging to your birds day. They are thin rice paper that comes in hard sheets. They are tasteless and, as far as "food" goes, pretty inert.
I just soak the wrappers in a pan of water for a few minutes, until they get soft. They get a little hard to work with if they get too soft, but it's still pretty simple to roll up some parrot treats, or even just ordinary food (or a toy, or literally anything).
I found the smaller birds, cockatiels, have a harder time breaking the shells open and tend to loose interest before finding out there is a treat inside, but Harlan has a great time with these treats and gets excited whenever he seed me making them.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
They are plan wood, looks like pine so they are perfectly safe for birds (not all woods are).
First, I died the beads using food coloring. I used nested pint glasses to hold them down. It helps to heat the water. I put each one in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, just long enough to barely boil.
After sitting for a couple of days, they are not real vivid, but there is some color for added interest. Ready for more toys!
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Harlan actually untied the knots though.
I have made a few toys incorporating a heavy gauge copper wire. It's been carefully wrapped (with sisal rope) in a way such that the ends of the wire as not accessible.
Harlan likes larger toys made with colorful drinking straws.
Friday, January 20, 2017
This month I placed an order with society6.com. The order arrived in a timely manner, in good condition, and a good level of quality for the price. There was one problem.
I was sent a completely different item.
The email acknowledging my order had the correct item listed. But the packing slip in the package, and the item itself, were something else, something I really didn't want.
Here's the thing though, there is no way to contact society6.com. They have a form on their website to report problems, and I did, including my order number, a description of the problem, their exact description texts of the product I order, and the one I received, and an image of the email acknowledging my order, with the correct description, and all my information. I received an automated response immediately, saying they would get back to me within 24 hours. They did not, ever.
There is no other way to contact the company. In fact, after some digging, I would conclude that society6.com has deliberately made sure there is no contact information for them anyplace on the internet. Avoiding completely the cost of any sort of customer service what so ever, I assume, is part of their business model.
I have an item I don't want, and I am out the money.
I recommend avoiding society6.com.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Monday, January 09, 2017
Some toy parts where just items found around the house, for example they seem to love plastic poker chips. I drilled small holes in them so they can be hung up and attached to other items.
I also had a few small pieces of rubber (real rubber is a completely organic substance). Rubber sheets are available at hardware stores. Thicker pieces hold up well, even to Ed's beak. I still watch them though with these toys, to make sure they don't bite off and swallow any. So far, the rubber has held up unbroken.
Wooden (pine), uncolored, beads I found at a local craft store. I died them by soaking them in water with food coloring. Heating the water helped get a much deeper color. I soaked them overnight, completely submerged. They float so you have to put something on top of them.
I found that stacked zip ties, like this toy has, were popular with Ed and olive. I trim all the zip tie ends off at varying lengths to make the toy smaller, and to add interest.
This toy also features a poker chip that they like to just carry around, and a couple beads.
I put them at an end of a toy, away from the most interesting parts. That way they get the bell sound, without focusing directly on the bell.
I also used a thick gauge copper wire. It's important to get real copper. uncoated in anyway. And I was careful that the ends of the wire, which I suppose could be sharp, are completely inaccessible.
I bought copper that was thick enough to be strong - they can stand on it, and a good fit for the beads.
Vine-based bird toys a extremely popular with Ed and Olive. Ed in particular can destroy these pretty fast though, so it's best to buy them in quantities. They are easily combined with other materials to make a toy that lasts much longer overall. The "mini" balls I found online are small, but a relative bargain. The vine rings are bigger, made of thicker material, and last longer.
There are many recommendations out online about bird toys, especially for medium birds. "pear links" are the item of choice for attaching hanging toys in the case. They are light, strong enough, and don't include any sharp corners or cracks that can cut a birds tongue.
The birds love zip ties. Cheap and colorful assortments are available that make a great addition to toys. They can be used as-is, and to attach bits and pieces.
The also love Qtips. I found the wooden ones were a little more popular, and last longer. They pull at the cotton. When it's all strung out I just pulled it off and toss it. They will continue to enjoy the stick until they turn it to dust.
Yucca gets called "catnip for birds". That's about right. It is available in bulk bags where you not only get significantly more for the money than in a ready-made toy, but I found the pieces to be harder. They last larger. For our smaller birds the pieces get broken down in smaller ones. But the larger pieces are big enough to stand on when fixed to the side of the cage.
Sisal rope, with no treatment, is a must-have for bird toys. I wrapped wood with it (pine is safe for birds, I read) for climbing. I also found that thicker rope is easily unraveled into thinner lengths for use in small toys.
Here's a full list of items that worked into bird toys well.
- Parts of paper egg cartons
- Q-Tips, the wooden ones
- Paper tubes from paper towels and toilet paper roles
- Natural sisal rope
- Zip ties
- Poker chips
- Vegetable tanned Leather
- Pine and birch dowels of various diameters
- Paper bar coasters (clean)
- Make sure the type of wood you want to use really is what you think it is and that it is safe for birds. Not all wood is.
- Toys can be "in cage" and "out of cage". Out of cage toys are for use when you are there to watch. For in cage toys, be extra sure of their safety.
- I tried to avoid any loops of zip ties or rope that were large enough for the birds to get their heads or legs caught in. There are many sad stories out there of birds hanging themselves on toys and being severely injured or killed.
- Toys not attached to the cage should be fairly small and simple for best results. It's easy to get carried away.
The birds get a feeder, paper to shred and a swing, all in one.
They pretty destroy the egg carton in 5 or 6 days.
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