Also known as budgerigars or “budgies”, parakeets are small, colorful birds with an equally colorful personality. They are very sociable, talkative and smart- which means they require a lot of stimulation! Of course, we can’t be around 24/7 to keep our little bird friends entertained, which is where parakeet toys come in.
The best parakeet toys will keep your new feathery friend happy and healthy, through lots of physical and mental stimulation- but these can be hard to find. Did you know, for example, that mirrors can be a bad choice for single parakeets? Or that some metals are considered dangerous for your budgie?
Below, we discuss the best budgie toys for your new family member, as well as answering some of the most common questions when it comes to good bird toys and which ones to avoid and how to keep your parakeet safe with their new items.
Best Parakeet Toys Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for in a Parakeet Toy
- Texture and material
Parakeets love to explore their new toys, which usually consists of them trying to get into every nook and cranny. This can be great to get their minds working, but the texture and material needs to be safe for your budgie to truly gets to grip with their new plaything.
Naturally, this can cause a few complications if the material isn’t suitable. All parakeet toys should be non-toxic and safe to swallow. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t let your children have a chew of the item, then don’t give it to your budgie.
- Mental stimulation
All animals need a good deal of mental stimulation, but this is especially true when faced with a clever animal like a parakeet. Bird toys for parakeets should encourage their inquisitive nature and allow them to discover new things- those that don’t, will likely need to be swapped out on a regular basis.
Generally speaking, a toy that will get the attention of your budgie is likely to be brightly colored, make interesting sounds and/or provide a bit of a challenge. In the same way that a dog or cat might love a treat ball, having a new toy which gives a reward can be a huge benefit.
The best toys for budgies will usually come as an item that encourages a little exploration, such as toys that have jingly bells attached. These work brilliantly because they work with noise, movement and texture to create a multi-sensory experience that your parakeet will love. They also have the added benefit of encouraging movement from your pet.
- Physical stimulation
As well as needing to spread their wings, parakeets need to keep themselves physically stimulated to encourage their overall wellbeing. Toys that have a little bounce to them or encourage their dexterity and balance will always be big winners in your feathery friend’s eyes.
Other great examples of toys that encourage physical stimulation are items such as swings or ladders. These are perfect for climbing and, most likely, chewing- especially as most birds are avid chewers. Most of these toys for budgies will be made of a natural material that you bird will enjoy investigating and taking apart with their beak. This is absolutely fine- as long as the materials are suitable for birds.
What to Avoid When Buying Parakeet Toys
Any ropes or fabric-based toys that you buy your parakeet need to be bird-friendly and created from materials such as hemp or agave. Items made from nylon or similar fabrics can fray and get stuck in your budgie’s beak, or trap their feet in the fibers, which can lead to a panicking bird that may injure themselves.
- Sharp edges
It can be tough to decide on what constitutes a sharp edge when buying a parakeet toy, but these usually consist of metal items, such as chains with an open link or keyring fasteners. The latter of which parakeets are clever enough to open up and catch themselves with, causing scratches or perforations in their delicate skin.
If your new leather parakeet toy has gone through vegetable-based tanning processes, then it will have no problem with your budgie. However, many modern leather goods use a chemical-based tanning process, and most of these chemicals are lethal to birds. Also, these items will need to be suitable for birds in that they are not too thin, or too long, as your new pet may become tangled as they try to climb the leather. This is why it is generally advised not to opt for any leather toys for your pet parakeet.
Lead is toxic to most animals, and rusted iron can be lethal for your pet bird. Luckily, most bird toys with metal components are electro-galvanized, which creates a layer over the iron and stops it from rusting- these are completely safe for your parakeet to use. You can tell if they have been galvanized in this manner when the surface of the toy is shiny- those that look a little dull have likely been placed in zinc, which can flake off and be ingested by your budgie.
If you are keen on getting a metallic toy (as they can create interesting noises for your parakeet), it’s preferable to opt for stainless-steel, which is completely harmless to your new pet- although it can become expensive.
Different Types of Parakeet Toys
- Perches and swings
Perches double-up as a great toy for parakeets. They need these for sleeping, playing and even courting, so having a good perch is pretty much an essential for any budgie cage. Remember that your perch will need to be wide enough that they can comfortably fit their feet, and that their claws don’t touch.
These will help to wear down your parakeets’ claws, too and purchasing a perch or swing made from degradable materials allows your bird to chew and pull, which gives them added stimulation.
- Climbing toys
Available in many different formats, such as the hanging rope, climbing toys are a great way to get your parakeet moving and can often improve balance and coordination. These also come in the form of small jungle gyms for birds, which gives them a great, multi-sensory experience as they work their way to the top, often stopping to jingle a bell or chew on the perches. Just remember that all of the material needs to be non-toxic, in order for your parakeet to play safely.
- Treat toys
If you can’t tell by now, parakeets absolutely love to chew on their new playthings. Combine this with a tough task that requires a little extra exertion on their part, and they will be all over their new toy like it’s going out of style.
Parakeets love playing a little soccer- especially when their owner is involved. Using a small ball encourages activity and increases their socialization when playing with you, so a small, lightweight ball is a great option as a toy for parakeets.
Parakeet Toy Safety Tips
The best kind of toy is one that you know your parakeet can play with, safely. Above, we’ve discussed some of the toy types that you should avoid but safety comes to much more than materials. For starters, your new toy needs to be the right size for your budgie- this is one of the most common causes of accidents with bird toys and may mean that your parakeet can get their head or appendages stuck, leading to them suffocating or injuring themselves in their panic.
Secondly, be prepared to get yourself into a routine whereby you are checking your new pet’s cage and toys at least once a week. As parakeets are keen chewers and little explorers, you can guarantee that they’ll be taking everything apart, as quickly as they can. Therefore, it’s your job to try and negate any accidents that can occur from this inquisitive nature, such as broken toys, split links and so on. You should also have a good selection of toys that you can rotate regularly, to maintain their interest.
Finally, always buy your toys from a reputable manufacturer. Many items out there claim that their toys are suitable for birds when they are not. The quickest way to check this is to take in the reviews- you’ll be able to see, pretty quickly, whether your toy is built with birds in mind by whether it is prone to breaking easily! You should also always ensure that the materials the toys are created from are suitable for birds- we’ve given you a list of these, above.
Best Parakeet Toys FAQ
Q: How do I get my parakeet to play with toys?
A: Parakeets are naturally curious creatures, so if they’re not too keen on checking out their new toy by themselves, you can help them along by playing with a toy for birds, yourself. As budgie’s are such sociable creatures, this can help them get to grips with their new toy- and you can have a good time playing with your pet, too! Not to mention that this will help them understand that their new toy is to be enjoyed, not feared.
You should also get toys that your parakeet is naturally interested in. If they like to perch, grab them a swing or similar and sit with them as they check out their new furniture. If they’re chewers, grab a new toy for birds that encourages this part of their natural instinct, such as the bird kebob we have in our top picks. Remember, it can take a little time for your parakeet to get used to new items, which is especially true if they’re rescues, or are simply nervous by nature.
Q: Where should I place parakeet toys?
A: First and foremost, toys for parakeets should be easy to reach by your parakeet. Many toys will have specific attachments that allow you to place your budgie toys against the cage bars. You should pop these in multiple locations, which will allow your bird to hop from place-to-place around their cage and discover new items to explore.
Most importantly, you should allow your parakeet to have one section of their cage which is free from noises and distractions, which will allow them to rest and recuperate, while avoiding over-stimulation. Just as us humans shouldn’t have electricals in the bedroom, as they can disturb sleep, your budgie will be much more relaxed and rested if they can retreat to one area that allows them a break from the outside world.
Q: How to take care of bird toys?
A: Just like the rest of their cage, bird toys need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that there is no risk of contamination, and to keep your parakeet happy and healthy. Every week, you should remove the budgie toys and wipe them down with hot, soapy water. Try to keep a separate set of cleaning supplies for this task, so as to avoid cross-contamination with any of your kitchen utensils etc.
While cleaning your toys, you’ll have the chance to inspect for any damage to your parakeet toys. Check for broken links, as well as any gaps that could trap claws or beaks and ensure that there are no loose fibers that can be ingested or inhaled by your budgie, or become entangled in their claws or around their wings. These simple checks can make a huge difference to the likelihood of injury, so it’s a vital part of parakeet care.
Finally, swap out your toys every week or two- distracting your budgie with the TV or radio as you go, so they don’t get offended by you taking their toys away. This can help keep your pet appropriately stimulated, so they don’t become bored with the same old toys. It also gives you a chance to give their toys a good scrub before being popped back in their cage.
Our Top Pick
This option from Prevue Hendryx was bound to hit our top spot thanks to the way it meets so many of the parakeets needs. Providing them with a place to hide, while also giving them something to chew on, play with and that provides great mental and physical stimulation, it’s no wonder the Naturals Coco Hideaway and Ladder comes at the top of our list.
Don’t just take out word for it, though. This is an item that has been reviewed hundreds of times by veteran bird owners, all of whom have nothing but good things to say about it. Just be aware that this isn’t built for any birds larger than a standard parakeet, as the natural coconut shell isn’t made to withstand the tougher beaks of parrots or similar strength birds!
- How to House a Parakeet, WikiHow