A Toy to Destroy: How Foraging Puzzles and Shredders Can Benefit Your Pet Bird

How Foraging Puzzles and Shredders Can Benefit Your Pet Bird

Intelligent, beautiful, and affectionate, it’s clear why parrots make good pets. However, that’s not to say that keeping a bird as a pet is an easy task.

Not to make you second-guess your decision on adopting a feathery friend, but understanding the unique needs of parrots is crucial to ensuring they live long, happy lives. 

Usually, the first piece of advice you hear about parrots is that you need to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet.

This certainly holds true, but there’s more to it. In the wild, birds spend a significant amount of time foraging for food.

They have an innate ability to find and extract food even from hard-to-reach places. 

Birds kept in captivity, however, have their food handed to them on a “silver platter” every day.

So, they don’t have the need to forage, which as a result, suppresses their natural instincts. 

Unfortunately, this “fast-food” approach can harm your bird’s well-being and promote destructive behaviour.

However, using a variety of foraging toys can provide just the right amount of stimulation to improve the situation. 

What Are Foraging Toys?

Parrots love to earn their keep, and toys provide the perfect opportunity to satisfy their natural instincts to search for food.

Parrot foraging toys are interactive playthings designed to be explored, solved, or destroyed, only to reveal a sweet prize inside. 

When shopping for parrot foraging toys online or in-store, you’ll come across various types including puzzles, shredders, balls, treat dispensers, and more.

These items require birds to manipulate objects, shred natural materials, or play in a certain way to extract the treats. 

What Is Foraging Good For?

Foraging is a natural and essential behaviour that provides a form of mental and physical stimulation.

These activities can prevent boredom and alleviate stress, which are often common for captive birds.

Having to “work for food” gives pet birds a sense of purpose which contributes to their physical and mental well-being. 

When birds are bored or depressed, they may exhibit behaviours such as feather plucking, destructive chewing, and screaming.

That’s why it’s important to enrich their environment with purpose-designed foraging toys for birds and provide extra activities other than regular playtime with other birds or humans. 

Foraging can also help you establish a healthy diet and prevent overeating, as parrots are naturally inclined to munch on small amounts of food throughout the day.

Overeating is a common problem for many captive birds, and it can lead to various health issues.

That’s why it’s wise to encourage their natural feeding behaviour by providing plenty of foraging opportunities.

How to Choose the Perfect Playthings for Your Parrot?

First and foremost, you should always choose items made from bird-safe, non-toxic materials.

Certain metals and chemicals can cause toxicity, so make the safety and quality of the items your top priorities. 

It’s also important to choose puzzles and shredders that are suitable for your bird’s size and species, both for their enjoyment and safety.

Some are too small or too large for certain parrots to manipulate, which can pose a choking hazard or make foraging way harder than it needs to be. 

In addition, you should consider your pet’s unique personality and interests.

For instance, puzzle toys can be a great choice for large and skillful birds like African Greys that enjoy problem-solving.

Treat-dispensing toys are more suitable for food-motivated pets that enjoy immediate gratification. 

If the toy is too easy or too difficult, it may not be as effective, and your pet may lose interest quickly.

Now, getting things right may take some trial and error, but thankfully, you’re everything but short on options.

What to Hide in Your Bird’s Toys?

No two parrots are alike, so again, you need to pick something your winged pal will enjoy.

You can use their regular food, be it seeds or pellets, and make them work for their meals.

Or, to make things more exciting, you can put a fresh piece of fruit or veg inside to provide a healthy and fun treat.

Nuts also make fantastic rewards; make sure not to go over the recommended daily amount. 

Food and treats aren’t the only options here; you can also hide small toys and objects, such as bells or wooden blocks, to add an extra level of stimulation and encourage exploration. 

How to Get the Most Out of These Bird Supplies?

 Buying toys is just the first step in promoting a healthy and enriching environment.

Here are some additional tips to help you enhance your bird’s foraging and playtime experience. 


Parrots are intelligent pets and, as such, can quickly lose interest in playing. Regular toy rotation can give you control over the situation and keep your feathery pet engaged and interested for longer. 


Parrots enjoy playthings made from natural materials, such as wood, bark, seagrass and leaves.

Consider adding variety to your pet bird’s toy collection to keep it engaged and encourage the exploration of different textures.

In addition, consider providing your friend with a range of experiences by adding different types. 


Although these toys are affordable, it doesn’t mean that you should always buy them from the store.

You can easily craft your own foraging playthings by using paper cups, cardboard boxes, and paper towels. 


Foraging supplies can be used in and out of the cage to provide your bird with an exciting experience, both when you’re away and during bonding time.

And since birds enjoy exploring different heights, consider offering playthings at different levels. 

Toy Maintenance

This last bit has more to do with your bird’s safety. Make sure to regularly inspect and wash your bird’s toys to ensure they’re safe and clean for the pet to handle if you notice any damaged or broken pieces that can potentially be a choking hazard or cause your pet’s beak or toes to get caught, remove them immediately from the cage.

With that being said, you can start your hunt for fun and appropriate supplies for your parrot and enhance its overall health, happiness, and well-being.

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