Parrot Enrichment

​With Kris Porter and Stephanie Edlund

Vikki Johnson came up with this idea for using the inserts from the baskets and posted it on Facebook in The Parrot's Workshop.  This is a brilliant idea and a great way to use all parts of the baskets.

Photo Credit: Vikki Johnson

This small plastic toy pail is perfect for little birds.

Darwin finds a bucket of wood left unguarded.

Photo Credit: Kelly Moore Parsley

A Smart Crock used as a foraging toy bowl.

Photo Credit:

Ann Brooks, Phoenix Landing

A stainless steel pail hung in the aviary for foraging.

Foraging Crocks and Pails


Toy pails are a popular item to hang in cages that provide your parrot a foraging opportunity. You can also use Smart Crocks or Quick Lock Crocks in the same way. The crocks can be fastened to the cage bars at different levels so your parrot has to move about the cage to investigate each crock.


Fill the pails or crocks with left over toy parts, small foot toys, pieces of wood, shredded paper, etc. Hide one or two treats in amongst the non-food items and your parrot will forage through them to get at the treat. When your bird gets comfortable with foraging in the crocks you can put a few pellets in the crocks to have him forage for pellets. To increase the level of complexity of this foraging opportunity you can cover the bowls or pails with paper so your bird has to chew through the paper to get to the toys and treats in the crock or pail.

I don't as a rule encourage giving boxes to parrots. It has been my experience that, for a large number of parrots, boxes seem to inevitably trigger territorial aggression or protectiveness over what they perceive to be a suitable nest site.


The six pack drink carrier is a box I feel comfortable giving my parrots. It is designed in a way that stimulates foraging but does not trigger nesting activity in members of my flock. 

Photo Credit: Kristen Dixon

Beer Carrier Foraging Toy Box


This foraging toy is made mostly out of junk you would otherwise toss into the garbage or recycle bin. I stuff paper rolls with newspaper and put them inside the compartments of the carrier along with foot toys and left over toy parts, bottle caps, etc. My parrots are accustomed to foraging so I don't need to put a lot of treats inside this carrier. One high value treat will keep them foraging for quite awhile as Zorba will demonstrate in the video below.

SS Measuring Cups Foraging Toy


The instructions for making this toy are pretty straight forward. I show examples of how to make one in The Parrot Enrichment Activity Book, Version 2, pages 47-48.


When you watch the video below you will appreciate the foraging potential of this easy to make toy. 

In this video, Buddy is actively engaged with foraging in his basket.

Wicker Foraging Basket


Untreated wicker baskets can easily be turned into a foraging toy. A plus to making these baskets into toys is the basket itself is a shreddable toy. Below you will find a pamphlet you can download that provides detailed instructions for creating a foraging basket similar to the one pictured here. 

In this video, Ditto is introduced to his first Munchkin Foraging Basket.

              Munchkin Foraging Basket Toy


                                  The Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket is a container

                                  to hold nipples and straws and other small baby items in the dishwasher. You can find them reasonably priced on Amazon.com and at Target and Walmart. I created an instructional pamphlet that you can download to show you how to turn this baby dishwasher basket into a parrot foraging toy. 

Stainless Steel Skewers


When I need to make some quick foraging toys, stainless steel skewers are a life saver. It is so easy to thread a few vegetables or pieces of fruit onto the skewers along with some shreddable material and there you have it, practically instant foraging toys. I share tips on how I make foraging toys with skewers and review different types of stainless skewers I have tried in a blog post

To add more foraging fun to the overalls, try zip ties at the legs. If you tie the leg openings shut you can fill the body of the overalls with foot toys, crumpled paper, favorite toy parts, etc.

Casper's Overalls


Everybody's all time favorite is Casper's Overalls. This creative foraging toy idea was given to me by my friend, Lin Westgard. Lin made these for her Umbrella Cockatoo, Casper.


I created a pamphlet that gives step-by-step instructions on how to make Casper's Overalls that you can download.


Ditto demonstrates Casper's Overall Toy in action in the video below. He just might inspire you to make a pair for your parrot. 

This foraging toy is simply fruit and vegetables threaded on a stainless steel skewer and hung in the cage. Great for beginning foragers.

Parrot Foraging Toys


Parrot foraging toys provide an opportunity for your birds to want to work for food. These are toys in which a food item can be hidden or presented in a different way, such as threading fruit and vegetables on a skewer that hangs in the cage.


The Webster's Dictionary definition of foraging is, "A search or the process of searching for something, especially a search for food and supplies or a search among a varied collection of thing."  When making foraging toys for my parrots I will also add in other items like left over bird toy parts, favorite beads, small pieces of wood to chew and small foot toys. I have found my parrots enjoy the search when the treat is hidden among a collection of foot toys and toy parts. This also helps me keep from loading them up on too many treats while still having them actively foraging in a toy for a sustained period.