Photo Credit: Elissa Long
Elissa Long got creative with her pill box toys. She made hanging toys out of hers.
Caitec Gen II Giant Foraging Wheel
Caitec Gen II Extra Large Foraging Wheel
Manipulative Parrot Toys
A description for manipulative toys for toddlers reads, "Push, pull, twist, turn and learn! Help build and develop fine motor skills with hands-on activities." Many companion parrots enjoy similar activities such as untying knots, undoing nuts and bolts, taking apart Legos, etc. In fact discount school supply sites that sell toddler manipulative toys are a good place to look for manipulative toys for your bird.
One example of parrots solving problems in the wild would be the need to find food and then figure out how to extract the edible portion of the food that they do find; such as locating nuts or seeds and then cracking them open to access the edible portion inside the outer shell. Providing puzzle toys and toys that require manipulation will offer your parrot mental stimulation and the opportunity to solve problems.
Photo Credit: Elissa Long
You can make your own manipulative toy with ordinary pill boxes. My friend, Lin Westgard, shared this idea with me. Jerry has an assortment of pill boxes and that was one reason I hesitated at first to use this idea for a manipulative and foraging toy. I realized my thinking wasn't logical. Just because I don't give my parrot a pill box as a toy, does not mean Jerry's medicine filled pill box is safe from curious beaks. I still have to keep pill boxes filled with medicine safely away from the parrots, regardless of whether or not I use empty ones as toys. So I got some large pill boxes and made some manipulative foraging toys that keep my birds busy.
Caitec Creative Foraging Systems makes Foraging Wheels in a variety of sizes. YouTube 'Little Bird Channel' Cumari
demonstrates two of the more popular ones; the Generation II Extra Large and Giant Foraging Wheels by Caitec.
Foraging wheels are excellent examples of a manipulative parrot toy that even beginner foragers can figure out. There are a few different styles and sizes of foraging wheels. All of them operate under the same principle; the bird spins the wheel to bring the treat or pellets to the recovery chamber. This is an excellent way to give your bird the opportunity to work for pellets.
Fasten the pill box to the cage bars with the zip ties. There you have it - a quick and easy manipulative foraging toy.
YouTube, Kirsty's Foraging Channel, Sookie demonstrates the Large Maze foraging wheel.
Bell Plastics makes The Maze foraging wheels in two sizes; Small Maze and Large Maze. I have both and I really like the Small Maze because it comes apart for easy cleaning. The Large Maze is well made but it doesn't come apart like the Small Maze.
YouTube, Little Bird Channel, Ricey
demonstrates the Small Maze foraging wheel.
This Hide-A-Treat toy is a foraging toy that is also
a manipulative toy. Good for teaching parrots to forage as it is easy for them to figure out how to
lift the lid to get to what is inside.
First drill holes in the back of two compartments of the pill box and thread zip ties. Fill the compartments with left over toy parts, beads, small foot toys, nuts or other treats.