My bird won’t play with toys or eat new foods are two problems that solve each other

african grey parrot playing with ball on play stand
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A clear theme that emerges after reading endless threads on Facebook bird groups is “my bird won’t play with toys” – “my bird doesn’t play with toys” “my bird only wants to chew the keys off my notebook computer”

From wikipedia we learn: Ho·lis·tic – hōˈlistik – adjective – characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Another way of putting it is “we are not connecting the dots” Bird food is connected to bird toys which are connected to bird cages and bird stands and everything has to work together.

There is a large overlap of caged bird keepers who claim the birds will eat nothing new nor with a play with toys – which is the problem and the solution – we need to combine the toys with the food – for starters.

Let’s back up for a moment and define the role of toys in your bird’s lives

Foraging Enrichment – reducing or eliminating boredom by – working for food

Privacy – using toys like the leaves of a tree in the wild in the top one-third of the cage – the cage canopy concept

Studies have shown time and time again that parrots prefer to forage for their meals rather than simply having unlimited food sources and open dishes.


Let’s say your bird is not playing nor interested in its toys and if your bird is not eating his food while not appearing interested in any new food. This tells us we need to combine the two, toys and food. Make mealtime interesting Not five or 10 minutes eating out of the overfilled food dish and then returning to the cage top.

Here’s another video of peaches ignoring her open food dish preferring to remove the toy parts in the foraging box to gain access to nutriberries walnut pieces and sunflower kernels.

If your bird is not “playing” with toys try thinking of ways to attach food to said toys. You attach almost anything from militant fruit to almost anything else using cable ties.

If you don’t have any vine balls or small toy parts crinkle up small balls of newspaper (yes it’s safe for birds) tissue paper anything in that order and cover the food dish so I can see the food – do that for a couple of days and call me in the morning.

The other issue is birds acting indiscriminately destructive like popping off your notebook computer keys. If the bird sees you working on a computer it sees the computer as a toy and wants to work on the computer too.

If you’re searching for something to watch a Netflix, the bird wants to play with the remote (remotes contain deadly batteries) If you’re not offering alternatives to computer keyboards and remotes expect them to be destroyed. Birds are amoral they are not being bad – they are being birds.

There is a notebook computer behind her three remotes next to notebook computer in front of her where I’m taking the picture there are three more keyboards and 2 more remotes – you can see she is on a stand and quite content – at the base of the stand is a foraging box filled with toy parts and at the bottom of the box are sunflower seeds nutriberries walnuts and almonds.

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