Maybe you have found yourself walking down the rabbit and guinea pig toy aisle at the pet store and thought, “My parrot would love that!”
Or maybe you have seen a pet toy marketed for rabbits that looks like it would be perfect for your budgies, conjures, Amazon parrots, grey parrots, lovebirds, cockatiels, caciques, macaws, or parakeets, or your birds of the Eclectus, Pionus, or Poicephalus groups.
Rabbits love to chew. All the birds in the parrot family love to chew, too.
In fact, both rabbits and parrots have a biological need to chew. So, are the chew toys you would get for your rabbit safe for your birds?
Read on for the answer, and for some suggestions for finding a greater range of toys for your birds by visiting the rabbit toy section of your pet store.
Are Rabbit Toys Safe for Birds?
Some rabbit toys are safe for birds, and some are not.
There is a very simple way to determine whether a rabbit toy is safe for your bird.
If rabbit toys are made from straw, unpainted metal, or wood and colored with vegetable dyes, it’s safe for birds. If it is made of plastic or colored by paint, it isn’t.
Keep the following in mind when choosing toys for your pets:
- Avoid toys with small parts that could pose a choking hazard.
- Stay away from toys with sharp edges that may injure your bird.
- Ensure toys are size-appropriate for your specific bird.
Remember that many bird toys are designed to be chewed and shredded, which is a healthy activity for both birds and rabbits.
However, make sure to monitor your pet’s playtime to ensure their safety.
Most of the toys you find on the rabbit aisle of your pet store make great playthings for birds. Just check the label before you buy to make sure there are no plastic parts and no artificial chemicals.
Newspaper can also be a useful and safe material for both birds and rabbits, as it provides an opportunity for shredding and foraging. Just make sure that the ink used is soy-based and non-toxic.
Also read: 10 Best Toys for Rabbits
What Is It About Rabbit Toys That Bird Owners Consider Them?
Birds are easily bored. The truth is, rabbits are easily bored, too, but they don’t squawk and scream and fly around to let you know they want more toys.
You can keep a rabbit for years and never realize it is bored.
But chances are that if you keep some avian Einstein in your life, you no doubt have noticed that your bird can easily get bored.
Channeling your bird’s excess energy into safe activities is an ongoing challenge of parrot ownership.
You can find yourself visiting dozens of pet toy sites and pouring through catalogs and visiting every bird supply mart you can find.
Even with all that, you may have trouble keeping up with your parrot’s insatiable need for activity. That’s why many bird owners become interested in toys in the rabbit aisle.
What Do You Need in a Rabbit Toy to Keep a Bird Busy?
It’s not easy to keep up with a creature that has the intelligence of a human three-year-old and the attention span to match!
In the wild, parrots fly as far as 100 kilometers (62 miles) non-stop during their migration and when they are scouting out new sources of food. Even when they are settled into a single location, they spend 4 to 8 hours a day foraging for food for themselves and their chicks.
Without their job in the jungle, pet parrots need some awesome substitutions for foraging to stay healthy and happy.
Chew toys, if you don’t want them chewing on their cages or getting out and chewing on your furniture, are a great way to give your parrot a play day.
What Kinds of Rabbit Toys Appeal to Birds/Parrots?
Here are some of the kinds of rabbit toys your parrot might like.
For rabbits, braided seagrass twists are a safe salty snack.
For birds, braided seagrass twists are a fun toy to pull apart.
Seagrass twists are almost always all-natural (although read the label to make sure). Birds won’t eat them, but they will get hours of entertainment from them.
You will, too, waiting to see what they make from the seagrass hay.
It’s not hard to find straw figurines in the shape of carrots and other vegetables that rabbits love.
They are in most pet shops, and they are easy to find online. They are dyed with natural, non-toxic colors to make them rabbit-safe.
Of course, we really don’t think the rabbit is impressed with the cute little straw carrot. For your rabbit, it is just another item on the menu for lunch. It’s straw.
Birds may enjoy pecking at straw carrots. Any straw item dyed orange, red, blue, gold, or earth tones will get their attention.
Cardboard tunnels give rabbits the sensation of moving through a burrow underground.
Only without the risk of a predator following them and without the dirt, debris, and bugs they would find outdoors.
Birds typically don’t like racing through tunnels over and over again. They do enjoy sitting at the entrance of a bunny tunnel, protected from the outside world,
And if your bird has a sense of humor, as many do, they may enjoy sitting in the tunnel waiting quietly, only to shout out something when they sense you are nearby.
Cardboard rolls are the cheapest toy you can find for your rabbit. They’re free.
Just take the cardboard cylinder that’s left after you use a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, place it on the floor, and let your rabbit roll it around to play.
Birds will also play with rolls of cardboard. They may be more aggressive about destroying the roll than rabbits, but they are not likely to eat it, the way rabbits may.
A foraging mat is a piece of cloth with an irregular surface, maybe a colorful flower. You put little treats into the nooks and crannies of the mat for your rabbit to sniff and find.
Your rabbit has some entertainment with dinner, and you can just send the mat through your washer and dryer every day or two to keep it lean.
Birds also enjoy foraging mats. You can give birds the same kinds of raw veggies you give rabbits with the mat. They will have an easier time retrieving their treats.
And, the truth is, they will enjoy pecking at the mat. You can just buy them a new one!
Rabbits love hay. After all, hay makes up most of their diet.
They enjoy pulling hay out of plastic globes with holes in their sides. They nibble hay strand by strand, rolling the ball to get more.
Your bird will enjoy rolling the plastic globe around to pull out the hay, too.
Medium-sized and larger birds of the parrot family, such as the African gray parrots and macaws, may break and eat soft plastic and vinyl globes with their beaks.
Eating plastic is never healthy for any pet.
That’s why you need to give larger birds hay globes may from metal or wood, not plastic. Hard plastic play globes are fine for smaller birds like budgies and parakeets.
Grass beds and grass coverings for the floors of cages aren’t really intended to be rabbit toys.
They are meant to protect your rabbit’s toes. Rabbits can break their toes on hard, metal wire.
Your bird won’t regard a piece of a rabbit’s grass carpet in its cage as toe protection. For your bird, this will be one more toy on which to use its beak.
OK, you are more likely to find this as a hamster toy, but it may also show up in the rabbit toy section.
Many pet stores sell loofah sponges cut up into puzzle pieces.
As bright as your parrot (or, for that matter, your rabbit or your hamster) may seem, your bird isn’t going to put the pieces together to solve the puzzle.
Your bird will peck, and peck, and peck some more until the loofah puzzle piece is destroyed. But your bird will have a lot of fun doing it.
Many parrot owners hide the loofah piece in their bird’s cage to add to the fun.
Rabbits love handmade hay huts they can use for hiding and taking naps.
They will eventually nibble away at their hut, but the grass is nutritious for them. Their toy can also be food.
Birds enjoy hanging out in the little grass huts you buy for rabbits.
They may tear them up about as fast as rabbits will eat them, but they will get several weeks of enjoyment in the process.
Rabbits like nibbling on pine cones. They can even eat any pine nuts they find inside.
Generally speaking, you should not feed your rabbits any kind of already-shelled nuts. They are too high in protein and fat.
But an occasional piece of a nut found after working for it is OK.
This means giving your rabbit one pine cone toy at a time.
Parrots are better suited for eating nuts. Finding a pine nut inside a pine cone will not upset its nutritional balance. They will have hours of fun destroying the pine cone.
Willow Branch Bundles
Willow branches are available in bundles, usually about 10 inches long and 2 inches thick (25 cm by 5 cm in metric units).
We usually think of rabbits as eating grasses, but they nibble on the soft cambium layer of tree branches when they are hungry enough.
Or bored enough. Rabbits instinctively chew on wood to keep their constantly-growing teeth from getting so long that their jaws do not close or the teeth grow into the rest of the face.
Parrots don’t eat wood, but in nature, they chew on twigs and branches to keep their beaks trimmed. Giving your parrot a bundle of willow branches may save you the trouble of getting their beaks trimmed.
Also read: Can Rabbits Play With Dog Toys?
Toys to Avoid for Birds
Despite sharing some similarities, there are toys made for rabbits that should not be offered to birds:
- Carpet-based toys: Birds may ingest strands of carpet, leading to digestive issues.
- Certain plastic toys: Some plastic toys designed for rabbits may not be durable enough for birds, risking choking hazards.
- Wicker baskets: Baskets are often treated with chemicals that could be harmful to birds.
Tips When Giving Rabbit Toys to Birds
When considering rabbit toys for your birds, it’s essential to ensure the toys’ safety and suitability for your feathered friends.
Here’s how you can ensure proper supervision and maintenance:
- Supervise playtime: Always keep a close eye on your birds while they interact with rabbit toys. This will help you identify any potential hazards, such as small parts that can be swallowed or sharp edges that could injure your birds.
- Clean the toys regularly: Just like any other pet toys, rabbit toys should be cleaned regularly to remove dirt, bacteria, and any potentially harmful substances. Clean toys can prevent health issues in your birds.
- Replace damaged toys: Inspect the toys regularly for wear and tear. If you notice any damage, replace the toys immediately to prevent injuries or ingestion of harmful materials.
- Choose safe materials: Opt for rabbit toys made from bird-safe materials like apple wood, bamboo, or vegetable-tanned leather. These materials are less likely to cause harm if ingested by your birds.
- Create hiding spots: Birds, like rabbits, appreciate small spaces where they can feel safe and secure. When providing rabbit toys for your birds, you can also create hiding spots or safe havens for them, allowing your pets to rest or escape if necessary.
- Consult a veterinarian: If you’re unsure about the safety of rabbit toys for your birds, seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the best toys and materials for your particular species of bird.
Also read: Can You Keep Rabbits With Chickens?
Frequently Asked Questions about Giving Rabbit Toys to Birds
Are specific materials in rabbit toys safe for avian use?
Some materials used in rabbit toys, such as wood and corn cob, can be safe for birds, but not all rabbit toys are suitable for avian use.
When choosing toys, check for small parts or sharp edges that could harm birds and always supervise playtime.
What should I look for in a bird-safe toy?
For bird-safe toys, consider the following:
- Non-toxic materials
- No small, easily ingestible parts
- No sharp edges or points
- Appropriate size for your bird
How can I ensure a toy is safe for birds before giving it to them?
Before giving a toy to your bird, inspect it for safety by following these steps:
- Check for loose parts or frayed strings that could pose a choking hazard.
- Make sure there are no sharp edges or points that could injure your bird.
- Test the durability of the toy to ensure it can withstand your bird’s beak strength.
- Supervise your bird during playtime to monitor for any issues.
What common animal toy materials should be avoided for birds?
Avoid toys made from these materials for birds:
- Treated or painted wood, as it may contain harmful chemicals
- Zinc or lead-based materials, as they are toxic to birds
- Toys with small, easily ingestible parts
- Latex, as it can cause digestive blockages if ingested
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