5 Cheap Bird Toys You Can Make at Home

Blue budgie with toy
onceawitkin / Getty Images

A dilemma that many bird owners face is the problem of providing enough toys for their precocious pets. While many great bird toys can be found online and in pet shops, paying retail prices for toys can get expensive — particularly if your bird is a heavy chewer and destroys his toys very quickly. To help cut the cost of providing playthings for your pet, check out these common household items that you can turn into cheap bird toys. It will help keep playtime fun, and practically free! Incorporate these items into a bird toy by tying them with hemp twine, or drilling a hole and using plastic chain or quick links to attach to a toy that needs some sprucing up and you have saved yourself some money. 

  • 01 of 05

    Wooden Spools

    Thread Bare
    Dawn D. Hanna / Getty Images

    Wooden spools (with the thread removed, of course) make safe and fun playthings for birds of all sizes. Some owners use spools as foot toys that their birds can play with while out of their cages, and some string spools of cotton twine or vegetable tanned leather to hang on their pets' cage bars. If you are feeling extra creative, you can place a wooden spool in a dish of food dye to add a splash of color. As they have the place for a sewing machine spindle already built in, these are some of the easiest toys to string up. Simply thread a plastic chain or some plastic rope through the middle and incorporate into your toy.

  • 02 of 05

    Poker Chips

    Poker chips
    Christian Thomas / Getty Images

    Birds can have a ball playing with plastic poker chips. They can be strung on a rope to create hanging toys, but I like to use them as foot toys with my birds. They will pick them up, roll them around, throw them in the air and chew on them. Because poker chips can be very thin, you should always supervise your pet when playing with them. Birds that are strong chewers could choke if they bit off a small piece of the chip, so be sure to replace the chips if you notice them becoming worn or ragged. It always pays to inspect both foot toys and hanging toys to ensure there are no sharp edges or small bits of the toy that they could ingest. 

  • 03 of 05


    Three pieces of paper made to form a design
    Paul Taylor/Getty Images

    Paper may seem like a dull choice for a bird toy, but many birds are happy to shred the day away with a fabulous paper plaything. Using plain paper with no dyes on it, you can cut shapes for your bird to shred, weave paper strips in and out of your bird's cage bars, or simply crumple it into a ball and let your pet play away! If your bird seems uninspired, you can always dip paper into colored food dye and let it dry to make your creations more interesting.

  • 04 of 05

    Popsicle Sticks

    A collection of Popsicle sticks
    JosA Carlos Pires Pereira/Getty Images

    My birds are never happier than they are when they've got a popsicle stick to chew on. More than just a great plaything, popsicle sticks can be a great way to get your pet to exercise his or her beak and jaw muscles. Make sure that any popsicle sticks that you give your bird have been cleaned and allowed to dry, and remember to remove any sticks that look worn or have broken ends — birds can get splinters, too! These can be bought in bulk at craft stores as well as dollar stores. They are very inexpensive, and your bird can find lots of things to do with them. They seem to take to them right away.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Molted Feathers

    Molted feather

    Pan Xunbin/Getty Images

    One of the best things for a bird to play with comes free with your pet — molted feathers. Wild birds practice their natural preening behaviors on other members of their flock daily, so it's no surprise that preening toys make up a significant chunk of the bird toy industry. Make your own by ​saving a few of your bird's molted feathers and tying them together at the end with a piece of cotton twine. Hang the toy in your bird's cage to provide him with a "friend" to preen and groom. He'll appreciate your efforts.