How Hard? Selecting Wood for Bird Toys

Wood blocks for making toys

Toy Basics Series

[ Part 3 of the Toy Basics Series ]

Bird Safe Wood

Once you have the right tools (Part 1) and can tie bird safe knots (Part 2) what comes next?

Selecting bird safe wood!

Why Wood?

Tearing apart wood is a natural behavior for parrots.

While chewing provides entertainment and mental stimulation it also helps ensure proper beak maintenance.

So wood, due to low cost and abundance, is a staple in most bird toys.

So rather than have your parrot chew your baseboards gather up some bird safe wood!

Hardness of the Wood

I pulled together a list of all of the common bird safe woods and organized them by hardness.

The hardness of the wood only pertains to making bird toys. If you are selecting bird perches you can always select the harder woods.

By offering wood that is an appropriate hardness you will challenge your parrot without frustrating them when they attempt to tear apart the toy.

Some types of wood vary wildly in terms of hardness (marked with an *), but generally each wood fits in the soft, medium or hard wood bucket.

On the flip-side there are some unsafe & toxic woods that should be avoided. I noted those woods at the bottom of the image in red.

Image of bird safe wood

Handy Printout

For a printer friendly version:

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Selecting the Wood

When selecting wood for your parrot you have to consider 3 things:

  1. Type (select by hardness)
  2. Thickness (thicker = harder to chew)
  3. Cut (cut with or across the grain)

Pine, for instance, is much softer if is it cut across the grain. So when shopping for a smaller bird I would purchase 1/8″ thick pine cut across the grain.

In contrast, I would select 1″ thick pine blocks for a larger parrot.

Remember you can always offer a softer wood than is recommended for their size with the understanding that it is unlikely to last long.

I purposefully offer Bingo (my medium bird) large balsa wood blocks occasionally and she enjoys going on a quick rampage.

Softer wood is also a great for timid chewers or those who need a slow introduction to toys.

Buying Wood

While you can purchase wood from your lumber yard check to make sure that it is not pressure treated. I purchase pine boards at my local specialty lumber yard since it is untreated pine that is meant for shelving.

Otherwise you can always purchase bird safe wood online from either bird or small animal retailers.

Try searching for ‘parrot wood toy parts’ or ‘chinchilla wood toy parts’.

If in doubt order a variety of wood types and sizes to test what your parrot prefers!

What kind of wood does your parrot prefer?

Please leave a comment below!

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