Budgies’ inquisitive nature and friendly personalities mean they like to play with their toys. Without enough entertainment, they grow bored, stressed, and lonely.
Budgies enjoy playing with chew toys, balls, swings, cardboard, ropes, birdie bangles, ladders, bells, and shredding toys. They also like solving puzzles and games that test their intelligence.
Also, you can play with your budgie by encouraging it to dance, sing, talk, and learn tricks.
If budgies are scared and nervous, it’ll take longer before engaging in fun activities. You can make them feel more comfortable by playing with your budgie’s new toys in front of them.
Why Do Budgies Need Toys?
Toys are essential for your budgie’s physical health and mental wellbeing.
According to Companion Animal, providing foraging toys and items that stimulate visual and hearing senses dramatically improve a budgie’s quality of life.
That’s because toys serve the following functions:
- Encourage budgies to move and exercise, preventing obesity.
- Enable budgies to fulfill their natural foraging instincts.
- Keep their beaks at a comfortable length.
- Challenge budgies to problem solve.
- Prevent stress and boredom.
- Bonding exercise between budgie and owner.
As budgies enjoy chewing and biting their toys, they’ll go through them quickly.
What Do Budgies Like To Play With?
Having lots of toys prevents budgies from getting fed up with the same playthings.
Budgies are intelligent creatures, so they quickly figure out how their toys and games work, limiting the enrichment they get from them.
To keep your budgie entertained, interact with them using the following toys:
Budgies love to climb and hang off objects, making a play gym a great addition.
The best play gyms have bells and chew toys that budgies rub their beaks on and play with while getting much-needed exercise.
You can find gyms with multiple levels containing perches, ropes, and swings. They can have safety nets to prevent overeager budgies from hurting themselves by catching them as they fall.
Chew toys are a good option for budgies, as they keep their beaks filed down.
Look for natural materials, such as:
- Woven vine
- Destructible wood
The best chew toys include rattles and dumbbells that make noise as your budgie chews and plays.
Foraging balls are a great way to enable budgies to carry out their natural foraging behaviors. You can pack them with treats or shredded paper to encourage playfulness.
Budgies also use balls as foot toys, exercising and stretching their legs and feet after prolonged periods of perching. This can help prevent bumblefoot and joint issues.
Most budgies enjoy swinging as they find the motion relaxing and like to feel air moving through their feathers. For birds with their wings clipped, swinging will feel similar to flying.
You can find swings at any pet store. Alternatively, you can make your own using two cylindrical rods (dowels) and a thick piece of rope. Ensure it’s secure and sturdy enough to take your budgie’s weight.
Cardboard’s easy to make into rolls, tubes, triangles, and circles, and can be:
- Pecked at
- Tossed around
Because cardboard’s lightweight, small budgies enjoy tearing it to pieces. However, when giving cardboard to a budgie, ensure your bird doesn’t actively eat it.
You can use shipping boxes, food containers, and toilet paper rolls.
Budgies have a natural urge to chew, so rope toys satisfy their need.
Rope toys are also useful for solving feather plucking issues, providing budgies with a distraction from self-destructive behaviors.
Only get rope toys made from 100% natural fibers, including cotton, jute, or sisal. Never use nylon rope because birds can get caught in the strong strands, creating a choking hazard.
Birdie bangles are made with tightly rolled layers of cardboard that budgies can pick up and chew on. You can also hang them on the cage to provide enrichment while inside.
Ladders are another fun toy because budgies love to climb, and doing so improves their balance and coordination, improving their perching skills.
Ladders also keep the feet healthy, so they’re one of the best things to add to a budgie’s cage.
Budgies are fascinated with bells. It’s not a noise they naturally hear in the wild, so a bell ring is a unique source of entertainment.
They’re also intrigued by the moving parts and enjoy tapping the bell to watch it move and make as much noise as possible.
Chimes are another fun toy for budgies for the same reasons as bells.
Budgies enjoy shredding and tearing soft materials into many different pieces. You don’t even have to spend money on shedding toys, as newspaper and other paper-based items work just as well.
Games and toys that test budgies’ intelligence are an excellent way to improve their cognitive skills. As mentioned, budgies are smart, curious creatures that enjoy solving puzzles.
According to Science, problem-solving male budgies become more attractive to females.
If you’ve got two budgies that you want to breed, providing them with games and puzzles to solve can enhance their chances of mating.
How To Get Budgies To Play with Toys
While most budgies enjoy playing with toys, not all do. Some are reluctant to go near them, let alone interact with them.
There are several reasons budgies don’t play with toys, such as:
- Health conditions
- Uncertainty about what to do
- Low confidence
We’ve highlighted the importance and benefits of encouraging your budgie to play with its toys. If it needs some additional encouragement, tempt it with the following methods:
Desensitization is a technique used to take the fear and lack of confidence out of your budgie’s toys. By getting your budgie used to how they look, it’ll start playing with them.
Ensure your budgie seems comfortable and relaxed, place the toy a reasonable distance away from the budgie. Ensure it’s far enough away so it won’t become freaked out. Leave it there for around 7-10 days.
After this time has elapsed, gradually move the toy closer to the cage. If the toy has a clipping mechanism, attach it to the cage. Otherwise, think about moving it to the bottom of the cage, enabling your budgie to touch and smell it when it’s ready.
Demonstrate How To Play
If your budgie’s unsure how to play with its toys, demonstrate how to use them. Make your actions and vocalizations as animated as possible so that your bird can see how much fun you’re having.
Hide the toys occasionally to pique your budgie’s curiosity. Its inquisitive nature will eventually take over, and it won’t be able to resist getting involved with the fun.
Once you feel your budgie’s ready to have a go, hand the toy over but continue to interact with them to keep its confidence levels high.
Make a Mess
Budgies enjoy making a mess and being free to do so.
To encourage your budgie to play, put it on a table or worktop with newspaper, tissue paper, cardboard, and paper cups. Start shedding these materials and sprinkle them around your budgie.
Put some shredded newspaper into the cup and make a hole in the base. Push some of the paper through and encourage your budgie to investigate.
Keep using these materials to pique your budgie’s interest, but give it time to think about its next move. Once it knows the items provide fun, it’ll be more inclined to start playing.
Fun Activities for Budgies
Toys and games aren’t the only forms of enrichment for budgies. Interacting with their owners also provides fun and entertainment.
Enjoy the following fun activities with your budgie:
Talking and Singing
Talk and sing around your budgie and encourage it to copy you.
Budgies can mimic the sound of human words and attempt to repeat syllables that sound like certain words. Budgies don’t know what they’re saying, but they keep repeating them.
Budgies are naturally inclined to dance and learn to do so by watching their owners and listening to songs they enjoy.
Start dancing in front of your budgie, nodding your head back and forth. When your budgie matches your behavior, reward it with a treat.
Try making the moves more complicated once your budgie understands you’re dancing.
Teaching your budgie to perform tricks is a fun way to play with your bird while building your bond.
Here are some of the most popular tricks to teach budgies:
Step up is one of the first tricks budgies master. You can train your budgie to step up on your wrist, hand, or finger, allowing you to pick the bird up.
Here’s what to do:
- Find a spot that’s free from distractions.
- Place your finger in front of the bird and say, “step-up.”
- Your budgie likely won’t respond at first. If so, nudge your finger or hand against its leg.
- Continue pressing until it moves toward you. After a few nudges, it’ll step up rather than move away.
- As soon as your budgie steps onto your hand or finger, reward it with a treat.
- Wait until it dismounts and use the training method again.
Your budgie should remember how to step up after 3-4 training sessions.
Training your budgie to shake hands is a fun way to initiate contact.
Once your budgie learns to shake hands, it’ll lift its foot, grasp your finger, and bob up and down. This training method naturally comes once it’s learned to step up.
Here’s what to do:
- Hold your finger out in front of the budgie.
- Allow one of its claws to meet your finger.
- Lightly bounce it up and down once it touches you.
- At the same time, say, “handshake,” “how are you?” or “shake hands.”
- Give it a treat when you’re finished.
Keep repeating the word, and your budgie will eventually learn to contextualize the phrase with the holding and shaking of your hand or finger.
What Do Budgies Like to Watch?
Budgies are fascinated by sound, movement, and color, hence why some enjoy watching TV.
TV can be good for budgies, as it:
- Prevents loneliness
- Can teach your budgie to talk
- Improves socialization skills
When their favorite shows come on, they become excited and start bobbing up and down.
Learning how to play with budgies using toys and training techniques is a great way to solidify your bond. It provides mental enrichment and keeps budgies physically healthy by encouraging them to move.