Wood is a good form of enrichment for budgies, occupying their time, sharpening their beaks, and shaving down any excess.
Unfortunately, not all types of wood are safe for budgies, and some are even toxic.
Safe types of wood for budgies include bamboo, maple, and elm. Balsa wood, applewood, and manzanita wood are durable varieties that budgies like.
You can use elm, pine, and eucalyptus if they’re not treated or lacquered. These are all non-toxic, providing fun, unique textures for budgies.
Avoid toxic hardwood, such as azalea, elderberry, flame tree, ground cherry, hemlock, yew, or wisteria. Also, stay away from driftwood, as it can be unsanitary or toxic.
Why Do Budgies Chew Wood?
Budgies enjoy chewing on wood for the following reasons:
Sharpens The Beak
The friction caused by chewing wood will sharpen a budgie’s beak. Without this activity, the beak would become overgrown, curling inward and harming the budgie.
Regularly chewing and pecking at wood wears down any excess at the tip and sides. This keeps the beak healthy and sharp, so it can crack seeds, tear off food, and perform day-to-day tasks.
Budgies are intelligent birds that need constant entertainment to stay happy and mentally well-balanced.
Gnawing on wood gives budgies something interesting to do. Whether trying to chew into the core of a branch, throw a stick around, or dig out food treats, wood can be a fun toy.
Produces Food Sometimes
Budgies don’t rely on burrowing into the wood to locate food. However, they still like to snack on insects and larvae if they can find any.
While chewing on wood for enjoyment and to sharpen/file down their beaks, budgies sometimes discover food, making this behavior even more rewarding.
Can Budgies Eat Wood?
Budgies rarely ingest the wood they chew on. Instead, they break it down into pieces and discard it. They need the abrasive surface to maintain their beaks and to play with.
If you think your budgie is eating wood toys or perches, check the bottom of its cage for clues. The chances are that any missing pieces of wood are scattered on the floor.
Is It OK For Budgies To Eat Wood?
While most budgies don’t eat wood, there’s a chance of swallowing wood accidentally.
Also, your budgie may have an eating disorder, causing it to consume non-edible items. For example, pica is a condition that causes animals to eat items they can’t digest or glean nutrients from.
Swallowing a small quantity of wood is relatively harmless. As long as the type of wood is safe and non-toxic, your budgie shouldn’t experience any lasting problems.
Best Wood For Budgies
The texture, softness, and composition affect how your budgie chews, tastes, and enjoys the wood.
Here are the best types of wood for budgies:
Willow trees are a common choice for bird toys and perches.
As long as willow belongs to the genus Salix, it’ll be safe for budgies. Willow bark contains a natural form of aspirin called salicin, which is converted into salicylic acid in the body.
Salicylic acid is a precursor to acetylsalicylic acid, which is what we know of as aspirin. According to Cell Proliferation, the salicylic acid found in willow has been used as a pain reliever.
Bamboo is considered one of the safest, most durable woods to give pet birds. If you’re choosing the branches yourself, select bamboo with the grooves intact.
Some companies sand the wood down, removing the grooves to make it easier to make commercial bird toys. However, these grooves will be beneficial in maintaining the beak.
Maple wood is classified as soft hardwood, coming in many different varieties. You’ll often find it used to make small and medium-sized bird toys and perches.
The elm tree is known for its large, shady canopy due to its droopy branches. Due to the shape and size of elm branches, they’re ideal for budgies.
Elmwood is non-toxic and safe. Due to the strength of this wood, it leads to durable perches and robust toys. You won’t need to change them as often, even with a persistently gnawing budgie.
Pinewood is a type of softwood. Because pine is so popular, it’s easy to find and is commonly used to manufacture medium-sized perches for budgies.
However, if you collect the pine yourself, beware of the resin from its branches. While not toxic, this resin can stick to your budgie’s feathers and be hard to remove.
Pinewood is safe for budgies, but not pinewood shavings. When used as bedding, pine shavings can become ingested, leading to digestive issues, such as constipation.
Balsa wood is one of the less dense hardwoods. Despite being surprisingly light, it can still support weight, making it ideal for a budgie’s perch and toys.
Balsa wood is non-toxic and safe for your budgie to chew. However, it’s a softwood, so a voracious chewer may eat through it in days.
You’ll have to replace the wood regularly, but a budgie will immensely enjoy this type of wood.
Eucalyptus wood is abrasive enough to sharpen budgies’ beaks and keep them entertained.
Even the leaves can be given to your budgie as a part of its regular diet because eucalyptus has antibacterial properties.
According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, eucalyptus leaves have a natural antibiotic against infectious diseases.
Applewood is on the denser side, making it strong enough for medium and large perches.
This can be a problem for budgies that like to chew on softer wood. Your budgie may get bored or frustrated by the thickness of this type of wood.
Considered one of the strongest woods, manzanita is commonly used to manufacture bird toys and perches. Due to its strength, it’s commonly used to produce large perches.
Also, manzanita has spindly, twisting branches, making it great for budgies. Budgies will enjoy walking up and down it and chewing at its different angles.
Since it has an uneven and bumpy surface, most budgies love to peck at the texture.
Wild budgies favor manzanita. You’ll find many different bird species flocking to its branches during the spring and summer.
They can peel the bark and eat the juices found within. In the fall, you may find hook-billed birds, like falcons and eagles, grooming their beaks on the hardened wood.
What Wood Is Bad For Budgies?
It’s best to avoid softwood, including any type you can dent with your fingernails. Unfortunately, your budgie will chew through them too quickly and is more likely to ingest them.
Also, certain hardwoods are considered toxic to birds, including the following:
- Flame tree
- Ground cherry
Is Wood Glue Safe For Budgies?
There are three types of glue commonly used for wood, namely:
- Wood glue
- Super glue
- Hot glue from a glue gun
Depending on the individual formulation, Wood glue is considered a mild-to-moderate toxin. It can expand and harden in the stomach when ingested, potentially causing a blockage.
All types of glue are considered non-toxic when dry. When wet or not completely dry, they can pose a health risk if your budgie consumes them.
Hot glue is often formulated to be non-toxic, so it’s safe for budgies. It’s non-toxic in its liquid form.
Likewise, super glue is only toxic when in its liquid form. The glue formulation isn’t deadly, but the fumes created from the liquid form can be dangerous.
When dried, super glue becomes inert, so it won’t react to other substances that it comes into contact with. So, if your budgie ingests a small amount, it’ll pass through and just come out the budgie’s vent.
Wood Glue Alternatives
If you’re still worried about your budgie chewing on glue, there are alternatives.
When making your own toys and perches, you have two options:
- Elmer’s glue
- Cornstarch paste.
Elmer’s glue is completely non-toxic and safe for small children to use. It won’t harm your budgie in any way, even if ingested.
Cornstarch paste isn’t a strong glue, but it’s ideal for lighter projects. It’s made of nothing but cornstarch and water, both of which are harmless.
Budgies will enjoy playing and chewing on wood. By choosing popular, resilient types that are non-toxic, your budgie can gnaw away at them without coming to any harm.