There is nothing better than playing with your feathered friend and spending time building a bond with them. You might start to notice from time to time that your parrot needs some toys in their habitat to keep them entertained.
So, can parrots play with cardboard? The answer is absolutely yes! Parrots are seriously clever animals and love nothing more than exploring new toys, especially ones they have to figure out!
Is cardboard safe to play with?
Cardboard is safe to play with providing you check the materials that are used in the making of the cardboard you are giving your parrot.
Parrots often explore with their mouths (much like babies) but because they are so cleaver parrots know that they cannot eat cardboard. Unfortunately when parrots are babies, they do not know this straight away so it is best to watch your parrot while they are playing the first few times to ensure that they do not digest the cardboard.
Some cardboards a bound together with glue which can be toxic and even fatal for your parrot so it is best to check the cardboard before giving it to your parrot to play with.
Can you replace some toys with cardboard?
Parrots absolutely LOVE playing with toys to keep them occupied. By ensuring that your bird is kept entertained, this will have a positive effect on their health and well-being. If you can imagine being bored all day and then not having anything to do, this is exactly how your feathered friend will feel if they are not kept entertained.
Using cardboard is an excellent way to introduce a new toy to your parrot without spending a fortune. You can make your own toys for your parrot which can be as simple or as complicated as you like.
Parrots also love foraging and using shredded cardboard is a really good way of keeping your parrot entertained whilst also mimicking their natural habitat. Whilst it isn’t necessarily a toy, it is a good way of using cardboard within their cages.
As you can see from the picture above, you can use cardboard with some string and wooden blocks to create an inventive toy that your bird will love playing with.
You can also fold up card sheets into unique shapes and place these with your parrot, as a fun activity to play with. Parrots are very inquisitive birds and will love trying to figure out how unfold the card to flatten it.
Benefits of introducing cardboard to your parrot
There are many benefits of introducing cardboard to parrots but as I mentioned above, cardboard makes excellent toys for your birds. Not only does it provide excellent toys for your birds but it can also provide a new activity for them. If you allow your parrot’s access to a larger cardboard box, this can give them the opportunity to explore new surroundings and taking their time to decide what to do with the box. After all, who doesn’t love having a huge, empty box to play with?
You may also notice that when you introduce cardboard to your parrot, they use this in their bedding and may even use it to decorate their enclosures. Parrots are known to use cardboard in their cages as ‘decoration’ for fun. This is for when they get bored, they already have something to play with, without going out to look for it.
What happens if your parrot ingests cardboard?
As I mentioned previously, parrots are extremely clever and know not to swallow cardboard, however, sometimes they can accidentally swallow cardboard (not the same as me ‘accidentally’ swallowing 4 donuts) which can, of course, be a worry.
Whilst it is unlikely that this will happen, you should be aware of what to do in a situation where it does.
For example, if you have parrot chicks that are still learning to eat.
If your parrot does swallow any cardboard or paper, this can lead to a number of complications within your parrot’s digestive system (proventriculus, ventriculus, intestines, or the crop).
This is usually sorted by having your parrot taken to your local vet and they will be able to operate to remove the cardboard that has been swallowed.
As scary as it sounds, it is unlikely that this will happen if you are watching your parrot whilst they are playing with the cardboard, especially when they are younger (and if you’re not watching your beautiful ball of fluffy feathers with cooing noises, then can you even call yourself a real parrot lover!?).
On a serious note, if you are at all worried about your pet ingesting cardboard, it is always better to be safe than sorry and take them to your vet to get checked over.
Being mindful of toxins, glue and wax on the outside of cardboard
When your parrot is playing with the cardboard, you must be mindful of what you are giving them to play with. Below are a few examples of the types of cardboard that you may give to your parrot as a play item and what to look out for.
This type of cardboard is made using no glue what so ever, making it the safest type of cardboard for your parrots to play with. As glue is a toxin for parrots, it is essential that you check all cardboard before letting them play with it.
Corrugated cardboard is typically used for shipment in containers and the way it is made means it contains glue, and as a result will also contain zinc. Whilst your parrot can play with this type of cardboard, it is not recommended for them to play with it.
Cardboard that contains wax or ink
These are typically food storage containers where wax, paraffin’s or inks are sprayed on the outside of the cardboard to ensure that the food maintains its freshness. It is extremely important that your parrot does not play with cardboard that has wax/ink on it which is NOT passed by food safety agencies as this will be fatal for your bird.
So there we have it! A brief and detailed explanation of the types of things you can use cardboard for your parrots. Just remember, you don’t have to spend loads of money on toys for your parrot, a few big boxes and toilet paper tubes will work just as good!