by Shelly Lane
Quaker Parrots are playful birds that seem to have a real sense of fun and humor. This article discusses how to encourage play in Quakers using toys and suggests interactive games which you can play with your bird.
Like many of the other species of parrots, most Quaker Parrots are very playful. While I wouldn’t call them the clowns or the acrobats of the parrot world, they seem to enjoy their toys and have a real sense of fun and playfulness.
Although I would label all seven of my Quaker Parrots as playful, I have heard from some owners who relate that their Quakers never touch their toys. Fortunately, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule. From what I’ve been able to determine from these conversations, it seems to be very important for a parrot to learn to play with toys while it’s still young. If it doesn’t, it is less likely that the bird will play with toys when it is older.
I recommend having two to three toys in the parrot’s cage at all times. I try to provide a mix of destructible and indestructible toys. A toy that can be chewed and destroyed is a positive outlet for excess energy for the bird. In parrot stores and catalogs you will find a large variety of play toys. A toy made for a Cockatiel or Conure is often an appropriate size of toy for a Quaker Parrot.
Food can also be an inexpensive and fun “toy” for a pet bird. I have long been a fan of those kabob bird treat holders that allow you to place small pieces of veggies and fruits on a thin, stainless steel rod which is then hung from the top of the cage just like a toy would be.
You can also put pieces of pinwheel pasta or cheerios on the rod. Jungle Talk Bird Toys makes one that they call a Garden Kabob. My birds love theirs, and by using different foods you can create a different “toy” every day. (And shh, don’t tell your feathered friend this, but it can also be a great way to get your parrot to try different types of foods that it normally wouldn’t touch if placed in a food bowl.)
Another way to encourage playfulness in your Quaker Parrot is to play games with them. Peek-a-boo is a huge favorite in our house. Another game I play with my birds is “I’m gonna get your toe” – which is what I say to them as I playfully pretend to grab their toes. Don’t be afraid to act silly around your parrot. Not only will they love it, but you might find you enjoy it just as much as they do!