What Are the Best Materials for a DIY Play Structure for Parrots?

Bird enthusiasts who are also craft enthusiasts often dabble in creating toys for their beloved pets. Designing and assembling a play structure for your parrot is not only cost-effective but also a great way to engage with your pet bird. However, the crucial question here is: what materials should you use?

This article will guide you through the best materials to use for a DIY play structure for your parrot. We will discuss the safety of various materials, from wood to paper, and why they are good choices. We will also touch on some store-bought items that can add variety to your structure. Let’s get started!

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The Importance of Safe Materials

Before we delve into specific materials, it’s crucial to understand why safe materials are so important when creating toys for your parrot. Parrots are highly intelligent and curious creatures. They will inspect, chew, and play with any item you introduce into their environment. Consequently, it’s essential to ensure that all materials used are non-toxic and don’t pose a choking hazard.


Wood is a popular choice for bird toys because it is durable, versatile, and safe for birds to chew on. However, not all wood is created equal. Some types of wood, such as cherry, oak, and cedar, contain oils and toxins that can harm your parrot. The best types of wood to use are balsa, pine, maple, and apple. These woods are soft enough for your parrot to chew on but hard enough to last.

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When selecting wood, make sure it is untreated. Treated wood may contain harmful chemicals. Additionally, if you’re using branches from trees, make sure they are clean and free from pesticides or other toxins.


Paper is another safe material for parrot toys. It is light, flexible, and easy for your bird to shred, which parrots find satisfying. You can use paper to create nests, tunnels, or foraging toys. However, ensure the paper is non-toxic, such as brown paper bags or butcher paper. Avoid using glossy paper or paper with ink, as these could be harmful if ingested.

Adding Variety with Store-Bought Items

While you can make a wonderful play structure using just wood and paper, store-bought items can add an extra element of fun and challenge for your parrot.

Foraging Toys

Foraging toys are some of the best items to add to your parrot’s play structure. Foraging is a natural behavior for birds, and these toys stimulate your parrot’s mind. You can find a variety of foraging toys in pet stores, or make your own using safe materials such as paper or cardboard.

Bell Toys

Many parrots enjoy the sound of bells. Adding bell toys to your play structure can provide auditory stimulation for your bird. However, make sure the bell is securely attached to the toy and that your parrot cannot remove or ingest any small parts.

Ensuring Your Parrot’s Safety

Even when using safe materials, it’s important to ensure your bird’s safety. Regularly inspect the play structure for any broken parts or potential hazards. Also, supervise your parrot during playtime to prevent any accidents.

Size Matters

The size of the toys and play structure should be appropriate for your parrot. Larger birds may easily break small toys, posing a choking hazard. Conversely, small birds might struggle with toys meant for larger parrots.

Sharp Edges

Always ensure there are no sharp edges on the toys or play structure. Parrots can easily hurt themselves on sharp wood or metal bits. Sand down any rough edges to prevent injuries.

Making the Play Structure Engaging

A good play structure should not only be safe but also engaging. It should stimulate your parrot’s senses and encourage physical activity.

Colorful Toys

Parrots are attracted to bright colors. Painting the wooden parts of the play structure with non-toxic, bird-safe paint can make the structure more appealing to your bird. However, make sure the paint is fully dried before letting your parrot play with it.

Different Textures

Incorporate different textures in the play structure. Wood, paper, rope, and other materials provide a variety of textures that will keep your parrot entertained for hours.

Remember, creating a play structure for your parrot is not just about providing entertainment, but also about ensuring a safe and stimulating environment. Happy crafting!

Choosing the Right Metals and Ropes

In addition to wood and paper, other materials can also come in handy when constructing your DIY play structure. Metals and ropes, for instance, can add more variety and longevity to the structure.

Stainless Steel

Metals can be used for the framework of the play structure or for adding hanging toys. Stainless steel is the best choice for parrot toys. It is strong, durable, and most importantly, it is non-toxic. Stainless steel will not rust, even in a tropical climate, which is beneficial for the longevity of your play structure. Besides, many birds love the shiny appearance of stainless steel, making it an attractive addition to their environment.

However, when using stainless steel, ensure there are no sharp edges that can harm your parrot. Also, avoid using metals coated with lead or zinc, as these can be toxic to birds.

Sisal Rope

Rope can be used to hang toys, create swings, or add a climbing feature to the play structure. Sisal rope is a safe and popular choice for bird toys. It is made from a natural plant fiber and is safe for birds to chew on. Its rough texture also provides extra enrichment for your parrot, as it mimics the feel of tree bark.

When selecting sisal rope, make sure it is untreated and free from any harmful dyes or chemicals. Like with other toys items, inspect the rope regularly for wear and tear, and replace it if it becomes frayed or broken.

The Final Touch: Personalizing Your Parrot’s Play Structure

Personalizing your parrot’s play structure is the perfect way to ensure it caters to your bird’s specific interests and needs. Observe your parrot to find out what it likes and dislikes. Here are some considerations:

Parrot Preferences

Every bird is unique, with its own set of likes and dislikes. Some birds might love swinging on a rope, while others might prefer foraging toys. Experiment with different types of toys to find out what your bird likes best.

Long Term Enrichment

Remember, the goal is not just to entertain your parrot in the short term, but to provide long term enrichment. Change up the toys or rearrange the structure from time to time to keep your bird interested and engaged.

Save Money with DIY

Creating a DIY play structure can save money compared to buying one from a pet store. However, if you’re unsure about the safety of a certain material, it’s better to invest in bird-safe items from your local pet store. After all, your parrot’s safety should always be the priority.

Now that you know the best materials to use for a DIY play structure, it’s time to get creative and start building! Whether you choose to use wood, paper, stainless steel, or sisal rope, your parrot is sure to appreciate the love and effort you’ve put into creating a unique and engaging environment. Remember, the key to a successful play structure is not just variety, but also safety and personalization based on your parrot’s individual needs and preferences. Happy crafting, and enjoy the wonderful bonding experience this project will bring you and your feathered friend!