Toys are an excellent way to reduce stress and boredom in a captive bird’s life. The type of toy that most Quakers seem to prefer is one that they can either take apart or destroy. Quakers are just naturally inquisitive, and this is their way of playing, learning and interacting with their environment. Just as premeditated destruction is the ultimate goal of some birds who will waste no time in dismantling and destroying a toy in record time, others prefer toys that they can chew to ribbons.
Still other contemplative birds choose to slowly disassemble theirs and attempt to put it together again! In a Quaker’s mind, humans live in rooms chock full of bird toys but for some reason we do not really play with them as we should. Therefore, they deem it to be their responsibility to show us how much fun it can be to chew the buttons off the remote control, or pull the stuffing out of the couch! They are not intentionally being bad birds when they do this–they are simply exploring their environment and finding ways to amuse themselves. Hence, the popularity of bird toys!
All pet stores display a bewildering array of toys available for your Quaker, from the simplest of designs to the most complicated. My opinion is that the simplest are the best. With the thousands of toys available on the market today, it really is not difficult to choose safe, fun toys for your Quaker. The key seems to be novelty. Toys should be replaced with different ones on a routine basis, or at least presented in a different way.
Rawhide dog toys, bells with the clappers removed (these can be easily removed by a determined Quaker and become lodged in the throat), mirrors made from reflective metal and swings can all command your birds attention for hours at a time. I strongly discourage using any of the round Jingle-type bells because a Quaker can easily get his toes into the larger end of the slits and but then slide it down into the narrower part where it becomes trapped and could cause serious injury.
Some Quakers go wild for ordinary cardboard boxes and paper towel tubes, while others prefer toys that make noise, I think that most birds prefer homemade toys to mass-produce ones, because homemade toys are mostly constructed of wood and untreated leather that can be chewed and stripped.
All birds derive great satisfaction and pleasure from chewing a toy until it is completely destroyed. In the wild Quakers chew branches and strip bark from trees simply because it is in their nature to do so. To unsure that my Quaker has as much of a natural environment as possible, I provide him with plenty of wooden toys for him to chew and chomp on.
You can even make toys for him. I and the wife did. Some of the materials that we used to manufacture these toys included beads, bells, rings, natural wood mini-logs, rope, rawhide, fabric, leather, Marbella beads, acrylic and even mineral blocks.
As stated previously, Quakers can be formidable chewers, I like to provide my Quaker with hanging toys made especially for destructive beaks that contain wood he can demolish, and a few different acrylic toys that he can have a lot of fun with but won’t have to be replaced! I also provide him with playthings that were made for babies. Plastic links that pop together on the ends, key rings with plastic keys, and balls with noise-makers inside are good choices.