Some readers have probably already seen our slow motion parakeet video, but hopefully you won’t mind checking them out again! Using a perch and some millet as a lure we decided to try taking videos of the parakeets flying to us in slow motion. I’m pretty happy with the result.
Note: Make sure to turn down your sound before watching, there’s a weird metallic noise that I’m trying to fix but in the interim I don’t want to hurt anyone’s ears!
You can check out more videos of Toby and Kelly in slow motion (among other things!) on my YouTube channel.
I read an article recently called “Are we killing the natural instincts of the budgerigar” which put me on notice that no matter how many stimulating toys I provide, or flight time, or any material object, I have been ignoring a major component of my parakeet’s mental and physical health. That component is foraging for food.
You should read the whole article, but to condense, the experiment they are conducting in an aviary setting changed the budgies over from eating readily available seeds in shallow bowls that are refreshed every day, to serving food in deep bowls and not refreshing constantly, so the budgies would have to dig for their food. It also involves spreading the remaining seed on the aviary floor at the end of the cycle, instead of throwing it out, so that the budgies could sift through it again, simulating the ground foraging their wild cousins do, as well as getting much more use out of the provided seed.
The article inspired me to make some changes, because I am of course one of those people who feeds every day and discards every day, meaning the chances for foraging are extremely limited.
My big change was to take out the grate at the bottom of the cage. It took a couple of days, but the budgies love going down there and hunting through the seed hulls that fall out of their bowls. This also means that when I serve them vegetables they can go down to the cage floor and “forage” around in them. Like the green pepper shown above. They love ripping off all the seeds and then coming back to go through them all over again. Right now they have a cup of torn romaine lettuce that they are digging through and throwing all over, and then going back to forage around in the lettuce leaves.
I also tried scattering what was left of their seed bowls on the ground of the cage, which would be okay a couple of times a week but really caused a mess explosion, due to the dramatically increased likelihood of hulls being blown out of the cage.
My next steps are to create more foraging opportunities. I always see foraging toys for big parrots, but I think for the little guys it may have to be a little more DIY. Here’s a great idea for a foraging mat just made out of a doormat, and here’s another post about making a bunch of different foraging toys – some seem to be for bigger parrots, but there are some awesome easy things the the blogger suggests, even something as simple as covering the food bowl with a paper towel that the parrot has to remove before eating.
For higher up foraging, we are going to get back into using our Creative Foraging Systems Ball and Kabob, 5-Inch. If we put some shredded veggies in the ball the budgies will spend the bulk of their day pulling them out, whether they eat them or not, so at least mentally there’s the simulation of working for your food.
The importance of foraging and digging through food also reinforces my decision to switch to a mostly seed diet, with pelleted diets a budgie would have even less opportunities for foraging. And with Dr. Harvey’s parakeet food (Dr. Harvey’s Our Best Parakeet Blend Natural Food for Parakeets, 4-Pound Bag) there are a lot of different items in the blend to be foraged through and pushed aside to find the favorite morsels, and then throughout the day more and more of the less desirable items are consumed.
Overall, I want to be more cognizant of how I could be making it harder and more rewarding for Toby and Kelly to find food, after reading that article I’m certain I can do better at meeting their need to forage.
It’s been several months now since my original review of the Super Bird Creations Wind Chimes Toy for Birds and this toy is still Kelly’s number one favorite. Not only that, but it is still in good shape for being abused daily. The toy lost a plastic straw and bead last week when the bottom knot came until, but other than that it looks pretty darn mint.
Here’s a video of Kelly being a bat girl with the wind chimes – I wish it was better but she gets very camera shy, you can see she stops playing and rapidly nods her head at me to indicate I should leave her alone! Although Kelly is the primary user, Toby also gets into it, but instead of hanging upside down and twisting around Toby prefers to separate one “leg” at a time and drape it over the nearby perch before dominating.
I know that at about $13 it might seem like a pretty big outlay of cash for a single toy, but with budgies it will last you a long time and if yours are like mine it will be the belle of the ball.
Whenever we get a new Doctors Foster & Smith catalog in the mail I’m excited to see what’s new and also filled with a small amount of dread, knowing I’m about to part with a pretty good chunk of change!
They always have a ton of great toys for birds of all sizes, and a line that was featured in their recent catalog, Hari Rustic Treasures, has an array of toys that range in price from approximately $4 to $19.
What attracted me to this line was not just that they look like tons of fun for our budgies, but also that they are made of natural and eco-friendly materials, feature lead/zinc free chains and are certified fair trade. They also have a really unique and, indeed, rustic handmade look to them, while also being brightly colored and eye-catching.
It wouldn’t make a ton of economic sense to provide her with one daily, but I think she can be sure to have one of these as a treat every so often. And I’m definitely going to seek out more solla wood toys!
I did slide a wood block on the post after the cupcake was murdered and she enjoys that as well, the cupcake wrappers seem fun to nibble at and she likes the sound it makes. I think the fact that she could hear the bell jingling but not actually see it was fun for her too.
The whole thing put her into a frenzy in the best possible way!
I’ve bought a few of the Wesco kabob toys before, usually the single strand version(Wesco Pet Mini Bird Kabob Shreddable Bird Toy) and the budgies love them. They spend the bulk of their play time focused on destruction, and this style of toy must be very satisfying to destroy.
The Wesco kabobs are sustainable, earth friendly and 100% biodegradable – which is a nice change from plastic toys. Per the www.birdkabob.com website they are also the #1 selling bird toy of all time.
They come in a wide range of sizes, I know I’ve mentioned before how important it is to watch the sizes on toys for parakeets because just looking at an image of a toy with no reference point for size can be very misleading. That totally happened to me on this one, I didn’t take my own advice, so I ended up with the Bird Kabob 8-1/2-Inch Carnival Chewable Perch, which is 8.5 x 2 x 12 inches.
Recently while re-arranging our play gym I thought I might as well try putting the swing out there, and after a few days of avoiding it, Kelly became quite enamored of the swing. She does look very small when sitting on it, but she will spend easily an hour or more just hanging out on that swing and chewing away.
Some parakeets might be too intimidated by the size of this perch and I’m sure the smaller version would be a huge hit as well, but if you’ve got a parakeet that really likes to chew, this size is perfect. I’m sure Kelly would have already decimated the smaller version, but this will keep her occupied for months, so it’s well-worth the price for me. The bigger size also means that Kelly and Toby can chew at opposite ends of the toy without having territory disputes, which is a huge plus!