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HomeCustomer ServicesNorthern Pet BlogWhy Parrots Need Foraging Toys

Why Parrots Need Foraging Toys

Published on Sunday, 1st January 2017
Filed under Avian Articles
Toys are really important to provide Parrots with lots of mental stimulation and stop them becoming bored.
Foraging toys (sometimes called puzzle or reward based toys), for many of our most popular kept companions like dogs and cats have been around for a while, but in the last few years foraging toys have seen a massive increase in popularity, not just from dog and cat owners, but from pet bird and Parrot owners too.
Here at Northern Pet Trade we’ve had to increase the range of foraging toys we stock to keep up with the growing demand and the need to provide more challenging puzzles to keep pet birds and Parrots physically and mentally stimulated. 

How does foraging benefit a Parrot’s wellbeing?
Ethologist Cheryl Meehan discovered that foraging is even more important to Parrots than play and other Parrot behaviourists and many avian vets all strongly recommend providing Parrots with plenty of foraging opportunities.
In the wild a Parrot could spend up to six hours a day foraging, searching for and eating their food. That’s over half their waking day spent being kept busy and active.
Parrots happily work for the foods, treats and even favourite chewable materials that they value, as long as they don’t have access to it elsewhere. The more opportunity a Parrot has to replicate this natural foraging behaviour the less likely they are to become bored.
However, many companion Parrots aren’t given the opportunity to forage for their food, resulting in lots of free time, increasing the chances of boredom which can result in unwanted and destructive behaviours.
The benefits of foraging toys to dogs are well documented; it gives them mental stimulation, builds a bond between them and their owner and they learn a new skill. The same applies for Parrots and their owners; foraging exercises a Parrot’s clever mind, gives them physical exercise and makes their day much more fulfilling.
What foraging toys are available?
There are two styles of foraging toy available, reusable and chewable. Stocking both types is a sure fire way to increase sales and cater for your customers and their Parrots.

Reusable foraging toys, such as those in the Creative Foraging range, are made from stronger materials like metal, acrylic and plastic, whereas chewable foraging toys are made from materials like woven vine and cardboard.
Chewable and reusable foraging toys work the same way, delicious food, treats or chewable materials are placed inside and the Parrot needs to work out how to retrieve them.
Popular chewable foraging toys, such as the Parrot Pinatas, encourage the Parrot to chew, rip and pull apart the toy to reach their prize.
To claim their rewards from reusable foraging toys the Parrot has to move, twist and turn the toy to manipulate the treats until they can retrieve them.  Parrots need to start off with an easy foraging toy first of all, before building up to the more complicated puzzles.
There are plenty of upselling opportunities with foraging toys, as customers can fill them not just with food, but treats and materials such as small wood blocks, beads and pieces of rope as well.  So be sure to offer a good selection of treats and toy-making parts.
As the Parrot becomes more proficient at foraging, more toys that challenge the bird’s intellect even further are needed.  Stocking toys with varying levels of difficulty is vital to keep toy sales moving. Just like humans, some Parrots are happy with simple puzzles, whilst others want to be constantly challenged.
Encourage your customers to build up a toy box, so they can rotate their birds foraging toys on a regular basis. This helps to keep toys fresh and interesting for their Parrot, as well as helping you increase toy sales.
Placing foraging toys on the inside and outside of the cage and at different levels encourages a Parrot to move and explore, burning up energy as they satisfy their appetite which helps keep the whole process going throughout the day.

Foraging toys are one of if not the most important style of toy your customer can buy for their Parrot. Make sure you have a good selection of chewable and reusable foraging toys on display and are ready to share with a customer the benefits they can bring in enriching their Parrot’s life.
With your help your customers can transform their bird’s life for the better and stop them mimicking that immortal phrase so commonly associated with their non feathered 5 year old counterpart,’ I’m bored!’. 

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