You might not realize it, but toys aren’t just for cats and dogs. Toys benefit all animals, cockatiels included! By providing your feathered friend with a toy, you’re doing more than just encouraging exercise and playtime; you’re keeping your cockatiel in top mental shape too.
Toys prevent your cockatiel from becoming bored and developing unhealthy behaviors such as aggression and loud vocalizations. They stimulate your bird’s curiosity and help them to lead enriched, happy lives.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve gathered a list of the best cockatiel toys available today and broken down exactly what makes them so great. Keep reading to find out which toy is the best for your bird.
- Important Things to Know About Cockatiel Toys
- Top 10 Best Cockatiel Toys 2021
- 1. Best Overall Pick: BWOGUE 5pc Bird Toy
- 2. Best Premium Pick: Penn-Plax Bird Activity Center
- 3. Best Budget Pick: Prevue Hendryx Rope Ladder
- 4. Best Cockatiel Toy for Chewing: RYPET Bird Chewing Toy
- 5. Best Cockatiel Toy for Foraging: Bonka Birds 1730 Foraging Heart
- 6. Best Cockatiel Toy for Perching: Petsvv Rope Bungee
- 7. Best Cockatiel Toy for Swinging: Super Bird Mini Trapeze Toy
- 8. Best Cockatiel Toy for Shredding: Sweet Feet and Beak Super Shredder Ball
- 9. Best Noise-Making Cockatiel Toy: Bonka Birds 1969 Spoon Delight
- 10. Best Variety: PETUOL 6 Pack Bird Toys
- Your Complete Guide to Cockatiel Toys
- Your Cockatiel Deserves the Best
Important Things to Know About Cockatiel Toys
Before we fly into our list about the best cockatiel toys available today, here are some important factors you should consider when choosing a toy for your bird.
The most popular material options for cockatiel toys are plastic and wood, but you can also purchase toys that are made out of metal, rope, papers, and woven plant materials.
Make sure when you are buying your toy that every material used is safe for beaks and non-toxic, and that there is no trace of rubber or foam on it. Rubber and foam materials are easily chewed off of toys by cockatiels, and the small parts can become lodged in their intestines, leading to blockages and potential death.
What size toy you need depends on where you will be putting the toy. A fairly large toy like the Penn-Plax Bird Activity Center should be placed outside of a cage for ease of use, while a smaller toy like the Sweet Feet and Beak Shredder Ball is great for hanging inside both big and small cages.
Size is also heavily dependent on your bird’s preferences and whether they enjoy small toys they can hold in their feet and reach down to bite, or larger platform toys they can perch on.
Types of Toys
Cockatiel toys come in a variety of different sizes, materials, and functions that are all designed to appeal to specific parts of your bird’s natural instincts.
Foraging toys, like Bonka Birds Foraging Heart, are made to attract your bird’s curiosity and keep them entertained as they use their beak to investigate the toy.
Foraging toys are typically made with brightly colored, beak-safe shredded paper and are held up by plastic, giving your cockatiel something interesting to rummage through and pull apart.
In the wild, cockatiels chew on various areas of their surroundings to mark their nesting territory. In your home, cockatiels retain this instinct and love to chew on anything they can get their beak around.
For a bird that loves to nibble, you can purchase chew toys that are made of non-toxic materials like rope or wood. These provide an outlet for your bird’s needs and prevents them from chewing up potentially unsafe items around your home.
If you already know a chew toy is the one for you, skip straight to the RYPET Bird Chew Toy.
Perching is one of the things a cockatiel does best, so why not get them a toy made to enhance their sitting experience? Perching toys are made from materials such as rope, wood, and plastic; they give your bird a variety of different areas to sit and allow an exciting playtime as your cockatiel figures out how to swing the toys back and forth.
A great perching toy to consider is the Prevue Hendryx Rope Ladder.
Cockatiels love toys that make noise. Toys can come with bells or jingling parts that will keep your cockatiel focused on the toy and making less noise of their own. As an added benefit, most noise-making toys are shiny, so your bird can admire themselves in the reflection. We recommend the Bonka Birds Spoon Delight for a durable noise-making toy.
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of toys available, let’s head straight into our list of the best cockatiel toys!
1. Best Overall Pick: BWOGUE 5pc Bird Toy
- Type of Toy: Perching, noise-making
- Material: Plastic with metal bells
- Size: Small
Included in the BWOGUE are two different types of swing toys, a hanging line of metal bells, and two plastic chew toys. The metal bells provide your bird something to rattle around and make noise with, while the swing toys are perfect for letting your bird perch inside the cage. Plus, chews toys made out of plastic will last for more playtimes than a wooden one would.
The BWOGUE set is great for first-time bird owners who are not sure what type of toy their cockatiel likes, or someone who is trying to add variety into their bird’s playtime rotation.
This five-piece set is made out of plastic with the addition of metal bells. While that can be a good option if you are looking for a toy that lasts a little longer, these materials might keep the joy of different textures away from your cockatiel. For a more textured variety pack of toys, try looking at PETUOL Bird Toys.
- Five-piece set
- Metal bells for additional fun
- Great for first-time bird owners
- Not enough texture differentiation
Why we like it: Perfect for out of the cage fun, this playset is a great premium option for your cockatiel. It features perches, ropes, and ladders all designed to give your bird an obstacle course of unlimited entertainment.
- Type of Toy: Perching, swinging
- Material: Plastic and wood
- Size: Large
If your bird loves going on adventures outside of the cage, this might be just the toy for you. This activity center has perches, ladders, and a bell. Your bird will be encouraged to exercise as they run back and forth across the obstacle course.
This playset is a little larger, so it is great for setting up outside of the cage and transforming your living room into a unique cockatiel play area. The smooth wood base is also easy to wipe clean after each use.
The activity center does require some assembly and can be hard to put together at first. The included glue is not very strong, so it is a good idea to reinforce the base and all of the connecting pieces with a stronger (yet still non-toxic) glue. If you’re looking for a toy with an easier set up that will still entertain your pet, check out the PETSVV Rope Bungee instead.
- Easy to clean
- Out of the cage fun
- Great for encouraging exercise
- Hard to assemble
3. Best Budget Pick: Prevue Hendryx Rope Ladder
- Type of Toy: Perching
- Material: Rope, non-toxic wood
- Size: Medium
100% natural and sustainably made, the Prevue Hendryx Rope Ladder is a great option if you’re looking to spice up your cockatiel’s in-cage entertainment. It comes with two sturdy hooks so you can attach it to either end of the cage, creating a swinging bridge. For even more fun, attach one side higher up than the other and watch as your bird climbs their way up and down the toy at an angle.
The rope and wood used are durable and safe for your bird to chew on, making this a perfect toy to leave in the cage even when your bird is unsupervised (for a similar toy, look at Super Bird’s Trapeze Toy).
Unfortunately, this rope is not that true to size, and the real product does seem to be a little smaller than advertised. This may make it too small for some cages, not letting you connect it to both sides to form the ladder. If this happens to you, you can always hang it vertically and let your bird pull at it to play instead.
- Durable wood and rope build
- Perfect for pets who love to climb
- 100% natural and sustainable
- May be too small for some cages
4. Best Cockatiel Toy for Chewing: RYPET Bird Chewing Toy
- Type of Toy: Chewing
- Material: Wood and cotton rope
- Size: Medium
RYPET makes it easy for your pet to maintain their beak’s shape and length. Regular use of chew toys decreases the occurrence of overgrown beaks and can prevent your cockatiel from having to take trips to the vet for a beak trim.
This toy is dyed with food-grade coloring and has multiple lengths of cotton rope holding all different shapes and sizes of wooden chewing blocks. This gives your bird a choice of what to chew and can help keep them entertained for longer periods of time.
If you have a larger cockatiel or multiple birds, this may not be the best option for you. The wood is rather soft and can be quickly destroyed by a larger bird with a stronger beak, and a multiple bird home would probably go through this toy rather quickly, making it not the most economical buy. For a toy that is great fun for any size or number of birds, take another look at the noise making Spoon Delight Toy.
- Food-grade colorings
- Provides beak maintenance
- Great chewing variety
- Not good for larger birds
5. Best Cockatiel Toy for Foraging: Bonka Birds 1730 Foraging Heart
- Type of Toy: Foraging
- Material: Paper
- Size: Small
Foraging is at the heart of every cockatiel’s nature, and that nature is reflected in this heart-shaped foraging toy from Bonka Birds. The heart in the middle is made of plastic and is stuffed with paper shreds that your bird will love pulling out; there are even more crinkled paper shreds at the bottom so they can choose which angle they want to play from.
The top and bottom of this toy are decorated with bamboo finger traps, a textured chewing element that cockatiels go crazy for. It has a secure hook and can hang just about anywhere in the cage, giving you that extra versatility to move it around.
You should note that this toy comes with rubber dowels on top of the heart that need to be removed before you can place it in the cage. Rubber is extremely dangerous to cockatiels, and if they managed to peck it off and ingest it, they could fall victim to intestinal obstructions.
For another toy that works with the foraging nature of cockatiels, check out Sweet Feet’s Super Shredder Ball.
- Bamboo finger traps for texture
- Fulfills foraging instinct
- Center heart holds paper for pulling
- Potentially hazardous rubber dowels
6. Best Cockatiel Toy for Perching: Petsvv Rope Bungee
- Type of Toy: Perching
- Material: Cotton rope
- Size: Large
This bungee rope goes a long way to promoting coordination and balance in your bird. It comes curved and spins gently, adding a little excitement as your bird climbs up and down. This rope can also be reshaped depending on if you want to add or take away curves.
The PETSVV Bungee Rope can be hung from both your ceiling and from the top of a cage, making this toy a good choice if you want to move the perch around your home while your bird spends time outside of their cage. Just make sure to use a strong hook when you hang it from somewhere that isn’t a cage so that it doesn’t fall to the floor while your cockatiel is using it.
Make sure to examine this toy before and after playtime. The rope can start to fray after several uses, creating loops in the rope that stick out. These loops can be dangerous to your pet as they move up and down the rope; they might get their foot caught and fall off the rope or stuck up high.
An alternative climbing option that is not likely to fray can be found in Prevue Hendryx’s Rope Ladder.
- Rope can be reshaped
- Spins for added excitement
- Can be hung from cage or ceiling
- Rope frays easily
7. Best Cockatiel Toy for Swinging: Super Bird Mini Trapeze Toy
- Type of Toy: Perching
- Material: Woven plant, plastic
- Size: Medium
Most cockatiels love to take naps, and nothing makes for a better napping area than the Sweet Feet and Beak Mini Trapeze. With this toy held up high in the cage, your bird can climb or flutter up to reach it and sit perched up high, overlooking the world or simply taking a pleasant snooze. It can also swing back and forth if your bird chooses to jump on it, making it a great outlet for pent-up energy.
This mini trapeze is made with a sturdy woven seagrass mat and strong plastic chains to keep it attached to the cage. The seagrass is a plant material safe for chewing, so your cockatiel can take some nibbles of it while they play up high.
The woven material also makes this toy a little harder to clean than others, since any dirt or debris will get stuck in between the links of the mat. For an easier to clean toy, look into Penn-Plax’s Activity Center.
- Great for sleeping on
- Woven seagrass is safe for chewing
- Swings back and forth
- Hard to clean
8. Best Cockatiel Toy for Shredding: Sweet Feet and Beak Super Shredder Ball
Why we like it: The super shredder ball lives up to its name – it’s packed full of paper that your bird can pull out to reveal hidden toys. As an added bonus, this stress relieving ball comes in three different sizes.
- Type of Toy: Foraging
- Material: Paper
- Size: Small
Similar to the Foraging Heart Toy, the Sweet Feet and Beak Super Shredder Ball meets your cockatiel’s natural instinct to forage.
This ball is designed specifically for stress relief in birds, and features a strong woven exterior filled with different colored paper; there are wooden chew toys hidden throughout the ball as rewards. Your bird will be able to spend hours pulling out papers from the ball and searching for more toys. This is a great toy to purchase if your bird needs something to keep it destressed and busy for an extended period during the day.
This toy comes in three different sizes, so it can benefit multiple birds or just one single bird that really enjoys foraging. For another toy that works well for multiple cockatiels, check out our best variety pick PETUOL 6pc Bird Toys.
With a name like “super shredder ball”, things are bound to get messy. As your bird pulls papers and toys out of this ball, it is likely that paper will end up all over the cage. This can be a drawback if you are someone who prefers a more compact, easier to clean toy.
- Provides stress relief
- Three different sizes
- Toys are hidden in the ball
- Makes a mess
9. Best Noise-Making Cockatiel Toy: Bonka Birds 1969 Spoon Delight
Why we like it: There’s no arguing that cockatiels love shiny things, and this toy certainly is shiny. Made of reflective spoons and plastic rings, the Spoon Delight makes just enough noise to entertain your bird without causing a racket.
- Type of Toy: Noise-making
- Material: Metal and plastic
- Size: Medium
Reflective surfaces are guaranteed to attract the attention of your cockatiel. Cockatiels love all things shiny, and this toy is sure to please. It features stainless steel spoons hung along a chain with several plastic rings on top. These rings act as something your bird can grab and pull with their beak, and increase the noise-making ability of this toy.
Fortunately, while the toy does make noise, it does not create noise at a volume that would be unpleasant for the owner. You are able to let your bird play with the Spoon Delight while you are in the room without being disturbed.
This toy can be hung either horizontally or vertically in the cage, but make sure you don’t hang it anywhere the chain can get wet. The spoons are stainless steel, but the chain is prone to rusting if splashed with enough water, and you definitely don’t want rust anywhere your bird can accidentally chew it off. If you’d rather stay away from metal toys altogether, the paper made Foraging Heart Toy might be a better choice.
- Reflective surface
- Can be hung horizontally or vertically
- Noise making isn’t too loud
- Chain can rust
10. Best Variety: PETUOL 6 Pack Bird Toys
Why we like it: Like our best Overall Toy, PETUOL comes in a variety pack. Each toy is textured and brightly colored, making this a fantastic option for one picky bird or a multiple bird home.
- Type of Toy: Perching, chewing
- Material: Plastic, wood, rope
- Size: Medium
This six-piece set includes two cotton rope chew toys, a hanging rope, two sets of hanging bell toys, and a swinging perch. If you have more than one cockatiel, this toy pack might be the best choice for you. You can provide each bird their own version of the chew toys and the hanging bell toys so they won’t get jealous (and they definitely do get jealous).
Each toy in this pack is made with wood or plastic and accented with soft cotton, a texture that birds love to chew on and hold in their feet. They are also all vibrantly dyed with non-toxic colors.
Before using, it might be a good idea to remove the hanging bells that adorn this toy. They can break off and fall easily when your bird is playing, and this can be a hazard to your bird; they might accidentally get their beak stuck in a broken-off bell. If you’re interested in a more beak safe toy, the Bonka Birds Foraging Heart might be a better option.
- Good for multiple-bird homes
- Soft cotton for chewing
- Super vibrant colors
- Bells can fall off
Your Complete Guide to Cockatiel Toys
Interested in learning even more about cockatiel toys? Read on for our full guide on cockatiel entertainment and what you should keep in mind when purchasing for your pet.
Why Does My Bird Need Toys?
You really don’t want a bird with too much free time on its wings. While it may sound extreme, without the presence of toys, your cockatiel can become unhealthy, aggressive, and depressed. A bored bird will often turn to plucking its own feathers out, squawking loudly, or engaging in repetitive behaviors that slowly drive it insane.
Toys play an important role in keeping your bird from falling into these unhappy states. The mental stimulation gained from a variety of toys helps your cockatiel stay healthy and content. Keep in mind that the larger the bird, the more toys and attention they will require.
How Many Toys Should My Bird Have?
At a minimum, your cockatiel should have at least 5-6 toys in their cage at all times. This is where a multi-pack of toys such as our best variety pick PETUOL or our best overall pick BWOGUE comes in handy. They are great toy starter packs for your bird.
Ideally, your bird should have enough different toys to keep them entertained all day. There is no such thing as “too many toys” when you own a cockatiel. A good idea is to leave some in the cage with them, and rotate others in and out of the cage routinely to keep them stimulated and excited for each day’s playtime.
Other Ways to Keep Your Cockatiel Entertained
Toys are just one way for you to keep your bird active. A cockatiel can also benefit from a number of other activities, including dancing and listening to music.
Leaving on music, the radio, or the TV for your bird when you leave for the day is a great way to ensure your bird doesn’t feel bored or lonely; the sound will act as a companion to your cockatiel. Plus, your bird may even dance to the tune or sing their favorite songs back to you when you return home!
Just make sure when leaving the sound on for your bird that it is at a relatively low volume, so you don’t damage their hearing.
The only thing better than one cockatiel is two cockatiels! Another bird may be just the thing to keep your cockatiel entertained if they quickly grow bored from toys. Two birds will interact and keep each other company.
When introducing a new bird, be sure to keep them in separate cages for a month or two to make sure you aren’t introducing any kind of illness to your original cockatiel. After this separation period, introduce the two birds to each other slowly, keeping an eye for any signs of aggression or upset.
If you want to read more about how to introduce a new cockatiel to the family, this guide can help you out.
Your cockatiel is likely to become very attached to you, especially if they do not have another bird to keep them company. A great way to entertain the both of you is to let your cockatiel out of the cage and spend some time with it.
Doing this provides your bird with the exercise it needs and will give you both the chance to bond. Don’t be surprised if your pet simply enjoys sitting next to you while you do a quiet activity like reading or watching TV.
For added fun, you can play games with your cockatiel during this time. A favorite among cockatiels is hide and seek, where you hide around the corner of a room, peeking back in occasionally until your bird comes to find you. Be sure to give your bird a scratch on the head for a job well done.
This time is also a great opportunity to introduce a toy like the Penn-Plax Bird Activity Center. Your bird can play on it outside of the cage while you keep it company.
Cockatiels and Mirrors
You may have heard that a bird can get heartbroken by their own reflection. While this is a slight exaggeration, the belief is rooted in truth.
Placing a mirror in the cage provides your cockatiel with a companion – their reflection. It appeals to the part of a bird that is attracted to shiny things (this nature is also why a toy like the Bonka Birds Spoon Delight is so popular).
However, since they think this reflection is another bird, your bird might turn to aggression upon seeing it. There is also the chance they might fall in love with their reflection and develop an obsession that can quickly turn to possessiveness in male cockatiels, or cause a female cockatiel to start laying eggs.
The safest thing for your cockatiel is to refrain from placing mirrors in your bird’s cage and to keep highly reflective surfaces (ones where they can see their reflection clearly) away from them when they are out and about your house.
Can Cockatiels Recognize Their Owners?
Cockatiels are pretty smart birds. They have incredible memories, and studies show that they can recognize their owners. In fact, some cockatiels even have a preference for one person over another.
If you walk into the room and your bird starts whistling and chirping happily, moving around excitedly, and getting close to the sides of its cage to greet you, it probably likes you. On the other hand, if your bird doesn’t make any movement towards you, is very quiet, or raises the feathered crest on its head in annoyance, you might have some more bonding to do.
Keeping a Healthy Bird
There are certain things you can look out for when it comes to your bird’s overall health. Keep an eye on your cockatiel’s day to day demeanor to make sure they are staying stimulated and happy.
Signs of a happy bird include soft chirping, whistling, and lots of playing with toys (revisit our list for reviews of the best toys). When happy, your bird will also eat normally, have bright eyes, and appear well-groomed.
You may need more toys if you see your bird engaging in repetitive behavior like head swinging or swaying, or if they are displaying more aggressive behaviors than usual, such as vocalizing loudly and pulling feathers out.
If you know toys aren’t the issue and your cockatiel has lost weight suddenly, seems to be struggling to breathe, or is losing feathers, it may be time for a trip to the vet. Cockatiels can become sick very quickly, and you want to make sure your pet gets the care it needs. Also be sure to separate the sick bird from any others you may have as soon as possible to prevent illness from spreading.
Letting Your Cockatiel Out of the Cage
As we discussed above, letting your cockatiel out of the cage is a great way to spend quality time with them. It helps your bird exercise and bond with you more quickly.
You should always make sure to maintain a strict routine when it comes to caring for your bird. Try letting him out of the cage at the same time every day, and make sure you cover the cage every night to keep your bird on a healthy schedule.
Treating Your Cockatiel
Like with other pets, you can feed your cockatiel treats. Common foods your bird will enjoy are small pieces of dark leafy greens, and fruits such as apples, bananas, and melons. You can also feed your pet honey sticks or millet occasionally.
Remember, treats shouldn’t make up more than 5% of your bird’s diet to ensure your bird stays at a healthy weight.
DIY Cockatiel Toys
If the store is out of your favorite toy or you’re just looking to add some diversity into your cockatiel’s toy stash, DIY toys can help you save the day. We’ve collected a few simple ideas that you can use at home to amuse your bird.
- Popsicle Sticks: Cockatiels love to chew, and a popsicle is a great option if you don’t have a designated chewing toy like the RYPET Bird Chew Toy.
- Decorated Ropes: This toy is effortlessly made with a cotton rope and some beads (make sure they are non-toxic). String the beads on the rope and hang it from your bird’s cage to act as a chew toy.
- Foraging Box: For this toy, gather several strips of un-colored paper and place them into a small bowl or box. Hide a few of your bird’s favorite seeds or treats in the paper, place the toy in the cage, and watch your cockatiel have the time of its life searching through the paper.
For a few more DIY ideas, check out this article.
Your Cockatiel Deserves the Best
Finding a cockatiel toy can be hard; you want to be sure to select something that is both safe and sure to entertain your pet. After all, your cockatiel is part of the family and deserves only the best of toys to play with. Hopefully, with the help of our list, you have a better idea of the different types of toys out there and how to find a toy that suits your cockatiel the best.