7 DIY bird toys to keep your feathered friend entertained

Orange and green parrot in his cage surrounded by DIY bird toys
(Image credit: Getty Images)

DIY bird toys can be a lifesaver if you’re on a budget and are looking to keep your feathered friend amused without upsetting your bank account.  Although most bird toys don’t cost a lot, our beaked buddies tend to attack their toys vigorously, which means they need to be replaced a lot more frequently than you may be able to afford.

While the best toys for parrots and other smaller birds come in a wide range of options, the cost can quickly add up if you’re being forced to invest in these on a regular basis. Thankfully, DIY bird toys offer a great solution that lets you use up a lot of common items around the home.

Below you’ll find a range of great options that take basic materials such as paper, string, and wooden beads and transform them into toys that will keep your bird physically and mentally stimulated for hours at a time. All of them are simple to make and best of all? They cost next to nothing!

1. Dishwasher foraging basket

Munchkin dishwasher basket

(Image credit: Amazon)

Quite possibly the coolest idea ever, a dishwasher foraging basket will keep your birds amused and entertained for hours at a time. Easy to find and super affordable, we love the Munchkin High Capacity Dishwasher Basket because it’s nice and safe for birds. 

Once you’ve picked yourself up one, you’ll want to secure it to the sides of your bird's cage using several plastic zip ties and then fill it up with chopped up vegetables, such as carrots and celery. You can use leafy vegetables like kale too and have them sticking up through the top, bottom and sides or for a special treat, try broccoli smeared with almond butter.

2. Cheap DIY bird toys

If you don’t want to spend a fortune making toys for your feathered friends, then you’ll want to check out this fantastic video where you’ll learn how to make five wallet-friendly toys for $15, using items you can easily get from your local dollar store. Not only are these toys cheap, but they’re incredibly fun and will keep your bird busy for hours.

3. Easy paper bird toys

Not sure you want to spend $15 on DIY bird toys? No worries! In this video, you’ll learn how to make five quick and easy toys for your feathered friend using just paper - it doesn’t get much cheaper than that! With simple and straightforward instructions, you’ll have these toys whipped up for your bird in no time. 

4. Bead swing

Bead swing

(Image credit: WikiHow)

To make a bead swing for your bird, cut a piece of string about one foot (30cm) in length or longer if you’re wanting a bigger swing. Use a piece of twine or cotton rope but avoid fishing line or metal wire as these could hurt your birds feet. 

Once you’ve got your piece of string cut, start threading it with wooden beads that measure roughly 1.9 cm, continuing until the beads are all tightly packed together but with a little string left at either end. Avoid using plastic beads as your bird could bite into them and hurt themselves.

Take the ends of the string and tie them about 10-15 cm apart at the top of your bird’s cage - reduce the space if you want the swing looser or increase it for a tighter swing.

5. Hanging almond toy

Hanging almond toy

(Image credit: WikiHow)

Get a piece of fishing line or sewing string and thread it with a 1.9 cm wooden bead before tying the end off to keep your bead and ingredients in place. Once you’ve done that, take 15 almonds and hold each almond by its end, poking a needle through the middle.

Thread the string through the hole in each almond, so that they stack together to form a long chain. Bunch the almonds close together and leave plenty of extra string at one end to make it easy to hang.

Take another wooden button, just like the one you used at the beginning, and place it on top of the almond chain, tying it on securely to hold all the almonds in place. Now take the rest of the remaining string and use it to hang the almond chain from the top or side of your bird’s cage.

6. Build-a-toy

We love this video because not only is it quick (which is great if you’re time poor!) but it shows you how easy it is to take common items, like wood, leather, paper, stainless steel, natural fibers, and more, and turn them into something special that your bird will love to play with. 

7. Twig ball

Budgie pecking at a twig ball

(Image credit: brightstuffs.com)

Take a bunch of twigs from your garden (pliable willow is particularly good for this) or a heap of long dried grass and weave it together to create this cool ball that your bird will have hours of fun with trying to unravel. To make the toy even more exciting, why not fill the ball with treats, smear it with almond butter or spray it with millet spray.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.