Choosing great, bird-safe cockatiel toys can be more challenging than it sounds.
If you are a first-time cockatiel owner, you are likely already discovering that your curious, smart, and energetic winged sidekick can make cockatiel toys out of just about anything.
This means it is vital to keep a selection of good toys for cockatiels on hand to keep your creative, active avian engaged and entertained!
If you are hunting for great cockatiel toys that are fun, safe and affordable, you are going to love this article about the best cockatiel toys for foraging, chewing, cage-time entertainment and more!
Best toys for cockatiels
Cockatiels love to chew, explore, and play. If you have something that looks interesting that you are really focused on, your cockatiel is probably going to want to play with it.
In fact, don’t be surprised if you spend hours or days researching good cockatiel toys, only to discover your cockatiel prefers your keys or your shiny smartphone.
As many owners have discovered, once you find a bird-safe cockatiel toy brand that you trust and your bird loves, you will want to bookmark that brand so you can buy more toys and get replacements for what your bird has worn out!
Safe cockatiel toys
It will be up to you to be sure you are providing safe cockatiel toys for your bird to play with.
Not all materials are safe for birds, and that includes some materials commonly used to make toys for cockatiels!
With today’s global marketplace, it can be increasingly difficult to track down information about where your bird’s toys are made and what materials are used.
Making sure you choose only safe cockatiel toys is especially critical because cockatiels love to chew. They will try to chew just about anything they can get their beak around (whether it is meant for them or not). So you want to be sure your cockatiel isn’t chewing anything toxic or poisonous.
Here are some specific safety issues to consider, regarding some commonly used bird toy materials.
Heavy metals are very toxic to birds. Metal poisoning, especially from lead, zinc and copper, is a common cause for avian fatalities.
Be sure any metal cockatiel toys are free from copper, lead or zinc. If the metal isn’t named, it’s best to avoid it.
Also steer clear of using common household items like twist ties to secure cockatiel toys to the cage, since these may have toxic metals in them.
Plain hard-plastic toys are generally safe. However, if the toy contains metal parts or is painted, the metal or paint may contain toxic materials.
Rubber is generally not a safe material for cockatiel toys. Cockatiels may look small, but they have very strong beaks and are determined chewers! It is all too easy for a cockatiel to shred rubber toys and consume them, which can lead to a fatal blockage.
Rope, cloth, and fiber toys
Cockatiels will readily chew just about anything, whether it is chewable or not. Fiber toys, rope toys and cloth toys are common targets for a cockatiel.
Continual chewing can dislodge small fibers, which your bird may swallow.
If your cockatiel swallows these fibers, these may cause a blockage in the crop (which is the equivalent of your bird’s stomach). Blockages can be fatal!
The type of wood used is very important. Steer clear of cedar, pine, or redwood, which contain harmful phenols (chemicals). Compressed wood is also toxic and dangerous.
If the wood toy is painted, treated, or held together with glue or adhesives, these materials may be toxic as well. The best wood toys are made of fruit tree wood, ash, elm, maple, willow (NOT white willow), and almond.
The American Cockatiel Society offers this awesome list of safe and non-toxic woods and foliage for your reference.
Homemade cockatiel toys
At some point, you may want to make your own homemade cockatiel toys. If you decide to go this route, it will be up to you to make sure the materials you are using are bird-safe.
One example is cardboard paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls. Cockatiels love to chew this thick cardboard! But some rolls are covered with adhesive, which can be harmful if your cockatiel ingests it.
Similarly, cockatiels love to chew on paper. You may have old magazines, telephone books and other papers that are quite “chewable.” But the ink may be toxic to your bird!
Chain-link toys may seem perfect, but your bird’s feet or tongue can get caught and lead to an emergency situation.
The best approach to making your own cockatiel toys is to research each material before allowing your cockatiel access to it. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian or choose a different material you know is bird-safe.
Also, it is best not to leave your cockatiel alone with any bird toy – store-bought or homemade – until you are absolutely sure it is safe.
Cockatiel foraging toys
These cockatiel favorite toys for foraging mimic the wild behavior of hunting for food and building nests.
Bonka Bird Toys Foraging Heart Bird Toy. This toy is made from all bird-safe materials and dyes.
It features Chinese fingers, which most cockatiels can’t resist chewing on.
Penn Plax Pacifier Kabob Bird Toy. This colorful and fun bird toy is filled with a complex assortment of bird-safe foraging materials.
Cockatiel owners say you can also hide treats like Nutriberries inside it for your bird to retrieve.
Super Bird Creations Stainless Steel Treat Cage Toy. This safe metal foraging treat toy can be filled with anything you like!
This includes shreddable paper, millet, Nutriberries, fruits and other fun treats or chewables.
Caitec Paradise Interactive Foraging Sphere. This small, clear foraging ball is a good introduction to foraging toys.
You can fill it with fresh greens and herbs, millet, Nutriberries or shreddable paper (adding machine paper is great here) and let your cockatiel figure out how to get it out!
Cockatiel chew toys
These cockatiel toys for chewing will keep your bird happily engaged chewing on bird-safe materials — and away from your homework, laptop keyboard, jewelry and television remote.
Wesco Pet Kabob Shreddable Bird Toy. Cockatiels love these soft, shreddable bird kabobs that are made from a biodegradable fiber that mimics the nesting material cockatiels would naturally seek out in the wild.
However, be sure to supervise your cockatiel, since some bird owners have noted that there is a small loop at the top and an inner cord that could be dangerous. One option is to detach the kabob pieces so your cockatiel could shred them without worrying about contact with the string or loop.
Wild Harvest Chewable Perch. This chewable perch is a popular choice for cockatiel chew toys and mimics how a cockatiel would chew wood branches while perched on them in the wild.
The reviews are great on this one!
Planet Pleasures Spiked Pinata Natural Bird Toy. This toy is made from soft chewable palm fibers layered together so it takes a long time to chew all the way through it.
Cockatiel and parrot owners say their birds love these toys.
Caitec Paradise Popsicle Sticks Bird Toy. This collection of colorful wood beads and popsicle sticks uses natural dyes and is robust enough that your cockatiel will get lots of quality chewing time out of it.
It’s great to keep your feathered friend entertained!
Cockatiel cage toys
Cockatiels are very social by nature – in the wild, they live in large groups that may number hundreds of birds! So when your cockatiel is inside the cage, you will want to make sure to stock the cage with plenty of interactive and fun cockatiel cage toys.
Super Bird Creations 6-1/2 by 3-Inch Crinkle Crinkle Little Star Bird Toy. This popular, bird-safe cage toy doubles as both a foraging and a chew toy.
Its intriguing combination of paper and safe wood with a little shiny bell is sure to keep your bird entertained.
Prevue Hendryx 62806 Naturals Rope Ladder Bird Toy. Ladders are another must-have cage toy.
This awesome all-natural wood and sisal ladder doubles as a safe chew toy.
Super Bird Creations 1/2-Inch by 52-Inch Rope Bungee Bird Toy. Giving your cockatiel several types of perches in different configurations can offer lots of different climbing options for these little avian athletes.
This bungee toy is made from bird-safe cotton.
Best cockatiel toys
We hope you have enjoyed reading through this curated list of toys that cockatiels like!
Does your bird have any favorite cockatiel toys? Please drop us a comment so we can add your feathered love’s favorite toys to our list!
Axelson, R., DVM, “Cockatiels,” VCA Animal Hospital, 2009.
Rosenwax, A., DVM, “Safe Toys and Cage Accessories for Birds,” Bird & Exotics Veterinarian, 2018.
Kersting, D., DVM, “Tips to Keep Your Cockatiel Happy and Safe,” American Cockatiel Society, 2017.
Johnson, J., DVM, “Toys and Behavior Enrichment,” Arizona Exotics Veterinary Hospital, 2018.
McMillan, M., DVM, “Bird Care: Cages, Perches and Toys,” Windhover Veterinary Center, 2014.