What Toys Do Cockatiels Like To Play With?

What Toys Do Cockatiels Like To Play With?

Cockatiels are intelligent and social birds that require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to thrive in captivity. One way to provide this is through toys. However, not all toys are suitable for cockatiels, and it can be difficult to know which one they will enjoy playing with. What Toys Do Cockatiels Like To Play With?

Cockatiels like to play with a variety of toys, like shreddable toys, preening toys, foraging toys, chew toys, puzzle toys, rope toys, wooden toys, climbing toys, etc. Anything that provides your cockatiel with mental and physical stimulation is considered a good cockatiel toy.

However, when it comes to choosing toys for cockatiels, it’s important to consider their natural behaviors and preferences.

For example, cockatiels are known as big chewers, so toys that can be chewed or shredded might be their favorites.

Besides this, they also enjoy climbingOpens in a new tab. and exploring, so toys that provide opportunities for these activities can also be beneficial.

In this article, we will talk about what toys cockatiels like to play with, DIY cockatiel toys, how many toys a cockatiel needs, and much more. By understanding all of these topics, you can ensure that your cockatiel is happy, healthy, and entertained.

Do Cockatiels Like To Play With Toys?

Yes, cockatiels like to play with toys and are known for their playful and curious nature. They enjoy exploring their environment and interacting with their owners.

Most cockatiels enjoy playing with toys, especially if they are colorful, interactive, and make noise. Toys can help keep a cockatiel mentally stimulated and prevent boredom, which can lead to bad behaviors such as feather plucking, screaming, and biting.

However, it’s important to note that not all cockatiels will have the same preferences when it comes to toys. Some may prefer ladders and bells, while others may enjoy shredding toys and puzzles. Therefore, you need to observe your cockatiel’s behavior and preferences to determine what types of toys it likes the most.

What Toys Do Cockatiels Like? Cockatiels’ Favorite Toys

What Toys Do Cockatiels Like?

Now that you know how important toys are for your cockatiel’s well-being, it’s time to learn more about what toys cockatiels like. Many of the toys that you can get for your cockatiel are accessories that you can place in its cage.

In general, cockatiels’ favorite toys are those that are easy to handle and appropriate for their size and strength. Too-small toys are not considered good because your cockatiel can swallow them and cause potential dangers.

Here are all of the toys that cockatiels like:

Foraging toys

Cockatiel Foraging Toys

In the wild, cockatiels spend most of their time foraging for food. For this reason, foraging toys are very important for your cockatiel’s well-being.

These toys offer a fun challenge as your cockatiel searches for hidden treats. In this way, your cockatiel can prevent boredom and encourage natural behaviors like foraging and exploring.

However, when choosing foraging toys for your cockatiel, it is important to choose ones that are appropriate for their size and strength. Some foraging toys might be dangerous for cockatiels, therefore it’s vital to choose foraging toys that are specifically designed for birds.

Some of the common types of cockatiel foraging toys are:

1. Foraging box

A foraging boxOpens in a new tab. is designed to get your cockatiel foraging naturally. You can simply fill the container with a variety of treats, and hide them within shredded paper or other materials. Place the box in your cockatiel’s cage and watch as they use its natural foraging instincts to discover the hidden treats inside.

2. Foraging wheel toys

A cockatiel foraging wheel toyOpens in a new tab. is a type of bird toy that contains hidden compartments for food and treats. The toy can be filled with various types of bird-safe foods and hung inside the cockatiel’s cage. The cockatiel will then use its natural and foraging instincts to discover the hidden treats within the wheel.

3. Foraging tray

A foraging tray is a flat container filled with food and treats that encourage your cockatiel to forage for food. You can fill the tray with food like seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, and place it in the cockatiel’s cage or play area. Cover the food with organic materials such as bamboo strips, cardboard, paper drinking straws, and other organic material. The cockatiel will use its beak and feet to find food.

4. Foraging balls

Foraging balls are an excellent method to encourage cockatiels’ natural foraging behaviors. You can pack them with treats or shredded paper to encourage playfulness. Check this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

In addition to using balls as foot toys, cockatiels use them to exercise and stretch their legs and feet after long periods of perching. This can help prevent bumblefootOpens in a new tab. and joint issues.

Shreddable toys

Cockatiels like to play with shredding things, and you can help them do this by giving them safe toys to shred. Paper and cardboard toys are often popular with birds, as they are easy to shred and can provide entertainment for long periods.

When choosing shredding toys for your cockatiel, it’s important to ensure they are made of safe materials and do not contain any harmful chemicals.

Furthermore, if you do not have the skill to make homemade shreddable toys for your cockatiel, there are a lot of them available online like this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Chew toys

Cockatiels love to chew on things, so chew toys are a great option. Providing them with plenty of chew toys can help keep their beaks healthy and prevent them from chewing on other items in your house.

These toys are usually made of natural materials such as wood, branches, pine, or balsa, and come in various shapes and sizes. You can find these types of toys online, or you can choose to make them on your own. However, if you prefer to purchase this type of toy online, we recommend checking this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Additionally, some chew toys also have textures or materials, such as leather or rope, which can provide additional stimulation for your cockatiel.

Preening toys

Cockatiels like to preen, because it aids in the distribution of oil on their feathers and the maintenance of their health.

It is a cockatiel’s most essential job of the day, aside from eating. Domestic cockatiels may not develop such instincts naturally.

Therefore, preening toys are an excellent method to introduce them to this practice. It also prevents your cockatiel from becoming bored and resorting to feather plucking.

These toys are quite similar to foraging toys but without the treat reward inside. Placing a mirror next to these toys is another way to encourage preening.

Some examples of preening toys are crinkle paper, coconut fiber, or seagrass. Cotton rope is also popular, but some cockatiels haven’t gotten the memo that it’s not meant to be consumed. This can result in dangerous crop impaction and should be avoided.

Wooden toys

Cockatiel Wooden Toys

Cockatiels like to play with wooden toys. Wooden toys are the popular type of cockatiel toys that can provide mental and physical stimulation to them.

There are many different wooden toy options out there for cockatiels- from swings and perches to chew toys and puzzles.

However, you can also make your wooden toys, just be sure that the wood you use is safe for the cockatiel.

There are a lot of woods available that are safe for cockatiels like pine, birch, and maple, but there are also many types that are not safe like hemlock and oak.

Ensure to do your research before providing your cockatiel with any homemade wooden toys.

Rope toys

Cockatiels like to play with rope toys and these types of toys satisfy their need. These toys often have knots or other attachments and can provide mental and physical stimulation for the cockatiel.

Cockatiels love to untie knots so if you give them a good rope tied in a tight knot you can keep them entertained for hours.

Rope toys are also useful for solving feather-plucking issues and self-destructive behaviors.

However, it’s important to choose safe rope toys for cockatiels, as some materials can be harmful if ingested. Rope toys that are made of 100% natural fibers, like cotton, jute, or sisal are typically safer options than those made of synthetic materials like nylon.

Here are some types of rope toys:

  • Rope perches
  • Swing rope toys
  • Climbing rope toys

Additionally, it’s important to monitor the condition of the rope toy and replace it if it becomes frayed or damaged, as loose fibers can pose a choking hazard.

Climbing toys

If you have a cockatiel, you have probably noticed how easily they can climb up the bars of the cage. This is because they are accustomed to living in deciduous forests where they fly, climb and move around in the dense vegetation.

By performing this activity the cockatiel exercises its muscles and strengthens its legs and beak.

Some examples of climbing toys are:

Ladders: Cockatiels like to play with ladder toys and love to climb to improve their perching skills. If you want to give your cockatiel a ladder to climb on, then check this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

  • Swings
  • Climbing nets

However, when choosing the climbing toys for cockatiels it’s important to select one that is the appropriate size and easy to climb on. Always monitor the toy for any signs of wear and tear.

Intelligence (Puzzle) Toys

The intelligence (puzzle) toys are good toys for cockatiels because they are designed to challenge their problem-solving and cognitive skills. These types of toys typically involve some sort of puzzle or challenge that the cockatiel must figure out to access a reward.

These toys can help stimulate the cockatiel’s mind and prevent boredom, and can also provide a fun bonding activity for the cockatiel and owner.

When selecting a puzzle for a cockatiel, it’s necessary to choose one that is appropriate for its level of intelligence and experience like this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab.. Ensure to monitor your cockatiel during playtime for its safety

In addition, if you want to breed two cockatiels, providing them with puzzles to solve can increase their chances of mating.

Play gyms

Play gyms are like mini playgrounds for your cockatiel. This type of toy is a great and safe option for cockatiels to play and exercise outside of their cage. These gyms typically feature a variety of ladders, perches, swings, and toys to keep the cockatiel entertained and engaged.

There are many play gyms available online and they may differ in sizes and materials. Whenever possible, choose play gyms that are made from wood like this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

The more natural materials you can incorporate into your cockatiels environment, the more free you will feel.

Noisy toys (Bells)

Cockatiels like to play with noisy toys, especially bells. It is not a sound they hear naturally in the environment, so a bell is an unusual source of entertainment.

They are also fascinated by the bell’s moving components and enjoy striking it to make as much noise as possible.

Chimes are an additional entertaining toy for cockatiels for the same reasons as chimes.

If you want to get a bell for your cockatiel, we highly recommend getting this bell toy on AmazonOpens in a new tab.. This toy does not contain any materials that could be bad for your cockatiel.


Mirrors are small, reflective toys that can be added to a cockatiel’s cage or play area. They prevent loneliness by giving an illusion of another bird.

While some cockatiels may enjoy interacting with mirrors, they can also become overly attached to their reflection. In this way, the cockatiel may develop some negative behaviors like aggression or obsession.

Therefore, the mirror might not be the best option for a cockatiel, because you need to monitor a cockatiel’s behavior around a mirror all the time.

Additionally, after all, if you decide to get a mirror for your cockatiel, it’s essential to choose one that is an appropriate size like this on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

Knitted toys

Knitted Cockatiel Toys

Cockatiel knitted toys are handmade toys created specifically for cockatiels. They are made from yarn or other soft materials and can come in different shapes and sizes, such as:

  • Balls
  • Stuffed animals
  • Hats or sweaters

Knitted toys can provide hours of entertainment for your cockatiel, as they enjoy pecking, biting, and cuddling with them.

One of the benefits of these toys is that they can be easily washed and reused, making them a great option compared to plastic or disposable toys.

As handmade toys, they can be customized to your cockatiel’s preferences. Just ensure that the materials you use are safe and do not contain any small parts that could choke your cockatiel.

Also, always monitor your cockatiel while playing with these types of toys because they can easily become entangled in the strands, leading to injury. Ingesting the fibers can also cause digestive issues.

DIY Cockatiel Toys

While buying toys from stores may seem like the easiest option, it can put a dent in your wallet. Fortunately, DIY cockatiel toys are a great alternative that can save you money and keep your feathered friend happy.

To get started, you will need quick line clasps and paper twine. With these two items, you can create a variety of stacking toys using items such as:

  • Fully dried orange slices
  • Dried parrot-safe sticks with holes drilled in them
  • Coconut shells with holes drilled in them
  • Paper cupcakes/muffin cups
  • Coffee filters
  • Dried pasta

If you want to take it up a notch, you can purchase parrot toy-making parts and customize them to your cockatiel’s liking.

However, one DIY toy you should definitely consider making is a foraging box. You can use a low seagrass or wicker basket or an old shoebox. Fill it with crinkle paper, small toys, parrot-safe dried leaves or flowers, and other items. Show your cockatiel how to drop food into the box and let the cockatiel forage for food.

While making DIY toys, it’s essential to use natural, untreated materials. Thread together popsicle sticks, weave baskets from bamboo, cut cardboard, attach corn cobs, stack fibers from coconut, jute, and hemp, or make simple ladders from small wood branches.

Avoid using glue or thin twine, and don’t paint or spray the toys with anything as the chemicals can be harmful and even toxic to cockatiels

DIY cockatiel toys are not only cost-effective but also offer a unique opportunity to bond with your bird. Additionally, you can customize the toys to fit your cockatiel’s personality and preferences. With a little creativity and effort, you can provide your feathered friend with endless hours of entertainment and enrichment.

How Many Toys Does A Cockatiel Need?

Cockatiels are intelligent and active birds that benefit from having a variety of toys in their environment. In general, a cockatiel should have at least 3-5 toys in its cage at any given time. However, the exact number of toys that a cockatiel needs will depend on several factors, including its personality, cage size, age, and level of activity.

While having too few toys is detrimental, having too many can also be problematic. It’s important to strike a balance when it comes to the number of toys in your cockatiel’s cage. Also, do not clutter up the cage to leave enough space for your cockatiel to fly around.

Sometimes you can observe your cockatiel’s behavior and preferences to determine how many toys they need. If the cockatiel is bored or disinterested or attacks its current toys, it may be time to add more or replace them with new ones. On the other hand, if the cockatiel seems overwhelmed or stressed by too many toys, it may be best to remove a few.

How Often Should You Change Cockatiel Toys?

The frequency of changing toys depends on the type of toy and your cockatiel’s preferences. Some toys are designed to last longer than others, and some may cause boredom in your cockatiel more quickly than others. In general, it’s recommended to change your cockatiel’s toys every 1-2 weeks.

Also, it’s essential to observe your cockatiel’s behavior to determine when it’s time to change its toys. If your cockatiel shows disinterest in its toys, then it’s time to change them. Additionally, if the toys are damaged it’s important to replace them immediately to prevent injury or ingestion of small objects.

When changing your cockatiel’s toys, it’s important to introduce new toys gradually. Cockatiels can become stressed by sudden changes in their environment, and introducing too many new toys at once can be overwhelming for them.

You can start by removing one or two of their old toys and replacing them with new ones. Always observe your cockatiel’s behavior to ensure it is adjusting well to the changes.


Providing a variety of toys for your cockatiel is important for its physical and mental well-being. While it may take some trial and effort to find its preferences, it’s important to not give up and continue to offer different options.

Additionally, offering a bird bath for their hygiene need can also be a source of enjoyment for them. Remember to rotate its toys regularly to keep things interesting. By following these tips, you can ensure that your cockatiel is happy and healthy.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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