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I have a rescue blue and gold macaw, probably around 20 though no one knows for sure. Since I've brought her home, I've been trying all kinds of things to keep her engaged (and to distract her from barbering her feathers or screaming her head off). I gave her a toy that contained about 6 hard plastic beads, bigger and hardier than most craft beads and about the size of the pad of my thumb. She pulled them off the toy and plays with each one for hours, grinding them in her beak until she drops them. At which point I've been tying them to old shoelaces and letting her pull them off again and chew on them all over again. She hasn't damaged any of them beyond scratching them up.

I've bought her other toys, but her favorites are those beads. I was looking in to buying her more large beads, from a bird toy supply company, that I could make toys out of using things I already have. Parrot toys are expensive and these are the only ones she has both liked and has not destroyed in seconds. But then I met a guy at the rescue where I got her who says he never uses anything plastic with his parrots because they can swallow them, or pieces of them, and that's dangerous.

Is plastic really that much more dangerous than wood? Should I take away her beads? Or did I just meet a particularly wacky animal shelter guy? I mean he was wacky, but was he also wrong?
 

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LOL .... I like the description of the wacky AS guy.



Plastic wood paper ... its all a crap shoot. You just have to be there when your birb plays with things and watch and examine the toys after she plays with them. If she ingests something then you know you have to deal with it right away ... in the wild birds pull chew and peel everything they can to stimulate their brains and mostly to make nesting material.



Try getting her to rip up some cardboard boxes ... cereal and amazon boxes are always great and pretty plentiful. Telephone directory's (if you can find them) are always hours days and weeks of fun for a destructive birb.


I buy sugar cane stalks at walmart and give my bird a chunk of that and watch her destroy it ... lots of fun lots of mess and she gets the sweet taste. It won't harm her either.



It's all trial and error to find what works. Check around online and you will find some inexpensive or even free ideas to make your bird happier. Just keep inspecting the beads and hope she doesn't crack them like a walnut!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!

Thank you so much! I'm really on the fence here, because she loves her beads and they are one of the best ways I've found to keep her from barbering her feathers. She plucked herself bald as a younger bird and I'm afraid she'll start plucking again if she keeps barbering.

I know it's mostly an aesthetic thing, but I do worry about her getting cold. I don't really control the temperature in my apartment and I've provided her with some cloth to snuggle but she prefers to attack it. I'm afraid if she goes after more feathers she will hurt herself. But if the beads can hurt her too, how can I keep her safe?

I've already started providing her with paper and cardboard. She likes it, and she likes wood, but the beads are her most favorite. So far she hasn't managed to damage any of them except with little scratches. She pulls them off whatever I thread them on then chews on them until she drops them. Then I crawl around the floor looking for them, and string them again the next time she seems bored/when I have a minute.

I know there are no guarantees in life, it's just hard to decide what risks to take. If she plays with the toys she likes best, she can hurt herself. If she gets bored of her second-favorite toys, she can hurt herself. How do I keep her happy and safe?
 

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Check out a few sites online ... Amazon is pretty good but there are 100's of birb sites that sell Acrylic beads and baubles for large birds which are indestructible and pretty colors and interesting sizes and shapes and fairly inexpensive. They sell birby bagels and jute ropes and safe products for you to make your own toys for your birb!



I googled this site online and was pleased to see some really cool colorful beads and rings and more that might entice your new birb friend.


https://www.birdyboredombusters.com/collections/beads-rings


 

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Beads are ok under supervision and if you know your bird is unlikely to ingest anything. Always keep an eye on them with toys like that unless they're really big beads. most plastics can get chewed up by heavy chewers so perhaps wood is the better option anyway. Accidents can happen with anything though. Good luck with your new friend!
 
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