Keeping Lola Busy: DIY Toys

April 24, 2011 § 6 Comments

I am often asked what a Cape Parrot’s favorite types of toys are, or how destructive they are.  Those are easy questions for me: wood, and very.  Lola is a busy little termite with feathers.  I very quickly learned that if I don’t intend to go bankrupt, I need to buy bulk toy parts and make most of her toys myself, because the types of toys that I would buy for her would typically cost about $25-$30 each.  So, I bought some toy bases, some stringing materials, and a ton of toy parts, and got to work!

Lola is a tricky one though: she is very picky and very exacting with what she likes and dislikes.  Her absolute favorite toy parts are 5/8″ to 3/4″ hardwood beads.  Any smaller and it just gets ridiculous with how fast she goes through them, any larger and she won’t touch them.  Next on her list are natural wood coins, preferably medium to very hard, with lots of bark.  She won’t touch these if they are sliced any thicker than 3/8″. Finally, at the bottom of the list are slices of pine.  Because she is a true stinker, she really isn’t the biggest fan of pine, even when it is sliced nice and thin just for her.  She really relishes hard woods, and pine is too soft for her.  It doesn’t snap and crunch quite enough for her liking.

So, with all of her preferences and quirks in mind, here is how I keep my Lola busy: one week’s worth of toys.

The rolling pin toy

My classic, go to, super simple and not so aesthetically pleasing toy is the rolling pin toy.  These rolling pin toy bases from California Bird Nerds make toy making a breeze.  I have a ton of them in both the small and medium size, and when I am feeling uncreative, it is my go to toy base for a quick and easy toy that I know Lola will love.  The one photographed above has a mixture of 3/4″ wood beads, natural wood slices, and pine slats, strung on heavy hemp rope.  I always try to keep the strands relatively short– usually no more than 5″ long– so that even after she chews up all of the toy parts, the leftover stringing material doesn’t pose a safety hazard.

Another go to toy, with a built in hole for foraging

Another simple toy with my new favorite toy base from Things for Wings

Here are two more super simple toys I created.  The first one has a nice foraging hole in it, the perfect size for an in shell almond, and plenty to chew and destroy.  The second two use my new favorite toy base from Things for Wings: the leather dome toy base!  It’s super simple, but I was getting tired of the constant rolling pin toys I was making and these are a nice change.  Plus, the leather is very durable and provides another texture for Lola to chew.  I really love these toy bases, especially because you can create different sized toys with them.  When I use heavy hemp rope, each hole only fits on strand, but with Paulie Rope I can fit in two strands per hole, making for double the fun for Lola!

One new foraging toy for Lola

Another home made foraging toy for Lola

I was feeling inspired this weekend, and even made some new toy styles, two types of foraging toys on a stainless steel skewer base.  The one on top has one large rectangular forager with multiple holes.  You can just barely see in the photo, but I tie leather strings in the entrance so that they hold the treats in there, as well as make it a bit more challenging for Lola to get them out.  There are foraging holes on both ends of that toy.  In the bottom two photos are another foraging toy, this time with three smaller foraging blocks.  I like to wrap up treats in mini cupcake liners or white paper cups and wedge them in the holes for Lola to pick out.  Sometimes I will mix it up and put a toy in there instead so that it keeps her guessing.

So, six toys total, plus one more not pictured (it was more of the same), along with about 150 foot toys this weekend– that will keep Lola busy for one week.  Then next Saturday I will spend the weekend doing more of the same. 🙂  It’s a lot of work, but my little Lola is worth it.


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