August 24, 2014 § 2 Comments
I had a few requests to see the Avian Stainless Do the Twist toy loaded up and actually in use, and I’ll be honest; I haven’t made any homemade toys in a long time– so this was the perfect opportunity. I decided to load it up with some good, all natural wood! I used a combination of small wood beads in three shapes: spools, round beads, and beehive beads, along with two awesome types of wood parts from Mother Pluckin’ Bird Toys: the avian tiny wafers and the avian small cork stuffers. They’re all strung together on thin leather cord.
Not too shabby, right? The toy has a total of four holes which is kind of the perfect number– four is not so many that your fingers are left tender and sore from having to tie quite so many knots, but it’s also enough that you can load the toy up with tons of fun parts. On the top and bottom hole, I only did one string of toys each, but on the middle two holes, I added double strands of toys for even more wood chipping activity. If you use thin enough cord, you can probably load 3 or maybe even 4 strands into each hole– and in that way, you can really make a huge toy!
So what did Lola think? She gives it two wings up! She immediately started chipping away. This base makes a big toy, but again, it’s not so heavy that I feel that it poses any sort of danger. She’s still working at it now! I went with an all wood iteration of this toy, but the possibilities are endless. And because it has four toy holes, there is tons of room for plenty of variety.
Seeing Lola going at the fully loaded toy reinforces that this is a great buy. I love that even after she destroys all of the toy parts, the base will be ready for for reinvention as a brand new toy. I definitely recommend it to anybody who likes to main their own toys. And because it’s made from high quality and safe stainless steel, it’s going to last a long, long time. Even better!
August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
Here comes part two of spoiling Lola silly! This package of beautiful toys comes from British Columbia, Canada, home of Things for Wings! Danita, the wonderful owner, knows Lola’s tastes quite well and has created some real beauties for her this time around. This order we focused on tried and true favorites: lots of natural wood, lots of bark, lots of snappy wood beads… basically, lots of destruction!
First up are three classic favorites that I know will be relished to the very last bead by Lola’s big beak: the natural wood jellybean toy, natural wild strawberries, and Lea’s toy. If they look familiar, it’s because we order them all the time. I couldn’t believe how fast the jellybean one went the first time! It might’ve lasted an afternoon? Lola couldn’t get enough of it, and I love that it can be hung horizontally like a garland too at different levels in the cage.
Next up is something old, and something new! On the right are those truly fantastic little foraging blocks that I’ve written about before– Lola is going to be so excited that they are back, especially when I stuff them with in shell almonds. I love that they are so simple and all natural, but really provide a lot of enrichment and foraging fun for her. Anything that can keep her busy and her mind stimulated is great by me. On the left is a gorgeous platform perch made of barky basswood!
This is our very first time trying basswood for perches, so I was really excited to see this beautiful, chunky bark. I had to get a close-up to show you just how thick and delectable it is! One of Lola’s favorite activities is stripping her beautiful perches of their lovely bark, so I have no doubts that she will really relish this one. I also love the addition of the little wood toy hook. It probably won’t last too long with Lola but I like that I can spruce up the perch a bit before adding it to her abode! Of course, it comes equipped with stainless steel hardware as well. I just saw on the site that they’ve added yet another awesome basswood perch with two edges of bark that I might have to try for next time.
Last but not least, we put Danita’s creative juices to the test with two custom toy requests: one with lots of natural wood to chip, and one with lots of soft and chewy cork bark. Aren’t they beauties? I’m proud to see that the natural wood coin one has already made it onto the site as a permanent toy, which you can purchase here! I wanted something that focused on natural wood coins, which Lola absolutely loves, and generally last a little longer than snappy beads or cork. It’s gorgeous and just packed full of cottonwood and willow coins.
The second custom toy is just as gorgeous. It is chock full of natural cork bark– just look at all of those nooks and crannies! Finished off with shreddable seagrass, snappy wood beads, and even a few willow coins, this toy would appeal to the smaller birds too despite its large size. The cork is so soft that it’s practically shreddable, and I’ve yet to meet a bird that doesn’t love sinking its beak into cork bark. I know Lola will adore this one.
I can’t wait to start giving her these toys– she’s going to jump for joy! I’m just afraid of how quickly she will go through them. Thank you, Things for Wings!
August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment
Lola was such a good girl this summer, and as a reward, August is the month of spoiling her silly! She’s gotten a number of packages full of awesome, enriching, and fun new toys. The first up is an awesome order from both Avian Stainless and Avian Organics, two fantastic sister stores that focus on providing the very best, highest quality stainless steel toys and organic parrot food respectively. I know I’ve written about both of these stores before, but I am constantly impressed with every order I receive from them. Avian Stainless in particular takes a long time to develop and test their toys to ensure that no detail is spared: their toys use super high quality stainless steel, there are no sharp edges or points anywhere, and finished products are beautifully polished and shined.
I’m always excited when they announce a new product, but I was particularly excited about this one. Usually, their toys are bells or noise-makers (which I love!), but ever since they discontinued their very cool double skewer I was hoping they’d develop a new refillable type of stainless steel toy base. This is just what the doctor ordered! It’s called the Do the Twist, and it’s a great stainless steel spiral base with a welded o-ring at the top for hanging, and holes that allow you to add your own toy parts.
This toy base actually reminded me a lot of an old toy base that used to be made by Grey Feather Toys, which unfortunately is no longer in business. They had a similar type of toy base that they called the Sterling Twirl. I wanted to see how the two toy bases compared. Although the basic idea and shape of the toys are similar, there are several key differences between the two toys that make them appropriate for different types of birds and for different uses.
The key difference between the two is that the Do the Twist is like a smaller, lighter, sleeker version of the Sterling Twirl. I love the Sterling Twirl– it is made of extremely thick, heavy duty stainless steel– but for this reason, it is a very heavy and huge toy. Aside from the fact that it takes up a ton of room, particularly when it’s loaded with toy parts, it is also so heavy that I was nervous about it knocking Lola out or something if she was playing or swinging very rowdily in her cage. That’s why I love using it as an awesome out of cage toy for Lola’s play areas, but not so much in the cage. The Do the Twist, on the other hand, is made of a much thinner bar of stainless steel that has been perfectly sanded and rounded to prevent any sharp edges, and its smaller size makes it much more appropriate for use inside the cage. The stainless steel is thin and pliable enough that the toy actually has some bounce to it, and is a fraction of the weight of the Sterling Twirl. Even loaded up with parts, I would still feel comfortable putting it in the cage. I’ve yet to actually have a chance to deck it out, but I’m sure that when I do, it’ll be a big hit!
I also made sure to restock some of Lola’s favorite bird breads from Avian Organics. She loves all of their breads, so I like to buy a variety and freeze them. I like that they contain no regular wheat and instead use healthier flours. I also like to throw in lots of fresh veggies or other add-ins when I cook them. The finished product, once baked and cooled, also freezes beautifully!
Last, but not least, I also picked up two of her beloved mashes. The Quick Serve might be her favorite flavor ever, but the Mayan Gourmet Mash is another popular mix here.
A huge thanks to Avian Organics and Avian Stainless for another great order and for such great products! Everything about these stores is top notch, including excellent customer service. Unfortunately, Doris, the wonderful owner recently suffered an injury and the stores are temporarily closed for the time being, but I hope she heals quickly– for her own sake as well as for all of her customers!