How to make a shred toy for your bird

Parrots need shred toys

My parrots, finches, and parrotlets all enjoy tearing things apart. Continually buying them shred toys at the pet shop gets expensive, so I’m going to show you how to use an old phone book to make your own shred toy for almost nothing!

These are easy to make with just a few simple tools, and they are quick and easy to make, too. I spent about 15 minutes making 4 of them, and that included stopping to take these pictures for each step!

Tools and Materials Needed

  • 1 Old phone book or even a paperback book
  • 1 Cable-tie for each toy you’re making
  • Saw to cut the book
  • Drill to make the mounting hole

 Step One – mark and cut the book

Use a scrollsaw to turn a phonebook into a shred toy.Decide how many shred toys you’d like to make out of your book, and make marks on it where you’d like the cuts to be. I have 4 different bird cages so I wanted 4 toys when I was done. I made 3 evenly spaced cut marks along the binding of the phone book so that I would end up with 4 different pieces to turn into shred toys.

Once marked, simply cut from the binding-end of the book to the open end. You don’t need to worry about straight lines…I don’t think my birds cared. lol.

I used a scroll-saw to cut the book because that’s what I have available to use. A band-saw actually works the best, but you can use whatever you have available.

Two tips to make the cutting easier for you: First, if you’re using a scroll saw like I was, make sure the blade is inserted into your saw so that it cuts on the down stroke. If it cuts on the up stroke, you’re going to have a very difficult time controlling the cut.

Second, if you’re still having problems with the book wanting to “jump around” while you cut it, you might want to place a small board over top of the book and cut through both at the same time. The weight and rigidity of the board will help stabilize the book while you’re cutting.

Step Two – drill a mounting hole near the binding end

Use a drillpress to turn a phonebook into a shred toy. Using a drill or a drill press, drill one hole in the center of each piece, on the binding edge. You’ll want to drill the hole about half an inch down from the binding. This will give it enough strength that even large birds like parrots won’t pull the entire toy off the cage all at once.

Use a drill bit large enough to let you thread a tie strap through the hole. My tie straps were about a quarter of an inch wide, so I used a quarter inch bit and just reamed the hole out a little bit.

Books and paper are difficult to cut or drill, so the same tip applies here that we mentioned when cutting the book: if you’re having problems trying to drill through your book, place a board over the book and drill through both of them at once.


Drilled pieces for shred toy



Now grab your cable ties. We’ll use these to hang the toys in the cage.  Thread the ties through the holes you drilled.




Completed shred toys ready to hangYou’ll end up with each of your toys looking something like this.

Pick a good spot in the cage, and use the cable tie to attach the shred toy to the bars. Make sure that the cable tie is tightened enough that the bird can’t get it’s beak or feet stuck in the loop.

I usually tear the thicker cover off the front of the toy and crinkle up the first few pages to encourage my birds to investigate and have fun 🙂

Shred toy safety for you and your pet

Please use caution when using the power tools to make this toy. It is not easy to saw or drill paper products safely. If you aren’t comfortable using your powers tools safely, please ask someone else to assist you.

No toy is 100 percent safe for every pet. You’ll want to supervise your bird playing with this toy until you are sure it’s appropriate for them. Make sure the bird isn’t trying to eat the paper. Some birds will try to use the shredded paper as nesting material, too.

John Lizotte

I am a Certified Avian Specialist (CAS) and Animal Rescue Consultant. I use education, empowerment and enrichment to help overcome behavior and training issues. I also use my business background to help new and existing animal rescues and shelters to become more efficient and financially sustainable through the use of process-efficiencies, industry best-practices, innovative fundraising and community involvement.

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