Did you ever wonder how they make those curly straw bird toys? I’m going to show you how it’s done!
These incredibly cheap, or free if you already have a few simple materials around the house, toys are easy to make and our birds love them.
Destructible or shred toys like this one are important additions to your bird’s cage. Keeping your bird entertained and mentally stimulated helps alleviate boredom which leads to destructive and unhealthy behaviors like feather plucking.
Tools or Materials to make a curly straw toy
- A dozen or so colorful plastic straws
- A cable-tie or two
- A Scissors
- A handheld pencil sharpener
- A keyring or other ring to hang the toy
That’s it! The number of straws you use will depend on the size of your ring, or finished size of your toy. For the toy in the picture, I used about 10 plastic straws. I used a keyring to hold the straws, and a D-ring to hang the finished toy, but you can also use cable-ties if you don’t have any rings handy.
Step 1 – Cut and curl the straws
First, you’ll want to cut the straws to eliminate the “crinkle” that makes the straw bendable. You can leave them in if you’re able to get them though your pencil sharpener, but I couldn’t get my straws to feed through properly if they had the crinkles on them. I cut off the top 2 inches or so, just enough that I was left with only the long, smooth plastic part of the straw that would normally be put into a drink.
Next, feed them through your pencil sharpener as if you were sharpening a pencil. It helps if you start it at an angle to the blade (instead of straight in) like you can see in this picture.
You’ll also want to twist or spin the straw while pushing it through the sharpener. The harder you push the straw while turning it, the longer the curly sections of it will be.
You have have to pull on the curly end to get the very last bit of the straw to go through the sharpener. Don’t worry if a small piece of the end breaks off. If it gets stuck in the blade of the sharpener, you can use a toothpick to safely dislodge it.
As you can see in the picture to your left, once they go through the sharpener, they are nice and curly.
Step 2 – Fill and Fold
Fill the inside of the keyring (or whatever ring you are using) with the cut straws. Roughly center them within the ring. I was making this toy for my finches, so I used a normal-sized keyring. It took about 10 straws to fill it. You’ll definitely want a larger ring or more straws for a larger bird like a parrot.
If you have more than one ring available, it’s a good idea to make several toys at once.
Now that your ring is full, fold the straws in half over the ring as shown in the picture on the left.Grip both ends tightly in your hand, leaving the entire ring exposed. You’ll be putting a cable-tie on the straws just below the ring to keep them folded and in place. Be sure the cable-tie is pulled tight enough that your bird cannot get it’s beak or it’s feet stuck in the loop.
Once you’ve got the straws tied together, it should look like this. Make sure the cable-tie loop is as tight as possible, then cut off the excess.
Now you’re ready to hang it! Grab a D-ring, a pear ring, or even use another cable-tie to attach it to the cage. My birds all love this toy.
I’ve got 10 birds at the moment, and they all enjoy this toy. My parrots go through them especially fast, so I’ll usually make between ten and a dozen of these at one sitting. I also curl an entire box of straws in one sitting. This makes it easy to refill the toys once the birds have dissected them.
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 plastic straw bits that it pulls off the toy. Inspect the toy daily for wear, and remove or replace it when needed.