French Version

Wood and toys

by Johanne Vaillancourt

Translated by Marlène Picard (Mooghie)


Parrots prefer wood among most of the materials available to make toys for them.

Wood is one of the most preferred material by the parrots in the manufacturing of toys for them. Some tender species of woods, such as pine, can be chewed quickly and easily. For this reason, this kind of wood is especially appreciated by all parrots. Other woods, such as manzanita or iron wood, are very strong and virtually indestructible. Toys made of these woods are less attractive to the parrot, but they may serve well as durable perches inside the cage or as a parrot tree.

Use only non-toxic wood species that have had no chemical treatments (including branches that you will cut outside): no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, no varnish (all that shines must be avoided), no preservatives or treatment of any kind, no glue (presswood and plywood) and no chemicals. Use wood that is naked and ... virgin!

Be careful on trees contaminated by chemicals.

If you cut yourself trees from a wooded area for your bird, either to make small toys, perches or trees for perching, it is important to choose the right specie (many are lethal to parrots). See Parrot Safe Trees and Parrot Toxic Trees.

It is best to choose a wooded area some distance from the road. Even though gasoline is now unleaded, it was not until the mid-1970's that leaded fuel was prohibited. So if you cut the branches of an old tree there may still be lead residues.

As well, lead fuel was replaced by other heavy metals harmful to your parrot too.
The salt used in winter to melt ice can also contaminate a tree. Another reason to avoid taking your branches in urban areas ... this #%"&*# mania of humans wanting perfect green grass at all costs (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc.). All these products can contaminate a tree and get ingested by your bird as it nibbles on it...

Long live the countrysid... deep!


Disinfecting it all

Now that you have found your tree (without chemicals and of the right specie), it must be disinfected ... Yes yes... Our indigenous birds (sparrows, finches, starlings, etc.) are not clean, clean, clean ...! They have diseases, bacteria, fungi and other "viruses" that can hurt our parrots who do not have the necessary immunity (antibodies) and these birds are walking on the branches of trees, feeding and leaving small droppings. So it is best to disinfect before offering them to our beloved.

Be careful about material coming from the exterior.

Recipe for disinfecting

Wash and scrub the branch or the tree with a mild soap. Then, disinfect by scrubbing with a solution of bleach and water 1/10 and rinse extremely well, so that no bleach residue remains.

Then, place the branch in the oven (if possible) at 250 º F or 120 º C for one hour (the wood must be dried to the core). Turn off the oven and let the branch sit in the oven for another two hours. The heat will destroy the parasites, fungi, germs or bacteria.

It is important to let the pieces of wood from tree species that have a high rate of creosote such as pine and oak dry thoroughly. In the case of disinfecting a tree, the process is the same except for drying. You must install the tree in a dry place ... not outside ...!

I often see well-intentioned individuals disinfecting their tree and then placing it outside in direct sunlight to dry (????) ... available to all our lovely wild birds ... Caramba!! It must be done all over again!!


Logs for fireplace are at risk for parrots living in our homes.


The logs for fireplaces or stoves are not toys for parrots. It's unbelievable the number of times I met people who were very careful about the health of their parrot (veterinary tests, selection of safe toys, complete disinfection of the cage and perches once a week, etc.), yet they let their parrot shred logs installed by the fireplace ...?? These logs are trees ... and the trees are neither cleaned nor disinfected ...!

Please disinfect before offering to your lovies.


Roger W.G. Feller, Shawn P. Messonnier, Handbook of small animal toxicologie and poisoning, 2004
Gillian Willis,




© Johanne Vaillancourt 2004 - 2012


Bébé, Finsch's conure (aratinga finschi), CAJV
Trees, CAJV
Turquoise, Blue and gold mackaw (ara ararauna), Christine Cadoux
Arianne, Moluccan cockatoo (cacatua moluccensis), Christine Cadoux