During the holidays we can find tons of fun, themed foraging materials around every corner!
Let's get started!
We'll start off with our "ghostie" foragers, which are one of my favorite foragers to introduce to birds who are new to foraging! Start by getting some paper towels and your birds favorite treats. You might want to cut your paper towels into small squares if your bird is on the smaller side!
Next, simply place a few treats in the middle of the square and twist the paper towel around, forming a ghost!
You can use tape to secure the neck of the ghosties and keep the goodies inside, or just stick them through the cage bars! Add a "starter hole" by ripping a hole in the ghostie to give your birds a head start!
Safety Tip: Masking tape and painter's tape are the safest (in my opinion) in regards to how sticky the tape is if a bird was to get some in its feathers.
Next, Trick or Treat bags!
You will need paper bags like these found at the craft store, shredded paper, and some toys and treats to fill up the bag.
This shredded paper is from the craft store but we normally recycle from our paper shredder machine!
Cut small holes in the bag so it is easier to pull out the shredded paper and goodies. I tried to make mine look like a Jack-o-lantern!
The fun part is stuffing your goodie bags! I filled mine with a nutriberry, a toy straw, shredded paper, and an almond wrapped in a cupcake wrapper so it looks like a candy.
Safety Tip: Cut the handles of the bag so your bird won't get entangled in the loop. Leave the remaining long to tie to the cage or a playstand or cut short if you won't be tying it up.
Time to Shred!
For these next shredding toys you will need some festive paper cups, cupcake wrappers, scissors, and zip ties.
To make a spooky chandelier, start but cutting a few paper cups in spirals.
After you have cut a few, poke a hole through the base and stack them together. Cut off one of the strips to save for the next step. I like to cut each cup in the spiral pattern a couple times to get smaller strips.
Finally, string the strip you cut through the holes in the cups to hang the toy. You can secure the strip with a piece of tape and hang up your toy. Your birds will love shredding up this chandelier!
Pumpkins, as well as many other fruits and veggies like squash, bell pepper, or apples, can be wonderful shredding and foraging opportunities for your birds!
Make sure you watch your birds body language to see that they are up for the challenge. New things can be scary and we want your bird to see a jack-o-nutriberry and not Jack the Ripper!
What can we tell by this Scarlet Macaw's body language?
Of the four birds I offered a pumpkin to, one was uninterested, two ate the treats and chewed the pumpkin. The fourth bird crouched down and stood her feathers out so far I knew the pumpkin was not welcome.
Maybe next year!
I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Share with us your frightful foraging and shredding!
Melody Hennigh, RVT, KPA CTP
Busy Beaks Academy
Medical Center for Birds