April 21, 2012

Wanna play, boy?

In the previous posts I already mentioned a bunch of recognizable moods, at least so far. There's sleepy, hungry, quiet, playful, vocal and nosy. In that post, we went into the nosy a bit.

I guess we can add angry/upset to that list as well, but more about that later.

So what is Vinny like when he's playful?

Well, to be honest, this can mean a bunch of things. Basically it means that he's into everything. It can be anything in his toy basket, but could easily also be his play stand or swing, our couch, the food cup, you name it.

In our office, we have 2 desks set up, with a table in the middle and an Ikea Expedit 2x2 up against the wall. On top of that, there's a small play stand which he loves. It's high enough up so that he has the feeling of it being his 'throne' (good view of both of us and the rest of his room), plus it's where he gets playful.

We did this by getting a wooden tray at a dollar store that's easy to clean. Then we got 2 wooden ladders from a pet store, screwed them to the tray, screwed 2 sticks of natural wood to the top like perches, and there you go. Of course we used stainless steel screws/washers (not zinc or galvanized, since it's poisonous). And for natural wood we used de-barked willow. Took about 15 minutes to make. It's actually inspired by a similar play stand we made for the budgies (see 2nd picture, with the 2 ladders sideways on top).

He loves it! He climbs around on it, he hangs from it with one foot while grooming himself, he picks at the wood a bit, but mostly he just realizes he can be himself there. Actually, he's not just playful there, he can have any type of mood up there. Sitting quietly, observing everything we do or singing along with Youtubes that we play for him. Then of course sometimes he throws in some drama when he's grabbing hold, flapping his wings as if he wants to take off with the whole thing and growling.

Playing seems to come in two flavors for Vinny. Either he's in the aggressive 'attack the toy' mode, or he's just rolling any type of toy around in his beak, trying to take it apart. We asked the family in the USA send over a bunch of discarded baby toys and selected a bunch that were bird-safe. There's a few that he really really loves, including the yellow-green-orange (his 'fav' colors!) monkey-ring-thingy. He'll be happy just laying on his back, and picking at it.

Then there's the aggressive playing as well, where I think he's pretending it to be some sort of enemy. This is where we're on guard because we've had a few occasions where we thought it would be fun to join the 'fight' playfully but discovered that that's probably why our hands now look pretty banged up lately.

Another example of how to keep a parrot entertained for quite a while:
Go to your local hardware or DIY store, get a few yards of plastic chain, hang it from the ceiling or make a swing out of it (just use tie-wraps to put it together). And there you go!

We'll be making a lot more toys for Vinny and we'll definitely keep you informed! Just remember: 'Playful' is one of the better moods for any parrot to be in, and making toys or designated places to play is just so easy.

Till next time!