Buy or Make: IGAW’s Wacky Woody

Do you ever look at a toy somewhere and think, “Geez, I could make that for a lot cheaper?” I certainly do! Sometimes the sticker shock makes me think I might be overpaying for an item if I buy it from a vendor.

Recently I decided to take on the challenge of making a version of the I Got a Woody Bird Toys’ “Wacky Woody” , specifically the Barrel Bead version. The toys look awesome; they are full of the chippable barrel beads that my Hahn’s covets so much. I tend to be a cheapskate, and the $35 to $40 price tag made me a bit dizzy. I happened to have the materials on hand, and set out today to see what really goes into this toy.

My results:

homemadewacky

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My Seed Mix

When I brought my Quaker home over two years ago, I was annoyed that he was on an all seed diet, especially since the species is prone to fatty liver disease. While I didn’t want to completely exclude seeds from his diet, I wanted to be sure that the ones I did offer him were nutritious. It was a little shocking to me to see how little variety between commercial seed mixes were, and how sunflower and safflower laden they all were!

After comparing seed mixes, pellet mixes, and more, and using my local co-op and Nuts.com, I managed to create my own seed mix that I was quite pleased with. Now, I didn’t add a bunch of other things like flowers, herbs, dried fruit, etc, because I wanted this to be solely a seed mix that I could soak and sprout. However, back then I was unaware of the fact that flax and chia seeds are mucilaginous, meaning they gel up when they are wet. They require a different method for sprouting and will suffocate the other seeds if you attempt to do them together. My “sage advice” is that if you want to be able to sprout this mix, leave those seeds out.

seeds

 

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Skewer Fillers: Introduction

What’s a skewer filler, exactly? The first time I remember hearing about them was on Avian Avenue when a member there, saroj12, brought the idea up to the vendors there. The idea is that it’s a small part of a toy that is made to be strung up onto a stainless steel skewer. It is a safer option that eliminates things that can pose potential threats to our birds such as loose ropes or chains. It also can be a good alternative for birds that quickly undo or snip through other toys. Aside from that, it’s a fun way to make toys that are easy to make and refill! Here are some examples of skewer fillers that Crystal over at Crystal’s Bird Toys makes:

Skewer Fillers

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Forage/Foot Toy Basket

On my (admittedly long) list of things I could not imagine keeping parrots without, a good basket full of foot toys and some treats is high up. It’s so simple, so easy, so cheap, and it keeps them happy and blissfully quiet. It’s also a fantastic way to use those toy parts that have been skillfully removed from their hanging counterparts. What’s not to love?

Forage/Foot Toy Basket

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How I Dealt With a Screaming Bird

My Quaker Parrot Jingo used to be a heavy screamer. I’m not talking about chatter, whistles, squawks and the like. I mean I could easily count on a minimum of two hours of a waking day to be him non-stopping screaming. If you have never heard a quaker scream…it can be quite irritating! :eek:

Now, when this started, it was more like five hours a day, so two hours for me was a win, and it has since gone down to maybe thirty minutes a day which is just fine by me. People gave me a lot of advice like when to reward, what to reward, etc. Honestly, I found it extremely difficult and hard to really be consistent. Instead of working against the problem, I decided that it was far easier to work with him. I call it “tricking my bird to be quiet.” Aside from ear plugs if I just seriously can’t handle it anymore, here are some of the ways I’ve curbed his screaming.

Please note: ALL birds scream and you will never be able to have a 100% quiet bird. That is not my intention. The idea is to reduce the amount to a more acceptable amount. “Zero” screaming is not a goal you should entertain.

aftercolor

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Paper Cup Forager

I don’t often shop at Oriental Trading, but when they had a sale recently where you could get free shipping on any order (instead of the normal $49 minimum) I took advantage by make a $4 order for these cute paper “shot glasses”. I like them because they are short and 100% paper (no wax coating) – making them perfect for a forging toy for my smaller birds!

papercup

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