Bead toys are very popular with birds, but it can get really expensive buying a new one every day or two as they are destroyed. They are really very easy to make for yourself and I’m going to show you how to do it.
First we’ll assemble our supplies. I used a 3 inch piece of apple tree wood and drilled 4 holes through it. You can use any type of "safe wood". Also you will need a mop head & for this project just 4 strings from that mop head. The top of a mop head is stitched across, so to get your 4 strands just remove some of the stitching & pull the full strands out. The only other things you will need are the beads. I used a mixture of pony beads and some assorted beads with a similar sized hole.
Thread one mop string through each hole in the piece of wood. By pulling it through to the middle of the strand, that would now give you 8 strings. Then divide each mop strand in ½ by unravelling it, which would give you 16 strands. Put a bit of tape at the ends so they don’t unravel any more and to make it easier to go through the beads.
It is possible that you find that by dividing the mop strands in 1/2 that they break too easily. The other alternative is to leave them as they are. They will be more difficult to push through the beads, but it is possible and you will find that the strands do not break as easily. If you decide not to divide the strands, you will have to drill more holes in the wood to make your toy as full as this one is.
Take your first bead and put it onto a mop strand – right up to the piece of wood and tie a knot. Repeat (again & again).
When the first strand is finished, you will see how much shorter it is due to all the knots. Each strand will shorten the same as you do it. After finishing one strand, go right on to the next one.
Jewel decides that she likes one of those beads too much to let it go onto the strand & a short break is taken while she removes it.
Now, it’s just a matter of continuing on until each strand is full of beads. I was making this toy for cockatiels, so I then just screwed a little eyelet into the top & fastened it to the cage with a twist tie. Actually the twist tie is probably only appropriate for finches, but the cockatiels that I gave this toy to do not really know how to play with toys yet because they came here as adults. Once they start playing with it, I will have to change the twist tie to a cable tie or a quick link.
I could have done some colour coordinating & had this looking fancier, but I just picked any bead & put them on in any order. Since I was making this while at a bird club display, there were times when children would pick out the next bead for me too.
Good luck in making one or more of these simple toys for your birds.
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After many years of pet bird ownership, I have decided to write e-books about the care of some of these wonderful birds.