Do Birds Want Colorful Toys? At What Cost?

Yesterday we went to a bird show (how exciting, my first one!) and bought some toys.

Brought them home and put the colorful wood blocks into a clear container, filled it with water and let the wood soak. That’s what the photo is, all the color that comes off the toys.

Unfortunately, just because someone makes a bird toy, doesn’t mean they worry about what they use to make it.

Even if FD&C (Federal Drug Admin approved Food and Drug approved colorants) colors are used,


Not for me, not for my flock.

Like so many of you, I like to make the best, healthiest choices I can for my fids. For me, coloring the inside of my body or my fids – no. I don’t think so.

I don’t like to buy colored food for them either…

Do I think the colorant is going to kill my fids? No, I don’t. Then again, I also don’t know that it won’t cause problems. Bodies weren’t made to be colored on the inside, so can this really be innocuous?

The truth is that we had a company, once upon a time, and worked with food coloring. So, I learned some about it and I avoid it. Colorful, decorated sugar cookies? Sure, since we don’t eat them all the time every day. Even natural food coloring, like tumeric or beet juice, can be fine, but some people have bad reactions to the concentrated color.

And, they are already such beautiful, colorful creatures. Why add artificial anything?

Are Colors Safe When Not Ingested?

I think this is a great question- if a toy is played with and broken-down, but not eaten, then does the color still get into their system?

Unfortunately, the answer is still “Yes.” This is why their cages cannot be made with zinc or other toxic metals. Even though they don’t eat their cages, as they use their beak to grab on as they move around, they do ingest at least some of what their tongue touches. Just like us. So, whether it is colorful food or toys, the long-term affects haven’t been studied – that I know of. Anything within a body system (a bird or ours) has to be ‘dealt’ with by the body.

A Bird’s Life Without Color

I’m not saying that! I find that parrots bring plenty of color forward in life all on their own, but everything in moderation. Maybe choose toys that are natural colors. Offer your parrot a hibiscus flour – isn’t that cool? They can eat them! Offer them colorful veggies and some fruit.

I’ve never heard of death by color, but healthy by wisdom just seems prudent. These exotic birds are expensive and they are meant to live a long time, often as long as you and me – which means that long-term choices for health and well-being may be good all around!