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Healthy and fun alternative?

1114 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  spanglegrrl
I have a fairly young albino (possibly female) that LOVES newspaper. I first noticed that she was trying to pull up the newspaper I use as a liner to catch her poo. Then I started shredding newspaper and leaving it at the bottom of the cage so that she wasn't getting frustrated not being able to get to the liner. She took to it immediately. She loves playing with and chewing on the strips. She won't even touch the $5 wooden toys I bought her. Just yesterday I noticed that the tip of her beautiful white tail is turning gray. I'm absolutely certain that this is just the ink from the newspaper staining her feathers and I was hoping someone might have an alternative to this. Something healthy with a similar texture. She loves chewing on it, running through the newspaper, and even rolling in it. Sometimes I swear she's trying to nest cause she'll just sit there content and singing to herself. I'm worried if I switch to regular printer paper it might be too sharp and give her paper cuts, I have that same concern with construction paper. So any type of paper that's soft enough to play in and okay for her to chew on when she feels like it?

:white plet::white plet::white plet::white plet:
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Hi Chelsea :welcome:

Does your cage have a metal grate that sits above the paper? Most cages come with a grate when you buy them. Sometimes second hand cages are missing them. If you have a grate that goes with the cage, put it in. That way she can’t get to the paper. Some birds don’t need one, but this will help keep the paper away from reach.

Toy location can be an issue too. Sometimes a bird doesn’t like where the toy is, but when we change the location of it, they’ll start playing with it. Give that a try. It’s best to have several toys of different types in the cage. Maybe your little one is just bored?

You can try to encourage your bird to forage by scattering seed and small fresh produce items. You can also put the daily diet into food cups, and only scatter seed on top of the paper. Budgies love this. See if this diverts her attention away from the paper chewing obsession.

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Looking forward to hearing more :). What is your budgie’s name?
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Thanks for the info. There is a metal grating, this is why I started putting shredded paper above the grating. She was getting very frustrated and screaming to get under the grate. I didn't like the stress she was showing over the paper so I gave her small torn sheets at first but found that shredded was her favorite. She isn't obsessed with the paper. She loves climbing on top of her cage and playing with the plastic that surrounds her small mirror. She also likes to climb up into her cloth perch and hide there. She's very tamed and I leave the cage open whenever I'm home and only close it when I'm sleeping. I'm not worried about her playing with the paper, I'm worried about the discoloration in her feathers and a safe alternative that she might like to play with that won't stain her white feathers. She's not lost for toy and I have tried moving them around several times (she gets a cage remodel once a week so that she can stay stimulated, this includes putting things in different places and trying out new toys) I just haven't found a toy that she likes more than playing in the newspaper.
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Buttercup is like that. Have you tried chewable toys for budgies? If you look in your local pet store you should find them. They’re wooden and meant to be chewed.
Chelsea, thank you for giving more details. This gives us more of a clue as to what might be happening.

How old is your girl? By the way, what is her name? We recommend against the "cloth perch" if it's one of those perches with a fabric tent around it. Also the mirror is not the best budgie toy.

Mirrors are "old fashioned" budgie toys... the original idea of them was to make the budgie think they have company. When they see the reflection, it's another bird. Nowdays we know that these type of toys can stimulate hormones and lead to unwanted behaviors, even if it isn't currently happening.

Snuggle huts, tent perches, and any similar items are also not recommended. They can also stimulate hormones that eventually result in unwanted behaviors. Also, huts are regarded as dangerous items. Over time they can become chewed on or shredded (even if it's not happening now), which can trap and injure budgies by ensnaring the feet, or worse, the neck.

Perhaps your girl is feeling a bit hormonal, and is instinctively trying to get at the paper to shred. Birds of the parrot family, which includes budgies, will do this. That's not to say that every time a bird shreds objects it means they want to nest.. a non-hormonal budgie will also want to shred and chew toys. The fact that she was even trying to get under the grate to shred the paper is not normal. To clarify, it may happen every so often and would be considered normal, but from what you describe with her tenacity with trying to get at the paper, it does sound like her environment 'might' be encouraging her hormones. If left to continue, this can lead to unwanted egg laying, especially in an individual who is inclined to lay.

Your budgie can benefit from having a selection of appropriate toys of different textures and shapes. Best wishes. Please keep us posted! :)
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Hi there and :welcome: to the forums!

You've been given great advice :thumbsup:

Your girl would probably like some chewing/shredding toys. Yucca "kabobs" are a favourite, especially for girls who love to chew on things ;)

We look forward to meeting your little girl! Meanwhile, be sure to have a look around the forums' many budgie articles and "stickies" (threads "stuck" to the tops of each subforum for easy reference) to ensure you're up to date on everything! If you have any questions after doing so, feel free to ask as we'd love to help :D

Cheers :wave:
Hi! :welcome: to Talk Budgies

I use Packing Paper to line the grates in my birds' cages. It is available through Amazon and works great.
One of my lovebird's loves to shred the paper and drop it through the grate. :giggle:

"Newsprint" type Packing Paper

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A playstand I got for my birdies had a little "jail" filled with long strips of colored paper in it. Baby really loves it and i've seen toys that are rattan or similar and also have paper elements.
plain newsprint

Agree with all of the above recommendations about distracting your female with other types of toys. I do know my female birds love to chew and shred when they can. One other option about the newspaper is to buy a cheap newsprint drawing pad from the art section of a craft store. I have used from time to time especially when I had a white bird because she would get the ink on her too!:001_smile:
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