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How to make things at ¨zero¨ cost?

Zara

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I thought it would be a cool idea for us to have a thread where we can all post tips, ideas, inspiration and tutorials on how to make things for our birds (toys, foraging activities, accessories) at basically ¨zero¨ cost. Things like little DIY foragers, reusing broken toys, using items found at home, recycling things. Stuff that can be created without purchasing additional things or parts, maybe even using leftovers or offcuts from school/college/hobby projects, or things we would otherwise recycle/throwaway.

This could be especially helpful for the teens on the forum who don´t have access to money to buy toys, people in other foreign countries with limited access to toys/accessories, as well as those who fall on hard times financially or are waiting for a paycheck, and more.
I buy most of my toys, toy parts and accessories online, so sometimes while I´m waiting for stuff to turn up, I need to make foraging activites with what I already have.

Hopefully together we can create a thread packed full of creations and ideas.


edit; This thread is now a sticky in
DIY Drive (Subforum of Toys & Cages Bypass)
 
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Zara

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Flower Forager;

stepl.jpg
You can add a foraging aspect to the toy by inserting treats into the egg carton pieces.

You will need;
-egg carton (7 egg holders)
-14 cupcake liners
-hemp/sisal twine or wire or a food skewer
-clip (if you don´t have a clip, you can tie the top directly onto the cage bars)

Tools;
-scissors
-a poker
-possibly tweezers to help thread
step4.jpg


Instructions;

Cut the egg carton into individual egg holders, keep 7, save the rest for another day/toy. Flatten the cupcake liners, pair them up and put the plain sides (the insides) together;
step6.jpg
Poke holes in the middle of the liners and the egg holders.

Tie the top knot. If you are going to use a pear link, you can make a little loop then thread it onto the clip. If you are using a lobster clip, tie the twine right onto the clip;
step7.jpg step8.jpg

Thread the toy together starting from the top to the bottom. Thread one pair of cupcake liners, then one egg holder, then one pair of cupcake liners, then one egg holder until you thread the last egg holder.

Tie the knot after the last egg holder;
step9.jpg

Here is one I made for my BIL, I ran out of pcupcake liners and used colourful paper instead,
Screenshot_20210905_184058.jpg

If you have some beads or other things you want to include, here is the full tutorial - link
 

Zara

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Boxes

This is the easiest toy! It almost not even a toy, but my birds have such fun with these (careful with those nesty hens though!)

Screenshot_20210905_162855_com.google.android.apps.photos.jpg

This is an Easter egg box (food grade packaging) , there was no plastic, and it has a window cut out on the front. I always rip off any areas with glue or tape etc before giving them to the birds. You can also use large cereal boxes but be sure to cut lots of large windows out of it so the bird doesn´t get trapped inside, or think it´s a nest.
They can have fun running around, biting, shredding, pooping on, and completely abliterating these boxes.
 

Zara

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Foraging pillow

Made with a cardboard tube and paper.
You can use any cardboard tubes you have, kitchen roll, wrapping paper etc. I have used a loo roll tube (from a roll I keep only in my living room to clean after the birds).

Fold half of one end of the tube inwards,
IMG_20210905_163459.jpg

Fold the other half in too. This will close one end of the tube,
IMG_20210905_163521.jpg

Stuff it with anything you have, you can make paper "worms" but finely cutting A4 paper (once cut, screw them up then roughly unscrew them for a better fluffy effect) ,
IMG_20210905_163557.jpg

Add in some treats. Maybe a couple of sunflower seeds, pellets, sesame seeds, millet, or even a pinch of regular seed mix.

Repeat the folding on the top end to close the tube forming a pillow,
IMG_20210905_163626.jpg
 

Wardy

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Simple paper straws cut a load of them up stuff some with a treat i use sunflower seeds, dont stuff them all thats to easy.
Throw them into a unused food bowl or scatter over the floor of the cage give one to your bird with a treat in and they will spend a good bit of time Hunting for more seeds from a pile of straws.

20210729_155410.jpg
 

Wardy

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One of my guilty pleasures Angel Delight :nocomment:

Stuffed with paper and a piece of millet piece of cardboard on top so things arent to easy. 20210814_172533.jpg

Something similar with food grade containers from a takeaway.

20210725_122031.jpg 20210725_123823.jpg

I have now had to make this harder by adding wooden beads now that my conure has learnt to pull all of the paper out in one go.
Just keep your eye on the plastic in case your bird breaks it and there is a sharp edge that could hurt them.
 

Clueless

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Also make sure the cupcake liners are JUST PAPER. I've seen some here in the US that were not. Safety for the feathered dudes is vital.
 

Leih

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Simple paper straws cut a load of them up stuff some with a treat i use sunflower seeds, dont stuff them all thats to easy.
Throw them into a unused food bowl or scatter over the floor of the cage give one to your bird with a treat in and they will spend a good bit of time Hunting for more seeds from a pile of straws.

View attachment 392378
You can get these at Starbucks just sitting with their napkins
 

Wardy

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Tuperware box with anything you have spare, half chewed lolly sticks finger traps ( trim them so the look smaller but new. Wood beads,blocks,slices from old toys.
Loads of paper i add a couple of nutriberrys few bits of millet.

20210816_205622.jpg 20210810_205045.jpg
 

Zara

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Crinkle paper

A little time consuming, but not excessively. Here is a DIY for making crinkle paper to stuff toys and forager with.

Need,
Paper
Scissors

Method,

Roll up the piece of paper. If it is an A4 sheet of paper roll it landscape,
IMG_20210905_194648.jpg

Press down to flatten the tube,
Then fold in half,
IMG_20210905_194715.jpg

Then cut it like scallions, about 3-5mm thick (it's up to you, but if you're making this for a larger bird definitely cut thicker)
IMG_20210905_194920.jpg

Then open each thread. I found that holding one end and shaking it opened it up quite nicely,
IMG_20210905_195642.jpg

Then for a better finish, give it a frooosh, (scrunch the paper in itself),
IMG_20210905_200426.jpg

Here another pillow forager, this time with the DIY crinkle paper, with a bit sticking out to pique interest ;) ,
IMG_20210905_201529.jpg
 

Zara

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Here´s one I have posted prev. but will post it here as it´s another that costs (almost) nothing.

Wall-mounted Flower Forager;


Need;
-a piece of cardboard cut into two squares
-2 tie straps
-approx. 20 paper cupcake liners

Tools:
scissors and a poker (eg. a small screwdriver or metal wire)

IMG_20190831_110423.jpg

*if you can't get tie straps then a natural untreated twine (hemp or sisal) will work the same, knotting the ends

Method,

-Poke a hole in the smaller cardboard square and thread onto the zip tie.
-get two cupcake liners, flatten them (plain sides in together) and then cut lines in the outside to make it look like a flower.
IMG_20190831_110617.jpg
-thread it onto the tie strap, repeat until you have reached a nice size.
IMG_20190831_111154.jpg (I don't make them to big for higiene reasons)
-poke a hole in the centre of the other cardboard piece.
-put the flower inside or outside the cage, thread the cardboard on the opposite side, then put the other zip tie on and tighten it until the flower doesn't move around. Cut the excess plastic off.
IMG_20190831_114230.jpg

Simple as that :)

Additional
-you could dye the cardboard or colour it using non toxic colouring or food dye
-You can use beads instead of cardboard which is what I usually do but I have ran out of larger zip ties and so I'm using our business ones :lol: You could also use small wooden beads.
-you can add in a piece of seagrass between the cupcake layers
-you could poke treats inside
-you can swap paper cupcake liners for paper cups (non waxy)
-if there's no cupcake liners or paper cups in your country you can use coloured paper and cut flower shapes out or use dried bird safe leaves.


-you can make a few and store them by threading the back parts onto the flower and closing the zip tie but only a little so that you are able to cut it off to use it and release the cardboard and zip tie closing part.
IMG_20190831_105606.jpg IMG_20190831_105549.jpg IMG_20190831_105557.jpg


Some pics of the flowers in the cages,

IMG_20190831_111819.jpg IMG_20190831_111406.jpg

edit, Sorry for alternating between zip tie and tie strap - Tomayto tomahto ;)

A video of the flowers being enjoyed,
 
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Toy

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Junk mail. It's all free. Instead of tossing it out & paying to have it hauled away up-cycle it into shreddable stuff for your birds. My birds love to rip up envelopes from junk mail. I just hand it to them. For small birds you can poke a hole in it & string several pieces together. Junk catalogs. We cut them in half crosswise & hang over a perch or wind thru the cage bars.

Medium to larger birds....put a few nuts or beads inside an empty water bottle. Screw the cap back on & let them toss it around.

Parts of toys that end up on the cage bottom can be restrung using sisal rope or chain.
 

Birdie Mama

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i use old prescription bottles, washed out, throw in some beads, put the cap back and it’s his to push around, fight to pick up or throw around if he does manage to grab it. Penny rollers in place of finger traps, i get cardboard straws at the dollar store, 1.00 for 10, crinkle paper, little Dixie drinking cups, and my big jar of buttons to use as bases or tie off the ends of toys so the rope doesn’t slide through the paper etc…
 

Leih

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i use old prescription bottles, washed out, throw in some beads, put the cap back and it’s his to push around, fight to pick up or throw around if he does manage to grab it. Penny rollers in place of finger traps, i get cardboard straws at the dollar store, 1.00 for 10, crinkle paper, little Dixie drinking cups, and my big jar of buttons to use as bases or tie off the ends of toys so the rope doesn’t slide through the paper etc…
I've been thinking about doing that. My conure likes to attack small bottles, so they'd be a great rattle toy!
 

Zara

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i use old prescription bottles, washed out, throw in some beads, put the cap back and it’s his to push around, fight to pick up or throw around if he does manage to grab it.
I've been thinking about doing that. My conure likes to attack small bottles, so they'd be a great rattle toy!
I have used children's kinder egg plastic containers, the thing the toy comes inside of (washed obviously) . I read they (kinder eggs) are illegal in the USA, I don't really know about that, but if you have anything similar...
IMG_20210906_000117.jpg they are usually yellow/beige and are safe because they come touching the chocolate inside the egg.

I have put beads inside before so they rattle. My birds have never been able to open them. A larger bird that could open it, you could put a treat inside.
 

Leih

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I have an autoship order every two weeks for my cat food with Chewy, and they always use cardboard packing and brown kraft paper which I repurpose into toys. I just cut it up and string it. My lovebird loves to shred this stuff. Some of these items I purchased, but they are also packing materials.
 

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AussieBird

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Don’t have pictures, but materials
cupcake liners
Millet (or your bird’s preferred treat)
A bit of safe string or something, I use a short strand of seagreass (this is optional though)

Place millet in center of liner and lift and close the edges over it so you have a little bag. Due to a muffin head issue I now tie it shut with a strand of sea grass. If your birds not used to it or not a huge shredder put a hole in the bottom to start them off.
 

AussieBird

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Don’t have pictures, but materials
cupcake liners
Millet (or your bird’s preferred treat)
A bit of safe string or something, I use a short strand of seagreass (this is optional though)

Place millet in center of liner and lift and close the edges over it so you have a little bag. Due to a muffin head issue I now tie it shut with a strand of sea grass. If your birds not used to it or not a huge shredder put a hole in the bottom to start them off.
Actually found some pictures and I also remember adding extra things inside like beads, bits of sea grass, paper strips, etc.
055256CC-A060-4D09-A5ED-D22BC114424B.jpeg
3CEB621D-FCD0-4DA9-A5BE-C462B7538D2C.jpeg
 
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