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Is it OK for Parrots to Chew on Wood?

If you’re a parrot owner, you may have observed your feathered companion’s natural instinct to chew on anything in sight — including wood. But is it safe for parrots to indulge in this behavior? The question of whether it is okay for parrots to chew on wood is one that concerns many bird enthusiasts and pet owners.

In this article, we will explore the topic, looking at the potential benefits and risks associated with this behavior. By understanding the implications, you’ll be better equipped to provide your parrot with a safe and enriching environment.

Is it OK for Parrots to Chew on Wood?

Parrot chewing on wood
Parrot chewing on wood | image by Balaji Dutt M V via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Yes, it is generally safe and even beneficial for parrots to chew on wood. Chewing on wood helps to keep your bird’s beak healthy and strong, provides mental stimulation, satisfies their natural instinct to explore and forage, and is something they do in the wild. However, ensuring the wood is safe, untreated, and free from any toxic substances or coatings that could harm your parrot is crucial.

The Benefits of Wood Chewing for Parrots

Chewing on wood offers several benefits for parrots. First, it helps maintain their beak health by providing a natural way to wear down their continuously growing beaks. If their beak is not kept trimmed, your bird’s overgrowth could cause problems with grooming and eating.

Wood chewing also offers mental stimulation, keeping parrots engaged and preventing boredom. Parrots have an instinctive need to explore, forage, and manipulate objects. Chewing on wood helps satisfy those needs.

Plus, wood chewing is a great way to exercise their beak and jaw muscles, promoting their overall physical well-being. By offering suitable wood for chewing, parrots can engage in a natural behavior contributing to their enrichment, health, and overall happiness.

What Wood is Safe for Parrots to Chew?

Parrot chewing
Parrot chewing | image by The_Gut via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

When selecting wood for parrots, it is crucial to choose safe and non-toxic options. Hardwood branches from fruit trees such as apple, pear, and citrus trees are generally safe choices. Avoid woods that are toxic to birds, such as cedar, pine, or treated wood.

It’s important to ensure the wood is free from pesticides, chemicals, and any harmful coatings or finishes. Additionally, make sure the wood is of an appropriate size, free from sharp edges or splinters, and securely fastened to avoid any potential hazards.

You can buy wood chew toys for birds online, if you want to look outside toys like this then below are some more examples of wood that is safe for birds to chew and often used in toys. 

  • Birch
  • Beech
  • Ash
  • Poplar
  • Elm
  • Maple
  • Manzanita
  • Java
  • Magnolia
  • Ribbonwood

Potential Risks and Precautions of Wood Chewing

While wood chewing is generally safe for parrots, there are some potential risks to be aware of. Splintering can occur if the wood is too soft or the parrot chews aggressively. That can lead to injuries in or on the mouth or inside your parrot’s digestive tract. 

To minimize the risk of splintering:

  • Provide harder, dense woods that are less likely to break apart easily.
  • Regularly inspect the wood for any signs of damage or wear and replace it when necessary.
  • Always monitor your parrot during wood chewing sessions to ensure they are not ingesting large pieces that could cause blockages.

If you see beak damage or suspect your parrot might have eaten some wood pieces, consult your avian vet immediately for help. 

Encouraging and Managing Wood Chewing Behavior

To encourage healthy wood chewing behavior, provide a variety of safe and suitable wood toys or branches in your parrot’s environment. However, make sure your parrot has enough room to move around, and don’t overcrowd the cage.

Introduce the wood items gradually, as your feathered friend usually needs time to adjust to new things. Observe your parrot’s response to ensure they positively engage with the new item. 

If your parrot shows excessive or destructive wood-chewing behavior, it may be a sign of stress or lack of stimulation. Parrots can also tell you about their displeasure with new stimuli by vocalization, so take note and be sure to move at their pace. When you sense a problem, address any underlying issues and offer alternative outlets for their energy and beak exercise, like foraging toys or puzzle feeders.

Alternatives to Wood Chewing for Parrot Enrichment

Parrot chewing a string
Parrot chewing a string | image by Peter Békési via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

While wood chewing is a natural behavior for parrots, it’s also important to provide a variety of other enrichment activities. Rotate and introduce new toys regularly to keep their environment engaging and stimulating.

Give your avian friend a range of textures, materials, and puzzle toys to encourage exploration and mental engagement. Parrots are intelligent creatures who need a variety of psychological and physical stimuli.

Giving them a range of foraging opportunities, social interactions, and regular out-of-cage time can also help redirect your parrot’s energy and provide a well-rounded experience that ultimately leads to a happier pet. Remember that each parrot is unique, so observe their preferences and adjust the enrichment activities accordingly to keep them mentally and physically satisfied.


If you want to offer a type of wood to your parrot that is not on the safe list, check with your avian vet first to ensure your parrot’s safety. While you want to provide your featured friend with a variety of toys, keep in mind they will chew on any wood you supply, and you want to make sure it’s safe for them to do so.

The fact is, it’s generally safe and beneficial for parrots to chew on wood. Wood chewing helps maintain their beak health, provides mental stimulation, satisfies their natural instincts, and promotes physical exercise.

However, it is important to select safe and non-toxic wood, monitor for potential risks, and offer a variety of enrichment activities to ensure a well-rounded environment for your parrot’s overall well-being. So, yes, it is indeed okay for parrots to chew on wood as long as you take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety and enjoyment.