See Profits Fly High
BY KEITH LORIA
Bird toy sales are being driven by the introduction of new materials and a demand for boredom-bust- ing options that allow pets to forage, while the treat category is catering to ever-more discerning bird owners, according to pet specialty retailers and manufacturers.
“Many toys are designed for foraging,” said Mary Wyld, owner of Wyld’s Wingdom in Norfolk, Va.
“Treats and foods are hidden in the toys by the owner and the bird
has to hunt for its sustenance. They’re great for keeping the bird
busy to avoid boredom and feather plucking. No one needs a totally
Sales of foraging toys are strong, said Donna Garrou, owner of
birdStuff in Orange, Calif., noting that the trend is unlikely to reverse
now that more owners understand how essential foraging is to birds
and how much they love to do it.
“Fortunately, manufacturers keep looking for unique materials,
such as teak pods and tapioca stalks, which are natural and have the
‘crunch’ and texture that birds love to destroy,” she said.
Dena Tucker, owner of Greenfeather Bird Supply in West Hartford, Conn., said toys that are made in the USA and have eco-friendly parts are trending.
Kathie Hahn, manager of My Safe Bird Store in Burlington, N.J.,
said that toy parts have flooded the bird marketplace.
“Many families have multiple birds, and not all of them like the
same things,” she said. “Making your own toys is not only econom-
ical, especially with birds who love to destroy, but fun as well.”
The toy-making trend has also resulted in a number of toy-mak-
ing groups on Facebook, where members proudly share their mas-
terpieces. The most popular toy parts that My Safe Bird Store sells
are natural toy parts, seagrass mats and birdie bagels, Hahn said.
“I also find that folks are more attracted to toys made here in the
USA as opposed to those manufactured overseas,” Hahn said.
Tim Norsen, national sales manager for Vitakraft Sun Seed in Bowling Green, Ohio, said sales of bird treats closely follow which species
are most commonly available or popular.
“Right now, conures are plentiful in the market, so treat sales
have followed suit,” he said. “While staple products like millet spray
remain essential, these consumers are trending to blended treats
such as our Fabulous and Fantasy fruit mixes.”
Hahn noted that due to the availability of information on so-
cial media, today’s bird owner is more educated about feeding
wholesome treats rather than the “junk” treats that were fed to
birds for many years.
“Nowadays, the avian caretakers are more focused on healthier
treats such as bird bread and unsalted nuts,” she said.
“Many families have multiple birds,
and not all of them like the same things.
Making your own toys is not only
economical, especially with birds who
love to destroy, but fun as well.”
—Kathie Hahn of My Safe Bird Store
Stocking up on bird treats and toys that appeal to today’s bird
owners can do wonders for sales.
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