how to build a bird play stand

Truer words had never been spoken, and they were spoken to me by the sales associate of my local pet store, ringing up my 3rd $200+ purchase of bird toys that month. The particular statement was made when I asked him how expensive some of the larger java wood tree stands in the store were.

(Oh, and forget those store bought toys! Get your All-Natural, Non-toxic Parrot Toys by monthly subscription and SAVE!)

You see, I had already done my research online about large tree stands but had a sliver of hope that maybe in the stores they would be cheaper…That hope was soon shot down. Alas, it seemed if I wanted a nice large stand for my two blue and gold macaws, it was going to be costing me almost as much as a mortgage payment.

Now, when I say tree stand, I’m not talking a few small branches here and there for them to stand on. Those were running between $250-450 online and in the store (still a big chunk of change).

No, I wanted a play stand. I wanted a large area where they could climb and explore and chew on those hundreds of dollars of toys I was buying for them. I’m a bit paranoid about FDB (feather destructive behavior) and wanted something that I knew they wouldn’t get bored on, even if I had to leave one of them on it for a few hours during the day while I worked.

When I told my husband what it would cost, he laughed…and laughed…and continued laughing until I told him I was serious. I wanted one. I knew we didn’t have the money but my birds were my babies and I wanted nothing but the best for them.

When he mentioned doing one DIY, I cringed. I was terrible at DIY stuff and had no building talent whatsoever. But he was handy and had some tools and was up for the challenge, so I said ok. Best decision I ever made.

After finishing, I sanded every cut side on every board. Next, with the five foot pieces screwed together, stand them on end and start drilling into the base with one leg. Here’s where taking your time will really help to make the stand more stable, so watch out for levelness! Repeat for all 4.

Indeed, the woods we selected are softer woods. You may be thinking, “That wood is really soft! My birds would chew through that in an instant.” Yes, our birds do chew on them. However, we’ve discovered that the birds prefer to chew on the toys rather than the wood underfoot as long as we leave toys on them.

We noticed that orange citrus wood was considered safe. We knew of a grove nearby that had not been fertilized because it was on a friend’s property, and she had given us permission to remove any dead branches. Additionally, the trees’ branches tended to be distinctive and curved, making them perfect for a play stand. Additionally, we needed wood for a base, so we chose two 2x4x8 untreated pine pieces (avoid treated wood!). We set out to make this thing with our idea in mind and the woods selected.

I don’t mean to imply that they can stand on a few little branches scattered here and there when I say “tree stand.” Both in-store and online, those were priced between $250 and 450 (still a significant amount of change).

You know, even though I had already done my homework on big tree stands online, I held out hope that they might be less expensive in stores. That hope was soon shot down. Unfortunately, it appeared that purchasing a spacious stand for my two blue and gold macaws would come with expenses nearly equal to a mortgage payment.

One of those people is Vince and his fiance Jen. Vince tried to build a playstand for his parrots and was always posting pictures of his materials and progress. Since you can “do it yourself” at home for a lot less money and feel good about something you designed and built, people are drawn to the idea of doing it themselves because all the ones on the market these days are so expensive!

When your stand is all put together, you can start scattering small toys all over it to encourage a timid bird to come closer and believe that it’s a secure surface. Before placing your bird on your playstand, please make sure it is sturdy enough. It will be extremely difficult to desensitize your bird to the playstand you worked so hard to build if you are attempting to acclimate a timid bird to something new and that something breaks or moves uneasily under the weight of your bird.

Thank you so much to Vince and Jen for taking the time to take these pictures and for sharing their knowledge with the world of parrot companions! I hope this helps all of you in your endeavors to build your own playstand for your pet parrots that’s safe, enjoyable, and homemade!

To see these s full size and in high resolution check them out on our Flickr photostream.

Use incentives such as food, items your bird truly enjoys (Vince used ice cubes to entice his grey, who adores them!), affectionate petting and scratching, and more. To help everyone, be creative and share in a comment what works and doesn’t work for you!


What wood is OK for parrots?

Common bird-safe wood for perches and toys: Balsa. Poplar. Ash.