We were recently interviewed for a pet magazine article with some interesting questions. We thought you’d enjoy our answers
1. Have you seen any noticeable changes in the product lines of bird foraging toys/ foraging treats in the past five years or so? Are more companies expanding into the foraging marketplace (bird companies that didn’t previously offer them)?
Yes, we have seen a larger offering of Foraging Toys on the market due to bird researchers and bird owners learning that parrots need more mental stimulation in order to prevent boredom, plucking, and self-mutilation due to long hours of being left to their own devices.
The days of a simple bell on a chain and a set of Olympic Rings are long gone.
Large birds & parrots have a larger need for more mental stimulation than small ones, but it is also been found that foraging toys geared toward littler birds like Conures and even Cockatiels are needed. Especially if these birds are in a one-bird household. They also need something to keep them active and healthy.
2. Are customers asking for certain foraging bird toys and/or foraging treats? Or are you seeing more first-time “novice” bird owners taking an interest in offering their birds foraging/enrichment opportunities; if so, what do you attribute this to?)
First-time bird owners are less likely to realize the need for these items and usually underestimate the intelligence of their new birds. A new owner will often be more concerned about the cage and 2-3 toys than realizing the birds will need 10-20 toys that include foraging toys and toys that give them something to do other than sit on their stands or in their cages.
Usually, if they ask about them, they may have done some research and learned, or had a friend with a bird that had the toys in their cage or they were informed of the need by a helpful salesperson in the store. We tend to express the need of foraging toys with weekly emails to our customers that explain the benefits of these products
3. Are you promoting treats as foraging opportunities?
The appropriate treats that fit into these toys are lagging some in following the popularity of the foraging toys. Generally, regular food pellets, small nuts, large seeds, some formulated snacks are used but there could be more products on the market to serve these needs. We carry at least 15-20 food and bird treats that can be used but we are always looking for more.
4. Do you have a specific plan for marketing products/merchandising foraging products in your store? (For example, having the in-store birds use them?)
As our store is one without live bird sales we don’t have birds in the house that we can show these items in use, but we do employ video’s and photos of birds using, enjoying them, and encouraging our customers and those on our email list to send us their own pictures, videos, and stories about how they are working to enrich their bird’s life.
6. Feel free to add anything else you think ties in with the subject of trends in bird foraging products/treats.
Since toys made for foraging is a relatively new concept, a just a few years, convincing bird owners to add these items to their bird’s environment can be a challenge, especially if they have been just providing their birds with bowls of handy food and treats and the birds have lost their instinct to look for rewards in their toys. Their owners can help this along by playing with the toys in front of the birds a few times so they start to get the idea.