How to make a bird play stand

Here is a little break from puppy news…

I recently built a fabulous play tree for my Quaker parrot Franklin and thought some of you might like to know how I did it. So here goes a brief description with pictures of course!

play tree playtreeclose

Franklin on play tree Franklin eating

Franklin playing

dead tree branch

First of all find a dead tree branch. I was lucky to find an entire section of dead tree that didn’t look moldy or buggy but was definitely dead. Cut a portion large enough for your needs and roughly the shape you want.

Then wash it with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse well and let it dry in the sun.

wash drying branches


sticksThen cut short branches to fit between the larger branches so that you have a sort of ladder effect. Use non-galvanized wood screws if your bird is a chewer as galvanized products contain zinc – a very dangerous chemical for our bird friends.

Once it is dried and assembled get yourself a cheap plastic planter (I got mine at Lowes for 12 bucks) and a lid to one of those plastic tubs. Cut a hole in the tub big enough to fit your tree truck into. My cut hole was perfect until I tried to fit my trunk into it and Ah well, nothing’s perfect. Fill the planter with quckcrete, a fast setting concrete that you can buy in small bags and mix with water. I used a 40 pound bag for my roughly 18 inch by 18 inch planter. I mixed the concrete right in the planter and then when ready, put the lid on and stuck the assembled tree into it. I supported it with a variety of things until it set up a bit then moved it to the garage for a 48 hour period to really harden up. The idea is that the lid will act as a “seed and other thing” catcher. it is working pretty well too by the way!

base lid
mix holes


Once dried move it into place and hang toys and things on it. It has worked wonders for Franklin’s “environmental enrichment program!” He is beginning to play with his toys and ACKing less (in my opinion). I also discovered a great idea on line about helping to meet your bird’s foraging needs…I devised my own cheap system of drilling holes into plastic bottle lids (tops to gallon milk jugs that sort of thing). I drill two holes into the side and strung with twine and tied them to various branches of the tree. Then I put the only seeds he gets anymore into those little “cups”. Not only does it get Franklin “foraging” but it also gets him climbing around his tree more. Before he’d only climb to the top and stay there. Now, every now and then he remembers that I put seeds into those cups and I’ll see him climbing around looking into them. It is great to see him using his body and his brain more…I am very happy with this whole set up!

Good luck making your own contraptions…I should say that this entire project cost me under 20 dollars! Not bad.

June 7, 2009 • Tags: , , • Posted in: bird

10 Responses to “How to make a bird play stand”

  1. Jackson - December 22nd, 2009

    Hey i like the idea im thinking about trying for my sun conure but im just wurried about mites and things but i know that u bleached and washed the wood but how long have you had it have u notice alot of scratching from ur bird since u made this

  2. Kristin - December 22nd, 2009

    Hey Jackson,
    I have found no problems with using branches from the wild. No mites could have survived 10 minutes of soaking with bleach water. I’ve had Frank Frank’s up for about 5 months now and they are holding up well. I clean them once a month with warm, soapy water (where he poops on them) and they are good as new. Haven’t seen any scratching, except for his recent molt…he’s got a neckful of pin feathers! Poor guy. I’ve also made a number of desk-sized ones, and have them around the house where I hang out (by the computer, by the kitchen sink, by the fire place). Made them the same way, just used a smaller container. Have fun, it is such an easy and useful thing to do.

  3. Making a Playgym - Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community - July 21st, 2010

    […] Here are some links to pictures and ideas. How to make a bird play stand | Create A Secure Playstand For Your Bird __________________ My Feathered Friends! Toulouse, […]

  4. Zoe - August 22nd, 2011

    Great job! I was wondering what kind of tree you used. All the trees around my property are bendy and curved. Yours look very strait and that’s what I’m looking for!

  5. Kristin - August 23rd, 2011

    Zoe, I’m not sure what kind of tree branches I used! They were dead so it was harder to identify them. I’d suggest just looking around until you find something you like – go walking in the woods and look for downed trees. Bring a good sharp pair of pruning shears and you’re set! Also, think creatively – you can always lash a few branches together to make a “trunk” sturdy enough to support “branches” that you then attach with screws. I’m not sure what would be wrong with bendy branches – might look kinda cool!

  6. BY - February 3rd, 2012


  7. admin - February 5th, 2012

    Any tree branch that is a hard wood, free of pests and not sprayed with anything toxic will do. If you’ve got a parrot that is a big shredder you may want to do a bit more research to make sure your particular choice isn’t inherently toxic. As for toys – use any toys designed for birds or babies! They are both made with non toxic paint and are durable enough. I’ve found that using old stray bunched up with butcher string with a few beads strung on makes for a great toy. I’ve also hung pine cones with great effect. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!!

  8. Leanne - August 7th, 2012

    Can you tell me what sort of vine you have growing next to the tree?

  9. MrsFish - May 7th, 2013

    This is exactly the vision I had in my mind. Now, I have a photo to show my husband 🙂
    We have a total of four birds. Senegal, Lilac Crested Amazon, Yellow Crested Cockatoo and a Blue & Gold Macaw. All, except the Lilac like “tree” things. All but the Senegal are adopted. Actually the Too & Macaw were allowed to roost in REAL trees with their former family. I’m too worried about other critters, so we make tree-like toys for them.

  10. Patty - July 8th, 2016

    Finally a bird stand that I can relate to and actually hopefully build! I love everything about it you’ve done an awesome job!! Thanks patty

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