I live in Florida so I’m not referring to shoveling snow, nor am I the proud owner of a herd of cows that needs occasional upkeep. I have shoveled cow manure, but that’s another story. The precipitation we get is liquid, and a LOT of it at times.

I’m referring to cleaning Parker’s cage. Please bear in mind at this point in time that Parker rarely poops in his cage, so it’s not what you think.

My friend Bill makes these toys for my little dudes out of palm and tied with hemp twine. They are all-natural and Parker has taken to them like they were made of flippin’ caviar.  It’s a really good toy. They are crunchy, and although they take some work to shred, they eventually bite the dust under Parker’s constant gnawing.

Parker is just coming back to normal after being in breeding condition for about six weeks or so. It wasn’t a bad season at all this year. I don’t know if the cold weather had anything to do with it, but he wasn’t nearly as heinously obnoxious as he usually is. On the other hand, it might have been the pacifying effects of the toy Bill and I refer to as “Ty Styx.”

He will take this toy and turn it into shreds in about an hour or so, but the beauty of it is that the toy totally and completely engages him. He is quiet and intent on turning the “Ty Styx” toy into dust and shards of palm. He can saw through up to three in a single day, but man, is he quiet while he’s working on them, save for  lot of “crunchy” noises emanating from his cage. He is totally engrossed in working on that toy. I think it fills that “gnawing and chewing” need parrots have. It is enriching in many ways; it must be satisfying in some auditory way because it makes such a loud crunch when he bites down on it. The pieces that he shears off can be individually chewed on once it is separated from the stick, and he has to manipulate it because it’s hanging from the hemp twine.

This is Nothing. You should see it when he gets though with a Big Toy!

How frustrating and maddening to have this toy and no way to share it with the rest of the world! It’s a hand made toy and I’m just not sure it could be manufactured in bulk.

When I designed my last toy, “Ring Around the Rainbow,” I gave up after about two years of trying on and off just to get someone to just manufacture the shoelaces for the toy. It made me crazy. On top of that, I have no skills in manufacturing, distribution, sales and business in general. The only thing I could do was haul it to someone already in business and have them make it. I wanted to see my “Rainbow” toy made for birds because I felt it was important enough that our birds should have it, no matter who made it.

I took the “Ty Stix” toy over to Rick Horvitz at the “Golden Cockatoo,” a nice bird store in Deerfield Beach and tried it on a few of his birds: Some Cape Parrots, some Macaws, and a Grey. They loved it!

My friend, Christina Girodano tried the “Ty” on her Cockatoo and Macaws with the same result; they loved it. Sometimes it takes time for some parrots to get the idea of what to do with the toy. But once they do, there’s no going back.

Now if I could just figure out the “business end” of it, I might be on to something. In the meantime, I’ll simply continue giving Parker his “Ty Styx” and periodically raking out the remains from the bottom of his “room.”