Not only do I love my birds, I love to make crafts at home. Needless to say, I'm hardly ever happier than I am when I can combine two of the things I love the most into one -- and this fun and easy project does just that! Using the steps outlined below, you can create a fun and safe ladder for your bird to climb and exercise on out of cardboard. It costs practically nothing, it's disposable (no worries about harboring bacteria!), and it's a great way to recycle cardboard that you might otherwise throw away. Give it a try, your bird will love it!
Select your materials.
Making cardboard bird toys can be a fun and easy way to provide entertainment for your bird, but it's important to choose the proper materials in order to keep things safe for your feathered friend. When selecting a piece of cardboard to use for your bird's ladder, try to use a piece that has no printed images or text on it. The dyes used in the printing process can be toxic to birds if ingested. Another good idea is to choose cardboard that is free of any glues or adhesives. Some types of glues contain zinc, which can also pose a hazard to your pet.
Measure your parts.
Make your ladder bigger or smaller depending on your bird's species and size. Small and medium sized birds can have a ton of fun on a ladder that's only a foot tall, while larger birds will appreciate a taller ladder so that they can climb and exercise properly. Using a pencil, make light marks on the cardboard to create two long rectangles of equal length and width. These will serve as the sides of the ladder that will support the "steps." Once you have them drawn out, lightly mark off four more shorter rectangles of equal size. These will serve as the "rungs" or "steps" of the ladder.
Cut your pieces.
Using scissors, carefully cut out all of the rectangle shapes that you drew on the cardboard. Once you have the pieces separated, use the eraser on your pencil to remove any marks that may remain on the pieces, to avoid any risk of exposing your bird to the graphite in the pencil marks. After this step, if you so choose, you can use human-grade food coloring to safely dye the cardboard different colors. Doing so may make the ladder more attractive and appealing to your feathered friend. If you do choose to color your ladder pieces, make sure that they are completely dry before moving on to the next step.
Create the fittings.
Take the two longer pieces and place one on top of the other. Using your scissors (and a ruler, if necessary), make four small, equally spaced cuts into the long cardboard pieces. Similarly, make two small cuts on each end of the four smaller pieces. These cuts should not go past the center of the pieces, in order to maintain the cardboard's stability. If your cuts aren't perfect, don't worry -- as with any bird toy, the ladder won't last forever, and will likely be destroyed by your bird eventually anyway. (You can try for more exact cuts when you make your bird a new ladder!)
Fit the pieces together.
Placing the two longer cardboard strips parallel to each other, carefully take one of the shorter "rungs" and fit the slits on the ends into the cuts you made in the long pieces. This will hold the rungs in place without the use of any dangerous adhesives, and will help make the ladder more stable and durable. Do this for all 4 of the shorter pieces that you created. Once you've fit the last piece into place, the only thing left to do is place the ladder inside of your bird's cage and let the games begin! Be sure to supervise your bird's play with the ladder, as with any toy, to ensure your pet's safety.