We recently decided that it was time to build the Three-Cans an outdoor play gym. I was inspired by photos of companion parrots entertaining themselves on intricate java trees, which simply looked way too fun to have the toucans do without. Currently, when the Three-Cans come outside, we have a couple of perches that we attached to some palm trees in our garden and they also enjoy playing on the rail in front of their aviaries. But we also desired for them to have more of a protected space where they could play outdoors without being so exposed to the elements and whatever wandering tourists that may come near.
We chose the space for their play gym location because:
– It is near their aviaries, so if one toucan is outside playing, they can still be near their flock mates. This seems to be important to them, which is one of the reasons I suspect that they enjoy playing on the rail in front of their aviaries so much.
– Two sides of the square space are walls of a building, which will allow them to feel sheltered and not open on all sides
– The space is pretty much a “dead” space for us anyway, due to its awkward size and hard ground which doesn’t allow many plants to thrive there
– The space is also conducive for continuing the rail which lines the front of their enclosures, making it a definitive separation to keep the tourists from directly approaching the birds
Meet Crockett, our RastaMon Master Craftsman who built the gym:
We decided to design the play gym with a small roof, to provide the birds shade from the sun, as well as provide a barrier to keep them from going up onto the roof of the adjacent building.
We stabilized two main posts in concrete to support the roof. Then we attached perches from our almond tree and manila rope, which we had shipped in, for added texture and swings.
So far, Paco has been the only one out to explore the new set-up, as Paz and Pepe currently do not like coming outside. But I am hoping that the more they watch Paco having fun on the new gym, the more they will be inspired to want to come and check it out for themselves. His first time out on it, Paco enjoyed flying between the rail and play gym, to alternate between sunning himself and cooling down in the shade. He is still slightly suspicious of the rope, but we plan to put some in their aviaries as well, which will allow him to learn to love it up close and personal in the comfort of his own home.
You can see that the gym is still pretty basic. We plan to add some trees around the back and corner for ambiance, as well as create more toy and foraging options to keep the birds interested. We hope that this new gym will be a consistent area that they can enjoy for many months to come.