Spherical Swing

Have you noticed that parrots can’t sit? And that they rarely lie down? That means they spend most of their lives standing on their feet. Imagine then how sore and tired a parrot’s feet would get if she only had one or two plain wooden perches on which to spend her life.
In my effort to provide the best life possible for my birds, I try to offer them a wide variety of perching experiences, differing in size, texture, material and location.
Perches that move, like swings, help to keep knees, ankles & toes strong and flexible; and can help to encourage flapping behavior, which increases cardio vascular health.

Being what my friends call a “crafty person” (which is just a polite way of saying cheep ;)) I’m forever on the lookout for ways to make things myself. I’ve always wanted to make my own spherical swing, you know the kind, rope covered interlocking rings, with tons of play and exercise opportunities.  I’ve wrapped single hoola hoops, but never found a satisfactory method for connecting them to form a three dimensional sphere. And I’ve made perches and playstands with PVC pipe used for household plumbing, but this pipe is rigid and will not bend into the sphere shape I was seeking. Then one day while shopping in the electrical department of my local home improvement store, I noticed a roll of electrical conduit, made of PVC, corrugated, so unlike the plumbing PVC would not require sanding or wrapping for a grippable surface, and in ½” and ¾” sizes that were compatible with the PVC plumbing fittings. Most importantly it was Flexible! I’ve made several of these swings now, some for my birds, some for friends, and have found that they have a few advantages I hadn’t initially anticipated. They are very inexpensive to make, very light weight, but can withstand the exuberant play of a Green Wing Macaw, are easy to clean, waterproof and chew resistant.

Here are my instructions for you to make your own Spherical Swing.

Supplies:

  • Roll of ribbed PVC electrical conduit, ½” or ¾”, sold under the name Carlon Flex-Plus, Blue Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing
    6 PVC crosses, size to match conduit, from the plumbing department
    Stainless screw eye(s) 1 for hanging, optional additional screw eyes for hanging toys.
  • Your choice of hanging material, such as plastic or stainless chain.
  • Drill
  • Measuring Tape
  • PVC cutter (buy a good one, it’s worth it!)

 1. Cut PVC into 12 equal length pieces, 12 ½” for ½” tubing, 16 ½” for ¾” tubing

 2.Drill a pilot hole in the center of one of the crosses. A pilot hole is a hole that is smaller than the screw which you will be screwing into it.

 3.Screw in eye screw for hanging. If using additional eye screws for hanging toys, do those now too.

 4.Push (hard) the ends of two sections of PVC into two opposite sides of first cross. You will notice that the PVC does not go all the way into the center of the cross.

 5.Add crosses to the other ends of these two first sections of PVC, then two more sections of PVC to those crosses, then add the fourth cross to form a complete circle. Form a semi circles with a cross and two PVC sections, make two.

  6.Add one semi circle to the circle.

 7.Add the second semi circle to the opposite side of the circle to form two interlocking circles.

 8.Insert remaining PVC sections into crosses. Hang and add toys as desired.

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18 Responses to Spherical Swing

  1. Linda says:

    As a Phoenix Landing volunteer, I have attended several seminars that Laura has given and shared all her knowledge, know-how and common sense concerning nutrition, exercise, foraging and just plain fun for our feathered flock! I am so happy we no longer have to push her to create a way to share all of these wonderful ideas that really work for the better of the birds and savings for the owner. Thank you Laura!!

  2. Debbie Lee says:

    Laura,
    This is an absolutely awesome site!!! I can’t wait to try sprouting and make that new toy! I’ve been hoping you would put up a website with all your crafting and sprouting.
    Thanks again and I can’t wait to see more,
    Debbie Lee

  3. Debbie, I have an aversion to all things plastic for birds as a source of partial and complete obstructions and chronic petrochemical poisoning yet having said that it seems unlikely that birds will be able to effectively bite pieces of the sphere swing so it appears to be low risk. I suggest that a short length of doweling pre drilled be inserted into the junction box taking the supporting metal ring screw to provide added security against the swing dislodging. Dr Ross Perry

  4. This looks so neat, great job!

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  6. Dave Forsythe says:

    do you use a glue on joints

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  8. wiredweirdly says:

    This is fantastic!!! Thank you for sharing the how to!

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  13. linda allen says:

    i made this, and it was easy if you do it like the instructions say. it was quite a bit more expensive than stated, but dont know how old the instructions are either. still a great toy and way cheaper than if bought in a bird store!

  14. Pingback: Help getting used to new toy (orb) - Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community

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