If your cockatiel is anything like mine he loves to chew on anything he can get his sharp little beak on. He demolishes his toys, and everything; else including furniture, blinds, window panes, and walls. Buying and re-buying toys for a bird like this can get quite pricey but he loves these recycled puzzle toys I make him and at $.25 for a 1000 piece puzzle at most any yard sale its no problem at all, plus its simple as stringing popcorn for the tree.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
Whether your puzzle is coming from the dusty corner of your closet or a yard sale just be sure use one that no one is emotionally attached to.
You will also need string of one sort or another. I do not recommend thread as it is thin and snaps easy plus poses a tangling/strangling risk, you need something pretty sturdy and able to handle the abuse. I used the nylon string used to outline an area for fencing, I have also used fly fishing string.
A drill gun and bit is a must. Before I had these I made my toys by twisting a knife into each individual piece; not worth it!! I cannot give a size as I don't know what type of string you will use but I guarantee it will be pretty standard.
If you are not too keen on getting holes drilled into your work surface then I recommend you rest each piece on a couple layers of cardboard or on a trashy romance novel.
Don't forget something to cut your string with.
Step 2: Start Drilling
Ok, from here it is pretty simple. Drill a hole into the larger portion of each puzzle piece and run the string through the hole until you have created a nice thick rope of desired length. This of course depends on the size of your bird and his habitat. Also you might want to add other things to the train to make it more visually appealing or more enjoyable for your bird. In the past I have added crackers and cereal but he destroys them so fast when presented this way that it is much more economical for me to simply give him a couple treats by hand daily, however I have owned other cockatiels that would have enjoyed them at a much slower and reasonable pace. Also I have added things that cannot be destroyed like beads and a mason jar band. This is YOUR project so do it your way, have fun, just be careful not to use anything that might prove to be harmful to your bird.
Step 3: Hang It Up
Normally I make mine rather long and hang it on a ceiling hook over his living quarters that way I can just push the train down over the weeks he spends happily destroying it. The string I use is so sturdy I can use and reuse it and puzzles are always cheap and easy to come across at yard sales so he is always entertained. He never seems to get tired of this toy no matter how elaborate or simple I make it which is great because when he is happy and busy he is significantly quieter and doesn't fly off to find other things to destroy. Have fun!