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Bird Cage Care

The larger your bird’s cage, the better. The absolute minimum size that your bird’s cage should be is at least two wingspans wide, and the width and length of the cage is more important than its height. Your bird should be able to flap his wings without hitting them on the sides of the cage, and without hitting his toys and perches. If you don’t take your bird out of his cage daily for exercise, then the cage should be even larger.

Bird Cage Materials

It is important to know the material from which your cage is made. Stainless steel is the best material for a birdcage because it’s the most durable and easiest to clean. Wooden cages can be easily destroyed by birds and are very difficult to disinfect. Some older cages contain zinc parts, which can be toxic to your bird. Galvanized metal will corrode when disinfected with most household cleansers. 

If you’re planning on housing a large bird, be sure the cage is sturdy and escape-proof. Cockatoos have been known to pick locks. The bars of the cage should be close enough together to prevent escape, but with no small areas in which the bird's toes or legs could become caught.

Choosing a Bird Cage

Choosing a cage from a nationally known manufacturer like Prevue or PrevuePet may be the easiest way to know that you are getting a safe home for your bird. Talk to your avian veterinarian or respected bird breeder for advice on housing individual types of birds.

The floor of the cage should consist of a grate. Bird droppings and food should fall through the grate in the bottom of the cage out of the reach of your bird onto a pan below. The pan can be lined with newspaper, paper towel or butcher paper that should be changed daily. Daily cleaning minimizes bacterial and fungal overgrowth on waste materials. It also gives you the opportunity to observe your bird’s droppings because a change in them may be a sign of illness.  See: Bird Health Supplies

Bird Cage Perches

Every cage should have a variety of styles and sizes of perches and a bird mirror, but there shouldn’t be so many perches and toys that your bird doesn’t have room to maneuver in the cage. The highest perch in the cage should be a concrete one that will promote healthy feet, nails and a well-groomed beak. Natural wood perches from a non-toxic tree are also good. Manzanita perches look nice, but are slippery. Sandpaper perches are not recommended because they are not stable and are easily destroyed or ingested.

Bird Toys

Birds are intelligent creatures and require mental stimulation. Parrots, in particular, have a strong desire to chew and destroy. Wood, leather and durable plastic toys are the most preferable. Rope toys can be dangerous because they can be ingested, causing a deadly obstruction. 

Toys that make your bird think or work – to get a treat, for instance – are very good. Keep a variety of toys and exchange them in the cage to keep your bird interested. Smaller birds may like mirrors or bells. Make sure the clappers on bells are bird-proof. If they’re not, remove them because they can be dangerous if ingested.


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