All bird species have different cage requirements as they do care requirements. Cages provide routine, safety and hygiene for companion parrots. While it is not natural for birds to be housed in a cage it is also not natural for birds to be free roaming in a living environment such as the family home. The family home is full of dangers like open toilet lids, hot stove tops, ceiling fans, gaps created by furniture, poisonous substances like chocolate, avocado, toothpaste, coffee, potted plants and lead found in everyday household items.
Your parrot should have a cage to go to when you are not able to provide supervision. A good cage setup provides your parrot with their very own bedroom. A place they can do what they like in, go to sleep in feeling safe and retreat to when they want to get away from it all.
The Appropriate Cage for Birds
You should acquire the biggest cage your budget will allow and your space will accommodate. The RSPCA has set guide lines for all caged animals; the animal must be able to stretch (thus consideration of the wing span of your bird is required) and not touch the sides of the cage, feeders, perches, toys or other birds.
There should be enough room for 3 feeders, at least 2 perches and adequate enrichment items such as toys and foliage.
If you can visualise space enough for 2 bird’s wing spans, then your cage may be suitable for 2 birds in the future. Birds are flock animals and are more likely to be content and remain well balanced through puberty when kept with avian companions. This is something you should keep in mind even if you only have one bird to start with.
Shape of bird cage
Avoid round cages as there are no corners to retreat to which can be quite psychologically disturbing. Because birds move horizontally (not vertically) width is more important than height and you’ll find rectangular cages are the easiest shape for creating good layouts.
Bar spacing should be appropriate for the species. Large spacing invites accidents and risks escape. The bird should not be able to get even close to squeezing its head between the bars. The thickness of the wire must be strong enough to resist bending or dismantling by the bird. For birds galah size and up you should seriously consider powder coated steel or a stainless steel cage. A combination of vertical bars at the front/ back for easy viewing and horizontal bars on the sides for climbing and perch fitting often works best.
Ladders can be used on vertical sides to aid climbing.
Portability of your cage
You want to be able to take your bird outside at least occasionally and in many cases you’ll want to move the cage to a different room for the sleeping period. Quality wheels and the ability to fit the cage through doors simplify things in these situations.
Bird Cage Placement
In most cases the living room is the obvious room to place the cage as this is the most frequented room by the family which will help keep the bird well socialised and entertained. If selecting the kitchen, be aware that Teflon coated pans can quickly kill a bird with its fumes if over heated, gas leaks from old fridges are fatal, and there could well be other dangers so be careful!
The cage must back onto at least 1 solid wall or have a backing ; birds are prey animals and having to constantly “watch theirback” will be stressful. Windows (and the wild birds outside) can provide valuable entertainment throughout the day but they can also provide sight of predators. Providing foliage at one point between the cage and the window to break visual contact will help relieve stress in such situations. Never leave your bird outside in a cage that can be knocked over or gotten under by cats, dogs, foxes or other birds and bring the cage in after dark to keep its occupant’s protected. Don’t forget birds like being up high where they feel safe from predation.
Birds usually rest (often mistaken for napping – unlike cats, dogs and humans, birds need to be alert during daylight hours) after feeding around the middle of the day; this be achieved with light and background noise. Some people get around the problem of the living room being used well into the night by its human occupants by having two cages – a big one for the day and a smaller one located in a quiet room like the laundry for night. If you are to make use of a night cage it is important to remember that routine is paramount – animals thrive on it and suffer without it. Covers are not required if the cage is placed away from disturbance after dark. If you are covering the cage at night to protect your bird against cold drafts or to help block out light and noise please also remember that some ventilation is important! Having a solid backing and some solid roof and wall provides a feeling of safety and security and improves quality of life for a pet bird.
Excerpt from Article by Nikki Arkinstall from Bird Boarding
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