Getting Your Home Bird-Ready
Since most homes aren’t naturally bird-friendly, bird owners will want to shop around for the right cage.
Choosing the right cage
Bird cages are readily available at most pet shops and come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes.
Size: A general rule is that adult birds should be able to fully stretch their wings and exercise them vigorously while on their perch without harming themselves on fixtures or the cage itself. Your bird’s head shouldn’t be in any danger of touching the top of the cage, nor should the tail be touching the bottom or sides.
Climbing bars: Bars must be narrow enough to ensure that your pet cannot put his head through them (to prevent accidental hanging), but wide enough apart to allow him to scale up and down as he pleases. This also allows you to easily see the bird and clean the cage.
Floor: Plastic bottoms are hygienic and generally recommended since they do not rust (which is both unsightly and creates a potential for disease organisms to develop). The bottom should also have high sides to help prevent excess feed, husks, and droppings from falling to your floor. Cages with a slide-out bottom or clamps on the side are recommended for easy cleaning.
Perches: Perches of different widths will help exercise your pet’s feet and relax his muscles, so be sure there are a few around the cage. Your bird’s toes should not wrap completely around, however — a perch that is too thin will result in discomfort and require frequent nail clippings. Park a perch in front of the seed and water hoppers and — since most birds enjoy the views — place another up high, ensuring that your bird’s head will not hit the top of the cage. Avoid putting perches or food and water dishes directly under one another, as droppings will accumulate on whatever’s below.
- Place your bird’s cage as high as possible, but still allow yourself easy access to your pet. Birds, by nature, prefer higher altitudes. The height gives them a sense of security and allows them to see what is going on in their environment.
- Never place a cage in front of a window with direct sunlight. If your bird is not able to find cool shelter, he could have heatstroke.
- Drafty areas such as open doors and windows should be avoided as well.