CHOOSING AND SETTING UP THE CAGE...
Before bringing home a new bird, choose and purchase a cage. Buy the largest cage you can afford and have room for. Make sure the cage bars are not spaced so far apart that your bird can get his head caught or squeeze through and escape. If you don't have room for or can't afford a large bird cage then DON‘T bring home a large bird!
Once you get the cage home, assemble it if necessary and wash it. For this, we recommend a solution of water, white vinegar and GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract). If you have purchased a used cage, it should be disinfected after washing. A weak bleach solution can be used (10% bleach / 90% water) to disinfect. Do this only with good ventilation, well away from your birds (preferably outside) then rinse, rinse and rinse again!
Next, add perches, food / water dishes and toys appropriate to the size of the bird. Take care not to over-crowd the cage. Your bird should have enough room to spread his wings and turn around without hitting perches or toys.
Because birds spend all their time on their feet, your choice of perches and placement of them is very important. We like to include 3-4 perches of various types and textures in each cage. Using half perches and flexible cable style perches allow us to include more of a variety without crowding the cage and place them so that they are out of the line of droppings. The dowel rod type perches that come with most new cages are usually inappropriately sized and the least beneficial. I recommend you just get rid of those.
Birds usually sleep on and spend most of their time on the perch that is placed highest in the cage. For this we prefer a COMFY CABLE PERCH. Soft and flexible, it’s most comfortable for the birds feet and can be bent and placed in an upper corner. Be sure to position it far enough from the sides so the birds tail does not rub on the bars.
We usually place the second highest perch next to toys or the toy box. A WOOD perch which varies slightly in size and texture is an excellent choice for this one.
Next to the food and water dish, it’s best to use a perch that can be easily cleaned. This perch will often have food stuck to it so it should be washed frequently to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Every cage should include a 3rd food dish for soft foods such as vegetables, greens and fruit, treats and / or cooked foods. Next to this dish, where the bird will spend some time every day, we like to use a pedicure type perch such as SANDY PERCH or POLLY PASTEL PEDICURE.
This type of perch with it’s rough surface, helps keep the birds nails from overgrowing so that trimming is seldom necessary. Spending too much time on this type of perch can cause foot sores however, so it should never be placed high in the cage where it might be used as a sleeping perch. This perch will need to be washed frequently to remove stuck on food and bacteria. The two types mentioned are easily removable and can be soaked to soften dried on food or placed in the dishwasher.
Food and water dishes should be washed daily so choose ones that are easy to remove for cleaning. LOCK-CROCKS inserted or removed with just a twist and are dishwasher safe are a good choice for the soft food dish.
Having multiple food and water dishes on hand allows for you to simple pull them out and replace with a clean one each day rather than having to take it out, wash and dry it before refilling and placing it back in the cage.
Your birds cage should also include an interesting assortment of fun toys. Toys provide exercise, mental stimulation and help relieve boredom. Toys should be rotated frequently to maintain interest. If your bird is unhappy, screaming and / or otherwise driving you crazy, chances are he is simply bored. Toys are an easy and much appreciated way to improve the quality of your birds life. Keep in mind - a toy destroyed - is a toy enjoyed!
Many birds also enjoy playing with foot toys - small things they can pick up with their feet. A toy box is a great way to add a variety of foot toys to the cage or play area. You can simply use a small plastic crate attached with cable (zip) ties or choose a STAINLESS STEEL PAIL like those offered on our foot toy page. For your convenience, we also off the BUCKET 'O BOOTY - a stainless steel toy pail available in three sizes. It comes pre-filled with 10 fun foot toys and includes a stainless steel quick link for hanging.