Avian Expert Articles

Transform Your Bird’s Cage From Drab to Fab

cockatiel perched in cageMinimizing Messes

Dog and cat owners have to deal with shed fur. For pet-bird owners, it’s the challenge of cage fallout — namely food, toys and shed feathers.

Fortunately, many cage accessories are designed with mess management in mind

The Sand Perch, from the JW Pet, for example encourages birds to perch more toward the middle of the cage rather than at the very edge as it is wider at the base and gets narrower as it extends into the cage. An added bonus to perches with varying diameters is that they promote foot and leg health as the bird isn’t in the same foot hold throughout the day.

You can also swap out traditional food bowls with those that have plastic shields or a hooded design, with the end goal of keeping food and food debris in the bowl and not on the floor.

Products That Stimulate

Pet-bird owners can also outfit their birds’ cages with accessories that are as fun and multifunctional as they are practical. Wild birds don’t just perch on trees … just about any relatively stable item is fair game. Create climbing opportunities for your bird with a climbing net, which can function as a perch when hung horizontally and it also encourages exercise and promotes foot health. Climbing nets can also be useful as foraging areas in the cage.

Perches Can Add to Cage Real Estate

Perches are an important yet often overlooked accessory for bird cages. Many avian cages come with a standard dowel perch that stretches across the length of the cage for access to food and water stations. Unfortunately, many pet retailers and new bird owners mistake this for the end-all, be-all of perching options. Perches can add more real estate within the cage by creating pathways in what would otherwise be empty space. Multiple perches, moreover, encourage movement within the cage and promote foot and leg health by offering varying levels to stand on.

Another key to a happy pet-bird home is creating a housing setup that incorporates a variety of natural wood perches with different diameters at multiple levels in the cage to encourage chewing and good, strong feet.

In many cases, perches constitute a product category many stores neglect to promote.

Perches of different diameters are good for bird’s feet, as is having a flat-style perch where birds can spread their feet, and it can also serve as a place to offer enrichment items, such as foot toys or dry treats.

Privacy please! People like privacy from time to time and so do birds. You can offer your bird some alone time by covering part of the cage or offering a perch cover or even a toy hanging near your bird’s roost spot to snuggle up to.

Perch Placement

When it comes to properly bolting a perch to a cage, simply placing it so it rests across the diameter of the cage is not the only option, and all too often, perches actually are placed in the wrong locations.

Birds naturally want to be up in the highest position available within the cage, but keep the bird’s height in mind so they should not have to hunch when on this perch. And always make sure that there is perch access to the food and water stations.

A grooming-style perch should be used as a stepping perch — from the food perch, and then to the grit perch on the way to the top roosting perch, for example — Brown added.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When shopping for accessories, bird owners also need to keep their birds’ individual needs in mind; not every cage setup is conducive for every bird. Giving an Amazon parrot that lives for chewing things up a puzzle toy that might be more suitable for a more mechanically inclined bird like an African grey can mean a toy that sits untouched. Customizing the cage to the species of bird it houses can be key to offering an enriching environment. Some parrot species, such as African greys, are primarily ground foragers and appreciate a clean surface on the cage bottom or on a ledge to forage on, while other parrot species, such as lories, are primarily arboreal foragers and prefer enrichment opportunities in the upper area of the cage.

With the right eye for accessories, pet-bird owners can not only maintain a cleaner cage, but also create play and foraging areas and comfy retreats within a cage.

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