Cages for Your Bird



A bird's home is very important. Unlike us, they can't leave their house unless we let them out. It is very important to choose the correct cage for your pet to allow it to be happy while it spends its time at home. Remember, because most of us are at work for a large part of the day, a bird will spend most of its hours here. That is why not just any old cage will do. Keep in mind the type of bird you are going to keep, and what would be suitable for you and the bird.    (Source: Birds USA, 1988/99 annual)

The first step in providing a comfortable home for your bird is the cage itself. Buy the largest cage you can afford that is suitable for the bird. At minimum, the bird needs to be able to fully extend both wings and be able to turn around comfortably inside the cage.

Bar spacing is critical. Birds should never be able to put their heads through the bars of their cage. The danger is that birds, curious as they are, have been known to put their head through the bars, get stuck, and not be able to get back in.

Every cage should have some horizontal bars for the bird to climb up and down. While birds can navigate up and down vertical bars, it is more difficult.

There are several types of cages made of different materials in varying price ranges. Most cages are made of some type of metal.

1)   Wire: In the lower price range, there are cages made of wire. The wire
A Wire Cage may or may not be painted or powder-coated. These cages come in sizes suitable for finches up to a medium sized parrot such as a Pionus. If you choose a wire cage, be sure that the wire is not made of a metal that is toxic, and that the paint does not contain lead.

2)   Iron/Steel: Many cages are made of iron or steel and are then sandblasted and powder-coated. These cages are durable, long lasting, and withstand busy beaks and escape artists. They usually come with a stand, A Steel Cageand some have seed guards or playpens as well. They come in a wide variety of colors, but as before, be sure the paint does not contain lead. Stainless-steel cages are indestructible, easy to keep clean, and fairly expensive. Look for the following on all metal cages: Check to see that there are no covering bars anywhere on the cage. All welds should be smooth with no sharp edges. All doors should be escape-proof or easily made to lock with a clip or lock. When buying a cage, one thing to think of is the expected life span of the bird compared to saving money on a cage that won't last very long. The large birds, like the macaws and cockatoos may live to be 70 or 80 years. Even a small bird such as a Senegal or Conure may live 30 or so years.

3)   Glass/Acrylic: There are several types of cages that use other materials, such as acrylic or glass. These cages are designed to keep the messA Glass or Acrylic Cage contained inside them, as well as giving an unobstructed view of the bird inside. If you choose a nonstandard cage, make sure that you add extra ladders and perches. Birds need to climb around for exercise. If you decide to get a new cage for your bird, be sure to let them adjust slowly. Remember that they are creatures of habit, and moving may upset them at first. It may help to add things from the old cage to the new one, as well as placing the two cages next to each other.

Proper bar spacing:

While you want to get as big a cage as possible for your bird, make sure the bars aren't spaced far apart that your bird could stick its head through them.

Here are some guidelines for bar spacing by species:

  • Budgies, finches, canaries: 3/8 to 1/2 inch

  • Cockatiels, small parakeets, small conures, lovebirds: 1/2 to 3/4 inch

  • Large conures, large parakeets, medium-sized parrots, mini macaws, small cockatoos, African Greys, amazons, Eclectus: 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch

  • Large cockatoos and Macaws: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch

  • Minimum cage sizes: (measurements are length by depth by height)

  • Budgies: 14x14x14 inches

  • Finches, canaries (flight cages) 36x18x18 inches

  • Cockatiels, small parakeets, small conures, lovebirds: 18x18x24 inches

  • Large conures, large parakeets, medium-sized parrots, mini macaws 20x20x24 inches

  • Small cockatoos, Eclectus African Greys, amazons: 24x20x24 inches

  • Large cockatoos, amazons and macaws: 3x3x5 feet


STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11