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
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
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,
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 mess
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.
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:
finches, canaries: 3/8 to 1/2 inch
small parakeets, small conures, lovebirds: 1/2 to 3/4
large parakeets, medium-sized parrots, mini macaws,
small cockatoos, African Greys, amazons, Eclectus: 3/4
to 1 1/2 inch
and Macaws: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch
sizes: (measurements are length by depth by height)
canaries (flight cages) 36x18x18 inches
small parakeets, small conures, lovebirds: 18x18x24
large parakeets, medium-sized parrots, mini macaws
cockatoos, Eclectus African Greys, amazons: 24x20x24
cockatoos, amazons and macaws: 3x3x5 feet