When choosing a cage for your bird, your eye may be drawn to the ornate, designer cages that would look fantastic in your front room. However, these cages are not always the best for your bird. Some of these cages can be quite dangerous to a bird’s health and well-being. By showing some examples of good and bad cages I hope to help you choose the best cage for your bird, whether it’s a canary or cockatoo.
Keep in mind your bird's size, including its tail. If your bird’s tail sticks out of the bars of the cage when perched, you need to find a larger cage. The bird should be able to move around the cage in all directions without seeming cramped or having their wings or tail stick out of the bars. Look at the cage the way your bird might. Is there any unusable space? Are there tight corners it could get caught up in? Do the bars or clips on the cage look like a toe could get caught in them? A general rule of thumb is that when in doubt, go with a cage that is slightly larger. Remember that toys and feed and water dishes take up space in the cage. If you figure that your bird will be spending most of its life in this cage, make sure it is as spacious and interesting as possible.
Also keep in mind the material that the cage is made of. There are some very nice-looking cages with frames made of wood or plastic. Parrots are made to chew and if you think about it, most of your bird’s toys are made of wood or plastic. Larger parrots are very likely to chew the cage apart, doing damage to the cage as well as endangering themselves. Some metal cages also have a coating of paint that may contain lead, which is deadly to birds even in small amounts. The best cages are made of stainless steel with a coating that will prevent rust and not be harmful to the birds. Material can also determine how durable the cage is and how easy it is to clean. Some plastics deteriorate with extended exposure to sunlight or the elements and some metals can be difficult to get feces off of. Minimizing the amount of hard corners in a cage can also help when it comes to cleaning.
Placement of the cage can be just as important as the type of cage. Birds need natural sunlight, but should not be placed in a location that gets overly warm during the day. Hanging a cage from a hook on the ceiling can be just as dangerous as placing them on a table or counter, especially with a curious cat around. If your cat does show interest in the bird cage, try to keep the bird locked away when you are not around to monitor behavior. A cage with its own custom-made stand will be more sturdy than a free-standing or hanging cage.
A bad cage design. Much of the top is unusable space for the bird. There are also many decorative additions that would make it difficult to see your bird in the cage. The doors also look very small, making getting the bird or the dishes out difficult.
A very good cage design with a catch tray for flying seed hulls or feces and built-in stand. The top area is also well-designed for time spent out of the cage. Doors are large and additional perches and toys could easily be placed inside for a more interesting environment.
A Vision Cage, a fantastic design for small parrots. Rounded corners in the base for easier cleaning. The feeders are surrounded by clear plastic to prevent messes outside the cage and for easy viewing of the bird. Feces and seeds drop down beneath a metal grid, which keeps the bird off of the mess. The bottom tray detaches completely for easy cleaning. Large doors with safe clasps and several perches and toys make this a perfect cage design.
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