Home > Bird Safety > Safe Bird Cages

Safe Bird Cages

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 28 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Safe Bird Cage Choosing The Right Bird

In the excitement of getting their new pet bird, many owners forget about the importance of their new avian friend's accommodation. Selecting the right cage and making sure that it is safe is one of the most important aspects of pet bird ownership.

Materials

Ideally, cages should be made of powder-coated or stainless steel - these give a long-lasting and durable finish. Avoid cages made of wrought iron and painted finishes, which may be toxic, especially if your bird likes to chew on cage material. Similarly, beware of lead and zinc content in older or painted cages. Zinc is also found in galvanised wire, which should be avoided, and be careful also of zinc in components like hinges and latches.

Construction

Despite their aesthetic appeal, it is best to avoid cages with fancy scroll work or intricate designs as these features can easily trap your bird's head, wings, feet or beak. Opt for a welded cage and make sure all welds are smooth, with no sharp edges. Avoid a punched or drilled cage, where the vertical bars are not welded at all the horizontal connection points - this leads to water getting inside the hollow support bars and over time, the cage may begin to rust from the inside out.

The cage door must be sturdily made and fitted with a bird-proof latch so that it is escape-proof. This seriously affects the bird's safety as if it escapes when the owners are absent, it may accidentally injure itself or be killed. Especially with parrot species, don't underestimate your bird's cleverness and strength in trying to escape!

Bars

Correct bar spacing is crucial to bird safety: make sure that the space between the bars is narrow enough that your bird cannot get his head, wings, feet or beak wedged between the bars as, coupled with panic, this can be fatal. For large birds, the actual thickness of the cage bars is also important as if they are too thin, they can be easily bent and create a dangerous gap. Also make sure that there are no converging bars - to be safe, all bars should be parallel.

For birds that like to climb (eg. parrots), the bars should have a horizontal orientation to provide ascension grips but for others that don't use their beaks to climb (eg. finches, canaries, doves), the orientation of the bars is less important.

Perches

Firstly, perches should be appropriately sized for your bird's feet and grip but it is best to provide several perches of varying diameters to prevent foot problems. Most perches are made of wood but if your bird is likely to chew and ingest wood from the perches, make sure the woods are not toxic. For example, do not use apricot, cherry, peach, prune, plum or nectarine, which all belong to the Prunus species. They contain cyanogenic glycosides which release cyanide if ingested. Make sure there is always a perch near each food and water dish and also at different heights in the cage.

Cleaning

In addition to the mechanical components, cleaning can be crucial to bird safety. Cages which are difficult to clean result in owner procrastination, which then leads to increased risk of bacterial and fungal contamination and then serious disease. In any case, changing paper / bedding once or twice a day is essential so make sure the cage allows you easy access to do this, without risk of the bird escaping. In addition, food and water dishes should be able to be easily removed and replaced without having to open the main door of the cage. After cleaning, always ensure that you have rinsed the cage thoroughly to remove all traces of disinfectant before returning your pet bird to the cage.

Location

The cage should be placed in a warm, bright spot, out of the way of drafts, but in an area of the house where the bird can be involved with family activities and benefit from socialisation. Do not put the cage in the kitchen as cooking fumes can be dangerous to the bird and avoid also spots with strong, direct sunlight.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • catgirl
    Re: Are Feral Cat Colonies Dangerous?
    TNR does work! Once you get the colonies managed.( Getting all cats fixed and ear tipped) If you get kittens about 5 weeks…
    7 July 2020
  • Guilliano
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Good morning I have a neighbor on Hurkur Crescent Eyemouth who lives her dog 5 days in a week lock up in her flat. That dog howls and barks…
    25 June 2020
  • Kaz
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    Hi I have a 10 week old pup lab cross collie he as scratched is ear inside I've been bathing it but he keep…
    18 June 2020
  • Moira
    Re: Are Feral Cat Colonies Dangerous?
    Can someone help me ? I feed a feral cat and the last two nights her eyes are watery and her breathing is terrible!…
    15 June 2020
  • Bec
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Advise please? We live on a small lane with approx 8 houses. We have a neighbour across the street who has a dog. Their property is not fenced…
    13 June 2020
  • None
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    My dog lost a large tooth from his bottom jaw. There was a swelling nearby on his jaw/chin. I think it was an an…
    8 June 2020
  • Alfie
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    My springer has a cyst on his chest that has burst can't get thru to vets due to covid19 any advice?? He has a cone…
    28 May 2020
  • Mark.s
    Re: Vet's Fees
    My vet rang me yesterday to tell me that my cats medication has side effects which I already knew as they tell me every time I visit the surgery then…
    21 May 2020
  • Kitty kelly
    Re: Are Feral Cat Colonies Dangerous?
    Cat's aren't the harmful one humans are. Human's are the most ignorant species I've encountered. I have never had one…
    17 May 2020
  • N/A
    Re: Are Feral Cat Colonies Dangerous?
    Mention of a favor second best if it would be other being.What tape af PEOPEL is that
    15 May 2020