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
  • Vorny54
    Re: We Cured Dog's Jealousy of New Baby: A Case Study
    My granddaughter is now 4 months old and my dogs behaviour has not improved ,he pants whines and…
    3 December 2018
  • Vall
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I was at the park today with my 5 month old puppy, who is overly friendly in the sense of she loves everyone. She ran over to play with another…
    2 December 2018
  • Hippopig
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I wondered if you could help... A 'friend' dumped their dog on us a year or so ago. Despite not asking after her or paying towards her care or…
    2 December 2018
  • Joni
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    We have a kitten now 6 months. Female. One of my other adult females keeps attacking her. This has been going on for…
    30 November 2018
  • Violet
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Somebody on this site mentioned that a new dog law came into force on 24/10/18. Apparently the new law states that all dogs must be put on a…
    27 November 2018
  • Sara
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    I have a 4 year old male cat and we got a 8 week old female kitten, at first our older cat would hiss and swat at her…
    26 November 2018
  • Steven
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    My six month old female cat can’t get on with 12 week old kitten, she pins it down and grabs it and kicks with her back…
    28 October 2018
  • Beth
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I split from my husband and in Feb this year I needed support with my dog (4 1/2 years) we got her at 8 weeks old, I was working long days to…
    25 October 2018
  • Gypsy
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I've been told today a new law has come into play about dogs from today 24/10/2018, that all dogs must be put on a lead in communal areas, the…
    24 October 2018
  • Lizzy the Wild Lizar
    Re: How to Train Your Pet Lizard
    im wondering how to tame a wild lizard i found outside but took in because it is severely hurt. i really want it to trust me.
    22 October 2018