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Housing Your Parrot - Suitable Bird Cages & Non Toxic Perches
In the home
Let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start?
Corny but true.
Other than your bird, the cage you buy should be one of your most important purchases. You need to get it right, so please remember this fact.
Usually no cage is too large, but they can - quite often - be too small.
Check the width of the bar spacing if you have a small bird.
Usually the larger cages have wider spaced bars, and a small bird such as a Black Headed Caique or Senegal, could get its head stuck.
The smaller cages designed for smaller birds, are not strong enough to withstand the beak of a larger bird.
This should be a pointer in the right direction over which cage to get.
Obviously the cage you buy will be relative to the size of your bird, which must be able to expand its wings fully in its cage.
Photo right: Moluccan Cockatoo pictured above on it's open top cage.
Do not opt for a cheaper, smaller cage because you think it will 'do' temporarily, or because the retailer has no others in stock.
Do not be talked into buying something you or your bird will not be happy with.
There are some excellent cages available for all types of bird, ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the more than you could have dreamt of type. If you are purchasing a potential life long companion, think of the bird; and not what matches with your wallpaper....
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Adverts selling Parrot With Cage
Watch out for adverts sometims seen in the UK bird press, offering birds such as Amazons or African Greys with cage, relatively cheaply.
These cages will more than likely not be suitable, as they are so cheap.
You will probably find that they are in fact Cockatiel type cages, if you bother to find out the dimensions.
Not to mention the fact that the birds themselves aforementioned in these adverts, will probably be imported and absolutely NOT SUITABLE as pets.
These birds will be advertised as 'young', and not 'captive bred'.
Do not let the dealers try to convince you that these birds will tame down with time. Strictly not true.
In any case who in their right mind would want to keep such a large and intelligent bird such as an Amazon or African Grey in a cage this size?
Remember - if you cannot afford to buy a suitable cage: DO NOT BUY THE BIRD!
Double Yellow Headed Amazon pictured far left.
Open top cages are very good and practical, particularly if you do not also have the room for a playstand.
Your cage should have natural tree branches as perches, such as apple or willow, in fact most fruit trees are suitable.
Never use Laurel or Yew, these are toxic.
Above: Yew Tree branch
The yew is known as the "tree of death". The latin name 'Taxus' comes from the Greek 'toxin', which translates to poison or toxin. However it has also recently been called the best new anticancer agent developed from natural agents.
Still toxic to parrots!
Natural branches are always preferable to those provided by the manufacturer in most cases, which tend to be dowelling perches and all the same circumference.
Which do, after a period of time cause sore feet.
Natural branches come in different sizes and widths allowing your bird to exercise its feet. Perches can be added to the cage at different angles and don't necessarily have to sit from left to right in a dead straight line! (Trees in the wild in which they perch don't have horizontal perches do they?)
Concrete or sandy type perches which screw onto the bars of any cage are ideal as an extra perch.
These perches now come in the form of a parrot swing also, and can be added as an extra item to your parrot's cage.
These also give exercise to the feet and prevent overgrown claws and beaks to a certain extent.
Keeping your birds occupied
Plenty of toys non-destructable and interesting should be provided, these come in a multitude of colours and shapes, together with the destructable ones.
Birds have a low boredom threshold and need stimulation to prevent nasty habits forming such as screaming and/or feather plucking.
Choices today are virtually limitless, budget permitting.
Where you place your cage is also important. Birds are very social so the cage should not be permanently situated in another room of the house to where you spend a lot of time. They should have plenty of daylight, but should not be placed directly in front of a window (birds also get heatstroke).
Keep the cage away from open doors or windows to avoid drafts and:
Do not leave the cage in the kitchen! Potentially the most dangerous room in the house!!!!!
The cage you purchase should also have three or four food dishes.
You can buy extra stainless steel dishes, sometimes known as coop cups, to hang on the sides of the cage.
One dish for water, one for seeds and/or nuts and at least one for fruit and vegetables, pulses etc.
Most cages do in fact have a minimum of four dishes as standard items.
A layer of newspaper is one of the best coverings for the bottom of the cage.
It is more hygienic and easier to clean than using the grille which comes supplied by the manufacturer, these easily get clogged up with droppings.
You might also need to padlock the cage.
Particularly as your bird gets older and wiser and starts letting itself out!