Proper Caging for Parrots
Selecting and properly accessorizing your parrot’s cage is one of the most important things you will do for your new companion. The cage is your parrot’s home. It should be a place that offers both entertainment and a sense of security to your bird and should give you peace of mind knowing that your bird is safe when inside.
A good quality cage can be expensive but if you select wisely it will last for the entirety of your bird’s long life. Whether you choose a stainless or powder coated cage, or a wire cage for the smallest of the parrot species, two words to keep in mind are “size” and “safety”.
Since the average companion parrot spends the majority of their time in their cage, size really matters. Birds that are in cages too small have little opportunity to get the exercise they need to stay healthy. A small cage is quickly overwhelmed when you add toys and perches and your bird will have no room to move around.
The overall construction of the cage should feel sturdy and there should no joints or other areas where toes might get trapped when your bird is climbing around. It should be convenient for you to service and keep clean.
Bar spacing must be appropriate for your bird’s species. Heads get caught in bars spaced too widely (they fit through in one direction and the jaw hinges keep it trapped there) and the toes and wings of large birds can get and broken as the bird travels around a cage with bar spacing that is too small.
Appropriate bar spacing:
1/4″ – 1/2″ – finches, canaries
1/2″ – budgies, lovebirds, parrotlets
1/2″ – 5/8″ – cockatiels, ringnecks, doves, pigeons, small conures
5/8″ – 3/4″ – large conures, senegals, caiques, pionus, jardines
3/4″ – 1″ – amazons, african greys, mini macaws, goffins cockatoos
1″ – 1.5″ – large macaws, large cockatoos
The cage should include several perches that are varied in width, size and texture. You can learn about the different perches available and what sizes are right for your species by reading the following article;
Finally, the cage should be set up in a way that encourages activity. We so often try to give our parrots a life of comfort and leisure out of kindness. However, a parrot’s body is designed for near constant activity level and placing everything within beak’s reach will negatively impact your bird's health down the line.
The perfect cage is a happy place with lots to do, a place that keeps your parrot’s body and mind active and offers the safety and security necessary for a parrot living in a human environment.