How do I find the right cage for my bird?
Any cage you buy needs to give your animal enough room to spread its wings and even fly in small beats! According to the RSPCA, the width of a cage must be three times a pet’s wingspan with a height three times the length of your bird from head to tail. The length of the cage should also allow at least 2 wing beats between perches for your feathered friend to fly between.
Naturally, this is quite a difficult thing to work out, so to spare you the maths, we’ve listed the recommended minimum cage size for the most commonly kept birds:
- 45.7cm x 76.2cm x 45.7cm – Finches
- 45.7cm x 60.9cm x 45.7cm – Canaries
- 45.7cm x 45.7cm x 60.9cm – Budgerigars (Budgies & Parakeets)
- 50.8cm x 50.8cm x 60.9cm – Cockatiels
- 60.9cm x 60.9cm x 60.9cm – Lovebirds, Parrotlets, Quaker Parrots, Conures, Poicephalus
- 60.9cm x 60.9cm x 91.4cm – Ringneck Parakeets, Caiques, Pionus, Jardines
- 60.9cm x 91.4cm x 122.9cm – Amazon Parrots, Mini-macaws, Goffin Cockatoos, African Greys
- 91.4cm x 122.9cm x 122.9cm – Large Cockatoos
- 91.4cm x 122.9cm x 152.4cm – Large Macaws
To prevent small birdies from sneakily escaping through a gap in the cage, you’ll need to ensure you’ve chosen one with sufficient bar spacing. This is, unsurprisingly, an important feature of any cage and something you’ll want to pay close attention to.
To understand what bar spacing you need, consult this guide of bird sizes and the recommended bar spacing they require:
- Small birds – 1.26cm or less
- Medium birds – 1.26cm – 2.3cm
- Large birds – 1.9cm – 3.5cm
Quantifying how spacious you require your birdcage to be is even more difficult if you plan on housing multiple birds at once.
The first thing to do is consider whether getting a birdcage at all is the best idea. For large groupings of birds, you could instead purchase an aviary, a large enclosure to keep many birds, often kept outside. This is probably your only option if you plan on keeping several large birds. But if a birdcage is really what you desire, there are several on the market which can accommodate a number of smaller birds at once.
Unfortunately, to appropriately determine the size you need, you’ll need to do a bit of maths. The recommended size for each bird breed is for just one single bird only, so you’ll need to double, triple or just simply add dimensions together to work out the size you need.
How long should my bird be out of its birdcage?
The general rule of thumb is two hours per day for a small parrot and three hours for a large parrot. However, we would say this is the minimum.
If you’re concerned about allowing your bird out of its cage for security reasons, you may wish to look at our guide on how to stop a parrot from flying away which gives some tips on how to prevent the worst-case scenario, as well as the security measures you should have in place.
How often should I clean a birdcage?
Due to birds often leaving droppings and tipping food into the bottom of the cage, you’ll need to do at least some cage cleaning every day. This may be as simple as just changing their liner on a daily basis, which is not really any different from changing a cat’s litter.
It’s best to then set one day a week aside for deep cleaning of all their toys and accessories inside the cage, and giving the inside of the cage a good scrub too. Use a non-toxic disinfectant soap and hot water. Allow the disinfectant to sit for 15 minutes on the surface being cleaned, before brushing away and rinsing with plain water.
For a more detailed guide of the process, consult our routine on birdcage cleaning. Ensure your bird has somewhere safe to go during this time.
What is a birdcage made out of?
Most cages are constructed primarily of a strong metal like stainless steel, with some form of anticorrosive coating to finish it off. This is usually a powder or plastic coating.
Although the idea of a beautifully carved wooden cage is very appealing, it’s never going to last very long. The whole point of a birdcage is that it needs to keep your bird safe and secure, so a metal material is almost certainly a must.
Metallic structures that combine with plastic materials are also perfectly suitable!
Can I paint my birdcage?
Want a bright yellow birdcage but can’t find a suitable one? After all, you will probably think “can get paint for everything these days…”
However, remember that this is your bird’s home. While there are metal paints out there, they could prove toxic to birds. If they started to chip or flake, consumption of the paint could be fatal to a bird. We do not recommend painting a birdcage.
Most cages come in black, which is a standard neutral colour. If you want to add some colour to their home, there are accessories available in a range of bright finishes.
Can I build my own birdcage?
It is possible of course, but you really need to know what you’re doing to ensure you buy safe materials.
For example, do not use chicken wire. This can be chewed by birds and they could be exposed to zinc resulting in heavy-metal poisoning.
Try to buy one which has been made specifically for use with an indoor bird, from a reputable brand with great reviews (such as those on our list above).