Pet Birds are often bought as a gift or spontaneous purchase and their care is assumed without research or much forethought.
This is a description of basic care of caged birds in a typical household. This does not relate to an outside aviary.
Which Bird Cage?
The size of the bird cage should be considered. Birds thrive in a big cage therefore get the biggest cage you can accommodate. It must be large enough for the bird to walk around and flap its wings vigorously without hitting them on anything. This includes any toys or perches etc within the cage. A good rule of thumb is for the cage to be at least twice the wingspan of the bird.
Consideration of using the right cage for the breed concerned. Small birds should be housed in cages with no more than 1/2 inch of space between the bars. But the bars shouldn’t be too close together either. If in doubt, seek the advice of the pet store.
A rectangular cage is better than a round cage. Birds like to feel safe in corners, and the round cage will cause lots of head turning and twisting. This can lead to behaviour problems.
Positioning of the Cage:
Cages should be kept indoors somewhere where the bird will see plenty of life as they are very social creatures. The cage can be taken outside for fresh air in warm conditions, but not left out in the cold. Consideration of the bird’s personality may determine where the cage is. A nervous bird may not want to be the centre of attention. Consequently, such nervous birds may be happier in a quiet area, in the corner of a room for example. Partially covering the back of the cage may help.
Placing the cage in front of a window permanently may lead to the bird being constantly on alert for predators, causing nervousness.
Bird cages should be cleaned each day, taking care to observe signs that the bird is healthy. Signs to look out for include checking to see if the usual amount of food has been eaten and if the droppings look normal. It’s important to note if there’s any sign of vomit and whether all toys are in good repair and ensure the cage and perches etc are as they should be.
The cage liner should be replaced each day. Where newspaper is being used, black and white print should be used only as coloured print may be damaging to the bird’s health. You could use paper, or alternatively, you could use wood chips or kitty litter, or sand for the bottom of the cage.
All bowls, bottles etc should be cleaned with hot soapy water. Great care is required to ensure they are fully rinsed of any cleaning agent and completely dry before refilling with food and water. (Seed which is dampened may quickly go mouldy, thereby becoming a health hazard to the bird).
Water bottles should be cleaned using a bottle brush and care should be taken to ensure the ball is clean and works to provide water.
A more comprehensive clean should be carried out regularly – how regularly depends upon the size of bird, cage etc. This involves washing the actual cage (obviously removing the bird first to a safe environment), perches, bird bath etc.