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How to Pick a Birdcage for a Pet Bird

Learn how to pick a birdcage for your pet bird in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Doctor Hess: So certainly, if you're going to have a bird, you need to have a safe place to keep the bird. Obviously, you need a safe cage and not all cages are created equal, and not all cages are meant for every bird. So there are certainly considerations to make before purchasing a bird cage.

One of the things that obviously you must think about is the size of the bird and the size of the cage. Generally, the bigger the cage the better for the bird. Birds need to stretch out. They need to be able to turn around, stretch their wings out and be safe and not bang into the sides of the cage.

We need to think about the bar spacing. Not all the spacing on all the cages is the same. You want to think about whether a bird can get his or her head or leg or wing caught in those bar spaces, and whether it's appropriately spaced for the size bird that you have.

You want to think about the shape of the cage. I mean, people love to have round cages because it's aesthetically pleasing for us. But not necessarily great for the bird, because birds love to hang out in corners and grab and climb. What are some other considerations, Sarah, that we want to think about?

Sarah: Some other considerations is that some people may think that they want to use their old bird cage that they've been having sitting in the garage for 30 years. Unfortunately, a lot of these cages actually have toxic metals on them, lead and zinc, and when the bird chews on them they can actually become very sick and even die from lead or zinc toxicity.

I think that's maybe a big mistake that people make. Always go for a new cage. Try to shy away from maybe the powder coating because the birds are always going to chew it off. I would say go for maybe stainless steel. It's easy to clean. It's going to get dirty. Birds produce a lot of stool and it's going to get on the bars, and you're going to want to be able to get it off.

Doctor Hess: Yeah. Stainless steel cages are great. One other thing besides cleaning, which is certainly a big factor... You want to make sure you look at the cage and think, "How could I clean this cage?" But another thing you might want to think about, I know it was certainly an issue for me, is what type of bird you have.

I have a cockatoo and one day I came home and I had replaced his cage, which was a very nice stainless steel cage, but a little hard to clean, with another type of cage that actually had some exposed nuts and bolts. I didn't really realize that this bird had an incredible tongue that could unscrew absolutely anything.

He spent the entire day undoing the nuts and bolts in his cage so that when I came home all four walls had spread like an onion, opened up. He was sitting in the perch in the middle completely free. So, he did this all day long with his tongue, and it took him one day. So now we have to chain-link him in with a bunch of c-clips like a Christmas tree around his cage because he can get out of anything.

So, this is really something to think about. It's what the cage is made out of, its size, its shape, and certainly, can it really contain your bird. All things to think about before getting a cage.

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