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BIRD / new pets

Setting Up a Birdcage

All the basics to help you feather your new pet’s nest


How to choose a birdcage

When you’re deciding between the many sizes and types, keep in mind:

  • The kind of home that best suits your bird's species
  • Your bird’s size
  • How many birds will be living together
  • The location of the cage

Cage size and shape

Surprisingly, the width of the cage is more of a concern than the height. Choose a cage that is a minimum of twice as wide as your bird’s wingspan. A cage for multiple birds should be even more spacious.

Cage material and bar spacing

  • A stainless-steel birdcage is affordable and durable
  • Make sure the bars are close enough together so the bird can’t squeeze through
  • Take a close look at the bottom grate; some are easier to clean than others

Where to put the cage

Birds are social creatures and love to be part of the family. Their cage should be near the center of the action. Some birds may also like to have a second, smaller cage somewhere quiet and private to help them sleep.

Avoid putting birdcages in the kitchen or anywhere where smoke may gather; birds have very sensitive lungs and can be affected by smoke and strong odors.

Because some birds don’t do well in heat or cold, keep birdcages away from drafts and direct sunlight.

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Furnishing the birdcage

Bowls and dishes

Your bird will need a food bowl and two water bowls, one for drinking and one for bathing. Some bowls lock into place, which helps keep them from spilling.

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Perch spots

Birds love perches! Give them a few to choose from, at different heights and made from different materials. Natural wood perches double as chewing posts, so they’ll need to be replaced regularly. Braided rope makes for a flexible perch, and concrete can be a good choice for a lower perch.

To figure out the right width for a perch, check your bird’s feet: while they are perching, there should be a ¾-inch gap between the bird’s front and rear nails.

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Line the enclosure floor with recycled-paper bedding or use a paper liner. Replace the liner at least every other day.

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Cage toys

Birds love stimulating cage décor. Some great choices:

  • Rope knots, twisty toys
  • Puzzles with treats inside
  • Swings and ladders
  • Fall-apart toys designed to be pecked to pieces
  • Beak-strengthening chew toys

When choosing cage décor, safety comes first—don’t give birds anything that might be accidentally swallowed, or anything that might entangle them.

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