How to Choose Parakeet Cage

Choosing a Cage for Parakeets

When selecting a cage for your conure, make sure the bird has room to spread her wings without touching the cage sides. Her tail should not touch the cage bottom, nor should her head brush the top. A cage that measures two feet by two feet by three feet is the minimum size for a single conure, and bigger is always better.

Check the Bars

Examine any cage you choose carefully before making your final selection. If you are choosing a cage with coated bars, make sure that the finish is not chipped, bubbled, or peeling, because your pet may find the defective spot and continue removing the finish, which can cause a cage to look old and worn before its time. Also, your pet could become ill if she ingests any of the finish.

If you are considering a galvanized wire cage, be aware that some birds can become ill from ingesting pieces of the galvanized wire.
You can prevent this “new cage syndrome” by washing down the cage wires thoroughly with a solution of vinegar and water and then scrubbing the cage with a wire brush to loosen any stray bits of galvanized wire. Rinse the cage thoroughly with water and let it dry before putting your bird into her new home.

Reject any cages that have sharp interior wires or wide spaces between the bars. (Recommended bar spacing for conures is about half an inch.) Sharp wires could poke your bird, she could become caught between bars that are slightly wider than recommended, or she could escape through widely spaced bars. Also be aware that birds can injure themselves on ornate scrollwork that decorates some cages. Finally, make sure the cage you choose has some horizontal bars in it so your conure can climb the cage walls easily for exercise.

Cage Door Options

After you’ve checked the overall cage quality and the bar spacing, look at the cage door. Does it open easily for you, yet remain secure enough to keep your bird in her cage when you close the door? Some conures become quite good at letting themselves out of their cage if the door does not close securely. If you discover you have a feathered Houdini on your hands, a small padlock may help keep your escape artist in her place.

Will your bird’s food bowl or a bowl of bath water fit through the door easily? Is it long and wide enough for you to get your hand in and out of the cage comfortably—with the bird perched on your hand?

Does the door open up, down, or to the side? Some bird owners like their pets to have a play porch on a door that opens out and down, drawbridge style, while others are happy with doors that open to the side. Watch out for guillotine-style doors that slide up and over the cage entrance, because some conures have suffered a broken leg when the door dropped on them unexpectedly.

Cage Tray Considerations

Next, look at the tray in the bottom of the cage. Does it slide in and out of the cage easily? Remember that you will be changing the paper in this tray at least once a day for the rest of your bird’s life (which could be forty years, with good care). Is the tray an odd shape or size? Will paper need to be cut into unusual shapes to fit in it, or will paper towels, newspapers or clean sheets of used computer paper fit easily? The easier the tray is to remove and reline, the more likely you will be to change the lining of the tray daily. Can the cage tray be replaced if it becomes damaged and unusable?

You may notice that some of the cages for conures feature cage aprons, which help keep the debris your bird will create in the course of a day off your floor and somewhat under control. Cage aprons make cleaning up after your bird quicker and easier, and they also protect your carpet or flooring from discarded food and bird droppings if your bird decides to perch on the edge of her cage.

Finally, check the floor of the cage you’ve chosen. Does it have a grille that will keep your bird out of the debris that falls to the bottom of the cage, such as feces, seed hulls, molted feathers, and discarded food? To ensure your pet’s long-term good health and to protect your conure from her own curious nature, it’s essential to have a grille between your pet and the debris in the cage tray. Also, it’s easier to keep your conure in her cage while you’re cleaning the cage tray if there’s a grille between the cage and the tray.

The Cage Cover

One important, but sometimes overlooked, accessory is the cage cover. Be sure you have something to cover your conure’s cage with when it’s time to put your bird to sleep each night. The act of covering the cage seems to calm many pet birds and convince them that it’s really time to go to bed, despite the sounds of an active family evening in the background.

You can purchase a cage cover or you can use an old sheet, blanket, or towel that is clean and free of holes. Be aware that some birds like to chew on their cage covers through the cage bars. If your bird does this, replace the cover when it becomes too tattered to do its job effectively. Replacing a well-chewed cover will also help keep your bird from becoming entangled in the cover or caught in a ragged clump of threads. Some birds have injured themselves quite severely by being caught in a chewed cage cover, so help keep your pet safe from this hazard.

Setting Up the Cage

Make sure you have the cage all set up and ready before you bring your bird home, to help ease the transition for your pet. Here’s how to set up your conure’s cage.

Select the right location. Your conure will be more comfortable if her cage is set up in a part of the house that you and your family use regularly, such as a family room. Your conure’s cage should be out of the main traffic flow of the room, but still be in the room so you can include your bird in normal activities, such as watching TV. (Don’t put your bird’s cage near the kitchen or the bathroom, because cooking and chemical fumes from these rooms can harm your conure.)

Set the cage up with a solid wall behind it. Your conure will feel more secure if she has a solid wall behind her cage because nothing can sneak up on her from behind.

Stagger the perches within the cage. Don’t place the perches at all the same height in the cage because your conure will be happier if she can perch at different heights at different times of the day.

Arrange the perches correctly. Don’t place perches directly over food or water bowls because pet birds eliminate regularly during the day, and you don’t want your pet’s food or water contaminated by her droppings.

Add some toys. Your conure will need toys in her cage to help entertain her during the day. You should rotate the toys regularly to ensure your bird doesn’t become bored with the same toys. You’ll also have to replace those that your pet destroys during playtime.
Don’t overfill the cage with toys because your bird still needs room to move around. She needs to climb around in the cage and maybe even take short flights from end to end for exercise. She also needs to be able to get to the food and water bowls without interference from her toys.

Provide a cage cover. Your conure will benefit from having her cage covered when she goes to sleep at night. Covering the cage will help your bird settle down at bedtime, which helps her establish a good daily routine.(alert-passed)

What to Put in the Cage Tray

It is recommended that you use clean black-and-white newsprint, paper towels, or clean sheets of used computer printer paper. Sand, ground corncobs, or walnut shells may be sold by your pet supply store but are not recommended as cage flooring materials because they tend to hide feces and discarded food quite well.

This can cause a bird owner to forget to change the cage tray on the principle that if it doesn’t look dirty, it must not be dirty. This line of thinking can set up a thriving, robust colony of bacteria in the bottom of your bird’s cage, which can lead to a sick bird if you’re not careful.

Newsprint and other paper products don’t hide the dirt; in fact, they seem to draw attention to it, which leads conscientious bird owners to keep their pets’ homes scrupulously clean.

You may see sandpaper or “gravel paper” sold in some pet stores as a cage tray liner. This product is supposed to provide a bird with an opportunity to ingest grit, which is purported to aid indigestion by providing coarse grinding material that helps break up food in the bird’s gizzard. However, many avian experts do not believe that a pet bird needs grit, and if a bird stands on rough sandpaper, it could cause foot problems. For your pet’s health, please don’t use these gravel-coated papers.

Where to Put the Cage

Now that you’ve picked the perfect cage for your conure, where will you put it? Your conure will be happiest when she can feel like she’s part of the family, so the living room, family room, or dining room may be among the best places for your bird.

Avoid keeping your bird in the bathroom or kitchen, because sudden temperature fluctuations or fumes from cleaning products used in those rooms could harm your pet. Another spot to avoid is a busy hall or entryway, because the activity level in these spots may be too much for your pet.

If possible, set up the cage so that it is at your eye level, because it will make servicing the cage and visiting with your pet easier for you. It will also reduce the stress on your conure, because birds like to be up high for security. Also, they do not like to have people or things looming over them, so consider items such as ceiling fans, chandeliers, or swag lamps. If members of your family are particularly tall, they may want to sit next to the cage or crouch down slightly to talk to the conure.

Whatever room you select for your conure’s cage, be sure to put her in a secure corner (with one solid wall behind the cage to ensure her sense of security) and near a window. Please don’t put the cage in direct sun, though, because conures can quickly overheat.

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