Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
I think this may have been our first official blog post
Email Newsletter 09/29/2011
Single most asked question at Windy City Parrot?
“Why is my bird so messy”?
It’s not that “your” bird is messy. Birds are messy by natural design. For us old folks, the talk you had with your folks was called the “birds and the bees” talk for a reason. Bees spread pollen by going from flower to flower, thus we have more flowers.
Unfortunately, when the great creator put this plan together, I don’t think he (she) envisioned wall-to-wall carpeting or wood laminate floors under our beautiful birds. But we love them, so we put up with the mess. We know it’s frustrating.
Hope springs eternal. There are ways to help reduce the mess and there are simple techniques to reduce bird cage cleaning times.
To start, let’s go back to the floor. If your bird cage is on the floor, the first thing we recommend is to put an office chair mat under the cage to protect the floor. You’ll thank us for this suggestion down the road. If you have a smaller bird cage on a table, a place mat or two will help keep the surface clean.
Next, if you have seed eaters, there are a few things you can do. Birdcage food dishes should be never more than 1/2 full. You’re not doing your bird any favors by keeping their dish full of food. Big birds can get very particular and may throw seeds out looking for “perfect pieces” – this can get very costly. If you have the right size dish, your bird will never grow hungry by not filling the dish all the way.
There are a couple of ways to approach bird cage dish management. Some bird cages may have separate dishes for bird food, water, bird treats, and bathing. We recommend at least one backup set of every dish in the cage.
That way it’s much easier to swap out dirty dishes for clean ones. Back-up dishes are a big-time saver. Especially with seed, you don’t have to empty the bird seed dish, clean it, wait for it to dry so the seed doesn’t clump – you get the idea. New dishes in the bird cage, dirty dishes in the sink – done.
A bird cage feeder dish isn’t always the way to go either. For years we kept Sunshine’s seed in a thick ceramic dish on the grate or floor of the cage. If you do this make sure you synchronize your bird cage perches to dish placement to reduce poop going into the food.
For bigger birds, this may not work (they can flip the dishes) but for most Conures and smaller birds, a small baking dish or even an old crystal or ceramic ashtray may work. Just check to ensure the birds can easily perch on the edge of whatever you place on the bird cage floor.
Bird Food Pellets are far less messy than seed and actually more nutritious (and more economical) than bird seed. The seeds in Hagen Tropimix bird food have all been hulled making this nutritious blend a less- mess bird food choice as well.
And that’s only one part of the bird cage cleaning puzzle. You still have to deal with the food particulate, the stuff they rub off their beaks onto the cage bars. And the poop! How much can they poop? A lot actually, about every 15 minutes, this helps keep the body evacuated meaning lighter weight for flight. And it’s everywhere!
Because birds have a cloaca, they can combine excretion and defecation into one dropping, making it a combination of black (defecation) and white (uric acid from excretion) components. This is the stuff that hardens. There’s a number of ways to remove hardened poop, but before we go there, for many smaller birds, placing a folded sheet of newspaper directly on the grate (the floor of the bird cage) and then placing food dishes on top of the newspaper will catch food and help keep the grate clean .
We’ve seen various solutions for covering the bird cage refuse tray. Newspaper is the the most popular but certainly not the only answer. One high tech product comes from Prevue Pet – T3 Cage Line anti microbial papaer
Some small bird owners prefer paper towels in the bird cage tray. One approach we really like is the use of Press’n Seal wrap seen in this How to clean your bird cage in 3 minutes – video.
The more often you clean a bird cage, the less you’ll clean a bird cage. If you wait for a long time you’ll will feel more like miner than just a bird cage cleaner, especially if you have a big bird. For day-to-day cleaning up Poop Off wipes are handy. If not in your budget, a vinegar and water solution will work. Spray bottles are good tools especially to get poop damp before trying to remove it.
If you’re of the mind to schlep the cage to the back yard for a power washing or hose down, remember, no matter how good the powder coating is on the bird cage, several of the bird cage pieces are hollow metal which will hold moisture and accelerate rust from the inside out.
You can sanitize your bird cage with Mango Pet Focus. On a budget? A diluted bleach water solution (a cap full in 1/2 gallon of water) will work to sanitize your bird cage too
We looked at a bunch of bird cage cleaning videos and felt the one below was a good all around guide – plus it includes reminders to do things like bird toy safety checks during the cleaning process.
Until next time
Windy City Parrot, Inc.