Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
From Marla S.
Hi, Your toys, treats, and perch setup is nice. Not overcrowded and laid out nicely. One comment though.
As a Lovebird Mom for over nine years now, it baffles me to this day to see other bird parents place their bird’s open food and water dishes on the cage floor!
This is in the direct path of the bird’s poop! Would you place your human’s child’s food and water dishes in the bottom of the toilet? No.
Why then would you put your bird children’s food and water dishes in the place where their feces would be dropped into them????
For sanitation reasons I hang a double feeding trough with an inserted feeding dish on each side; one for water and one for their Harrison’s Organic High Potency food.
Editors note: Harrison’s Adult Lifetime a Certified Organic Maintenance Level Nutrient Formula for Parrots should be offered after completing a dietary program of High Potency Formula for a period of at least 6 months
The food is changed daily and their water dishes are cleaned and changed twice a day with filtered water. This way their feces drops to the cage bottom and their filtered water and food doesn’t get contaminated!
Keeping our little dependent feathered kids healthy is every bird parent’s top priority, right? Thank you.
Nature designed bird poop to help carry seeds (and fish eggs) across the land to help repropagate earth which is why birds are so messy. They don’t know the difference between the rain forest canopy and your Pergo floor.
Budgies are ground eaters so it is more natural for them to eat on the floor of the bird cage. If you look at any of the cages I’ve set up (hundreds), not a toy, food dish, perch or ladder ever get’s pooped on from above.
In other words, once I initially set up the cage I watch where poop is landing. I continually move perches ladders and accessories, until no poop lands on a floor-based food or water dish.
When a perch is catching poop from a higher perch, I’ll wrap the soiled area on with vet wrap that I can easily replace every 2 – 3 days.
Sometimes it may take a couple of weeks to find the compromise between the right bird cage set up while keeping a sanitary bird cage environment.
To your point, birds will clean their feet with their beak and tongue so you don’t want them walking through poop at any level or accessory in the cage. Soiled toys and accessories also take longer to clean.
Dish “roofs” can be placed over nonhooded food and water dishes if poop is coming from say the top of the cage.
Our Senegal eats from a conventional food dish. We take into consideration every nuance of the species when cage set up time arrives. The more time a bird spends in a cage, the more often the cage needs to be re-arranged in order to challenge the bird against boredom.
Every square inch of a cage is in the direct path of the cage floor. Love birds are unique because they will hang on the walls of the cage while engaging toys whereas most other birds prefer to stand on a perch while doing so. Thus I will cagescape a lovebird’s cage much different than cockatiels or a Quakers cage.
Let’s back up. There is no one size fits all for birdcage toy and accessory placement. Years ago I coined the term “cagescaping” which never caught on but I still use it.
Much like landscaping everything from the size, shape, and interior height of the cage has to be taken into consideration as well as the species.
Bird toys hung in the middle of the cage from the top might look pretty but they are not necessarily accessible to a bird unless the bird hangs from the top of the cage to engage the toy.
Some birds have suffered a terrible fate by getting stuck on a toy in the middle of the cage and not knowing how to get off. As a result they inadvertently are unable to reach a safe perch which could lead to injury and or death.
Even though Peaches our Senegal resides in the same cage that Popcorn our cockatiel did we had to make many changes. Perches bolted to the side of the cage could be moved closer towards the back of the cage because a Senegal has a shorter tail than a cockatiel.
This allowed a “cluster” of toys our new bird could hide behind and feel safe in her new surroundings, who at that time had previously spent 22 hours a day in a cage at a rescue for 7 years and was feeling a bit vulnerable.
Some caged bird keepers mistakenly put perches too close to the back of the cage for a longtail bird who then never uses it because the tail is always rubbing against the birdcage bars.
We prefer to place most of the bird toys along with the inside upper third of the cage walls. We place them in groups using Booda rope perches leading to the bird toy group but knowing motivated birds are more than willing to hang from the cage bars or the toy itself.
We advocate two or three Booda rope perches in every cage one of which being the perch your bird sleeps on because it’s soft and doesn’t wear on the feet.
We had one toy in the breakfast club’s cage that Bacon would just relentlessly attack. We thought she didn’t like where it was because it may have been blocking other toys so we moved it from the side of the bird cage to the back of the cage.
Bacon still grabs the little toy and thrashes it endlessly like she’s mad at it. It’s always hard to tell what goes on in the mind of the bird.
Birdcages should be considered organic living spaces, not static boxes where the same toys and accessories reside forever never rearranging replacing.
For birds that are caged many hours a day, it is highly recommended that you remove everything from the cage at least once a month not only giving you an opportunity to clean all the toys and accessories but to put them back in all-new places in order to keep your bird challenged and mentally alert.
The more you present change to your bird the more readily it will accept change and it’s true with anything including its food, your travel habits in the introduction of human socialization.
Feathered factoid: Birds are one of the only species that are not affected by eating habanero peppers regardless of how “hot” they are. Nature did this so birds could spread the seeds of the habanero pepper plants across the land because other animals would have nothing to do with them.
Besides long tails, the bird with clipped wings can live in a more crowded cage as long as he or she is able to flap their wings.
If you trim your birds nails on a regular basis, perch surfaces need to be a little rougher, or vet wrap needs to be added so the bird does not accidentally slip off the perch and hurt itself until the nails start to grow in more with points.
We use romaine lettuce not only as food but for foraging and enrichment and to help change up the bird’s environment.
As you see from the video below, toys don’t have to be something that hangs from the cage but materials like braided palm leaves can be woven in and out of the cage bars to create privacy while offering foraging opportunities.
It wasn’t until I left the ball uncovered that they realized they could pull the ball out to access the nutritious treats sitting in the net.
We keep at least two food dishes and two water feeders available because we have multiple birds in a single cage and don’t want jealousy to lock somebody out of food and water.
All of our cages have a thermal perch which provides the birds a choice to seek warmth especially after bathing.
When practical we like to place a grooming perch next to a food dish. Birds are active in their eating so their nails will get ground a little and they have a surface to rub their beak removing particulate that may bother them after eating.
Feathered factoid: although birds’ beaks appear to be a solid piece of keratin, they’re actually quite sensitive with many nerves called Herbst corpuscles.
Rubbing a birds beak may be sexually stimulating so it’s best to avoid that sticking only to the top of the head down to the neck.
If you have a female bird or birds it’s best to offer a cuttle bone, remembering to keep the soft side facing out to help supply additional calcium which is depleted when they go through any sort of brooding.
All birdcages should have a full spectrum light with or without UVA and UVB. The light should be no further than 1 foot over the cage and on a timer set for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
Birds know exactly what time it is and expect an equatorial type light cycle. The bird should be in the cage when the light turns on and turns off helping indicate when the day starts and ends helping them keep those little circadian oscillators oscillating at the right speed.
Timed light over the cage is a small accessory with a huge impact. It can help a bird literally maintain its own sanity. The changing North American light cycles, regardless of how much son your bird gets during the day, stress our birds out.
Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing