Is Newspaper Print Safe for My Bird?

Is Newspaper Print Safe for My Bird?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Is Newspaper Print Safe for My Bird?
We loving your Sunday morning birdie brunches. Wonderful info, but I do have a question about one of the suggestions.
I have a “teil”. Is it really SAFE to put newspaper on TOP of the grate???
My Merlin would chew the newspaper and maybe eat it. But if it’s safe, this sounds like a great idea.
Also, if I put his food dish on the newspaper, then won’t I wind up with poop in the dish? Thanks for all your info and a great website.
Linda W 

Dear Linda 
Newspaper is safe and is printed with vegetable inks.

We’ve been using newspaper for 25 years.

In general, we think it is safe for birds.

The University of Wisconsin wrote a research study on newsprint farm animals and felt there was no problem.

You could have it for dinner. 
Your bird may chew at it, chew some up, and might consume some, none is a problem unless you see he is, in fact, dining exclusively on it, then you have to pass on this idea for your bird of course. 
“I” admit to being a “lazy” bird keeper. I don’t want to wash a bottom grill every day.

When you think about it the majority of cages across the world are lined with newspaper.

We just watched a movie set in the 1800s where canaries were used by the bad guys.

It was fun to know that even back then the screenwriters chose to use newspaper for the bottom of the canary cages.

Although newspaper is generally benign, chewed newspaper that is injested can impact the crop, intestines, proventriculus or ventriculus.

Chicks are prone to this because they’ll swallow almost anything.

To err on the side of caution, one does have to consider some soy-based ink may have petroleum in it.

A pure soy-based ink will be darker then a soy-based ink with petroleum in it which may means it contains VOC’s or “Volatile Organic Compounds”.

You can easily test for the presence of petroleum-based ink by rubbing a small area of the newsprint and you find your fingers get smudged, the ink does contain petroleum.

In that case, can consider Kraft paper off the roll or plain print free paper off the roll or even wax paper, the paper is not the issue it is the ease of cleaning that the article was written for.


The ultimate for your birds would be Prevue Pet T3 antimicrobial bird cage paper.

Every morning the bird would get his fresh and clean paper, this dish on top of it. NOT placed under a perch so poop falls in it.
Food dishes should not be filled so fully daily that they end up staying in the cage day after day either to collect debris that could be unpleasant.
If an errant “poop” hits it, change it, simple as that. 
End of the day, remove the paper and dish and replace with fresh. EZ.
In general, my bird Popcorn (white-faced Lutino cockatiel) does not mess with the paper at all, unless it’s on my desk and I’m about to read it
We get calls and emails all the time with people asking “why is my bird so messy”.
It’s important to understand the “mess” on your kitchen floor is really meant to be the forest floor.
Birds were designed to sow seeds and spread them throughout their natural habitat.
One of the best examples I have is small ponds in the middle of nowhere. You’ll be driving on a summer day and see a fisherman with fishing lines in a small body of water.
Have you ever asked yourself where is the fish coming from?
Bird Poop – that’s where.
Birds will eat fish or fish eggs in a “mature” pond or lake, fly elsewhere & deposit the undigested fish eggs in another perhaps smaller body of water.
Fish will hatch from these eggs and so it goes.
Because of their high metabolism, parrots generally poop every 15 minutes.
Combine that with husks from bird seed, feather molt and dander – well I don’t have to tell you.
Yes, birds are messy – we can help.
Here are some things you can do to reduce bird cage clean up chores.
  1. Place a sheet of newspaper on top of the floor grate as well as under it in the tray – Less grate cleaning. (Safe??)
  2. Place food bowls on the newspaper (on the grate) not in the food dish holders – Seeds go into the tray not the floor
  3. Fill food dishes 1/4 – 1/3 full – Birds will become less selective and dump less
  4. Lose the metal seed guards – Less metal to clean
  5. Introduce some pellets and fresh or frozen vegetables then reduce seed usage (Tried this. Merlin will NOT eat pellets. He’s too spoiled I guess.)
  6. Use a handheld steam cleaner to clean the cage
  7. Place an office chair mat under the cage to help protect your home’s floor ( I did this. I really makes a difference)
  8. Of course at-the-end-of-the day you still do have to clean so here’s some great stuff to help you through your journey with your bird


Conclusion, if you don’t like to vacuum, don’t get a bird

Catherine Tobsing
Windy City Parrot 
Catherine Tobsing profile pic 082523
Catherine Tobsing

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