|A Word of Caution Regarding Used Birdcages
Owners can undoubtedly find cheaper, pre-owned birdcages, but these cages may not always be the best matches for their birds. The biggest concern is that the maintenance of these birdcages is unknown. The birdcages may have been repainted or repaired with questionable materials that are unreliable or even harmful to birds. Birdcages from department stores or antique shops are often made for decorative purposes and are not an optimal fit for birds. They may not have bird-safe coatings or fixtures sturdy enough for the activity levels or larger birds. Similarly, some foreign countries do not have the same regulations on the use of lead and other toxic metals; therefore, imported birdcages may also pose risks to birds. But many birdcages are manufactured in foreign countries and still meet the safety guidelines required by United States. These include but are not limited to Great Britain, Germany and Canada. Contacting the birdcage manufacturer should help clear up any questions regarding cage composition. But perhaps a larger issue is the potential for passing along infectious diseases. There have been cases where, even after cleaning and sanitizing, birds have gotten sick from inhabiting used cages. The problem could lie in the fact that cages have so many small areas in which bacteria and viruses can hide, making it difficult to actually sanitize them completely.
Special Considerations for Repairing Birdcages
Older birdcages may begin to show signs of wear. A common problem is chipped paint. Small paint damages can be easily touched up at home, but it is important to contact the cage manufacturer for recommendations of bird-safe paint. They may even re-powdercoat the cage or send a sample or touchup paint to use. Owners attempting to paint their birdcages at home should make sure their birds are in a separate room to protect them from the fumes. Preparing the cage for repainting is key since poorly applied paint can flake off and be ingested by birds. For instance, they should sand the affected areas and clean and dry them before applying the new paint. Some owners never paint the bars of their birdcages because their birds chew them so much. And while the paint itself may be nontoxic for birds (depending upon the type chosen), it is still unhealthy for them to regularly ingest non-food items.
Some birdcages are generally in good shape, but may need a replacement part such as a cage latch. Retailers may be able to replace specific cage parts, but it might be faster to contact the manufacturer directly. Cage manufacturers will also be able to ensure that owners are purchasing parts that are the best matches for their birdcages. A key problem here is obsolescence. With so many models of cages from a growing number of manufacturers, getting the correct (original equipment manufacturer) replacement parts is not a certainty.
Benefits of Replacing Birdcages
Birdcages are an integral component to parrot health, and vigilant owners will examine their birds for signs that their cages may need replacing. Cage replacement has many potential benefits for both owner and bird:
General Tips for Selecting Birdcages
- Larger birdcages can solve problem behaviors such as aggression, excessive squawking and self-mutilation.
- Newer designs of birdcages with large door openings and mess-containment devices facilitate easier cleaning.
- Rotating birdcages helps prevent birds from becoming too territorial with their cages and helps them become more receptive to travel cages or a sitter’s cage.
While rotating cages can offer benefits for birds, owners who want to avoid purchasing mismatched birdcages from the start should remember the following cage selection guidelines:
Although most birds shouldn’t have difficulty with cage changes, there are certain precautions owners can take to make sure the transition goes smoothly. Keeping the cage colors the same and moving familiar perches and toys in the same arrangement into the new birdcage should help the bird feel more comfortable in its new environment. Some owners recommend making the switch at night before the bird goes to sleep so he is less aware of his surroundings. If bird owners truly understand the significant role birdcages play in bird health, they will scrutinize their birds’ current surroundings and make the necessary changes to improve their quality of life.
- Choose birdcages that are appropriately-sized for each bird species. See the size chart for specific recommendations. Larger is typically better.
- Small, flight-oriented birds favor wider cages while larger birds need more vertical space.
- Avoid rounded birdcages, which are harder to clean and can be unsettling to birds.
- Select birdcages made of durable, bird-safe materials.
- The best birdcages will have multiple options for perches and toys to be hung.
- More guidelines for cage selection can be found here.
|Birdcages need to be properly maintained for good bird health. Mismatched, inadequate or damaged birdcages can all have negative effects on birds. Owners must learn to recognize the warning signs in birdcages that may be physically or psychologically unsafe for their birds.
|Birdcage undersizing is one of the most common reasons for replacing a bird cage. In order not to make the same mistake twice on size, there are guidlines that can be followed by breed, personality and of course bird size. Using a sizing chart like the one pictured above is a good start to the process.