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Wings of Hope, New Jersey
Rescue and Sanctuary
P.O. Box 22, Cleveland, GA  30528
Ph: (732) 833 - 7825   Fax: (706) 219-3573
Email:  WOH@wingsofhope-nj.com

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A BIRD'S CAGE
What Do You Really Need?
Once you decide what kind of bird you would like, there are other COSTS. You will need a cage large enough for your bird to move about in comfort and if you decided to purchase a pair of birds, space is even more important. Don't be short-sighted here because buying a good quality cage could last your bird most of his or her life. Accessories are simply those things you will purchase to make your bird comfortable, neat, and happy.

An average cage depending on size will cost between $50 to $1000 and is usually equipped with perches, food and water containers, and a slide-out cleaning tray. You can also build your own (usually done for outside aviaries ONLY). If you decide to build your own cage make sure that it's "peck proof". Some birds have the capability and the inclination to "peck their way to freedom".

Even though some birds are quite small, most are active and need the exercise afforded by a large cage to be healthy and happy. Also remember that birds with long tails need taller cages than their shorter-tailed counterparts, to make sure they can manouver around the cage and not damage their tails.

Bar spacing is also important because inappropriate bar spacing can result in injury to your bird. Here are general guidelines for cage size and bar spacing for some common pet birds:

Note: all dimensions are given in inches and in the format width x length x height.
Species Minimum Cage Size Bar Spacing
Finches 18"x30"x18" 1/4" to 1/2"
Canaries 18"x24"x18" 1/4" to 1/2"
Budgies 18"x18"x24" 1/2"
Cockatiels 20"x20"x24" 1/2" to 5/8"
Lovebirds
Parrotlets
24"x24"x24" 1/2"
Ringneck Parakeets 24"x24"x36" 1/2" to 5/8"
Conures
Poicephalus
24"x24"x24" 5/8" to 3/4"
Caiques
Pionus
Jardines
24"x24"x36" 5/8" to 3/4"
Amazons
Mini Macaws
Goffin's Cockatoos
African Greys
24"x36"x48" 3/4" to 1"
Large Cockatoos 36"x48"x48" 1" to 1.5"
Large Macaws 36"x48"x60" 1" to 1.5"
Doves and Pigeons *see below 1/2" to 5/8"
*Doves and Pigeons: Doves need daily flight time so should either be kept in a flight cage or given daily flight time outside of the cage. With time outside of the cage for exercise, diamond doves can be kept in a cage 24"x24"x24" with bar spacing of no more than 1/2" and ringneck doves in a slightly larger cage (for example, 24"x36"x24"). Pigeons are most often kept in outdoor flights but if kept indoors need a large cage and daily flight time as well.

Things that typically come in the cage are water and food containers, perches, and a viable clean-out tray. Most cages include these items, but make sure they meet the needs of your particular bird, and yourself (so it's easy to clean, and you have several views into the cage to observe your bird). You also need toys for your bird to play with. In the wild, parrots live in flocks and spend much of the daylight hours searching for food and interacting with other birds and their environment. In captivity, many companion parrots are often alone during the day and have their food provided in a container. For this reason it is up to us to provide our birds with activities that duplicate what they would find in the wild. Studies are clearly showing that parrots need daily interaction, toys, appropriate foods, and enrichment activities to thrive. For more information on toys, please see our article on Buying/Making Safe Bird Toys.