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A bird's home is very important. Unlike us, they can't leave their house unless we let them out. It is very important to choose the correct cage for your pet to allow the bird to be happy while he or she spends his or her time at home. Remember, because most of us are at work for a large part of the day and a bird will spend most of his or her hours in their cage. That is why not just any old cage will do. Keep in mind the type of bird you are going to keep, and what would be suitable for you and the bird.

(Source: Birds USA, 1988/99 annual)

The first step in providing a comfortable home for your bird is the cage itself. Buy the largest cage you can afford that is suitable for the bird. At minimum, the bird needs to be able to fully extend both wings and be able to turn around comfortably inside the cage.

Bar spacing is critical. Birds should never be able to put their heads through the bars of their cage. The danger is that birds, curious as they are, have been known to put their head through the bars, get stuck, and not be able to get back in.

Every cage should have some horizontal bars for the bird to climb up and down. While birds can navigate up and down vertical bars, it is more difficult.

There are several types of cages made of different materials in varying price ranges. Most cages are made of some type of metal.

Wire

In the lower price range, there are cages made of wire. The wire may or may not be painted or powder-coated. These cages come in sizes suitable for finches up to a medium sized parrot such as a Pionus. If you choose a wire cage, be sure that the wire is not made of a metal that is toxic, and that the paint does not contain lead.

Iron/Steel

Many cages are made of iron or steel and are then sandblasted and powder-coated. These cages are durable, long lasting, and withstand busy beaks and escape artists. They usually come with a stand, and some have seed guards or playpens as well. They come in a wide variety of colors, but as before, be sure the paint does not contain lead.<br><br>

Stainless-steel cages are indestructible, easy to keep clean, and fairly expensive. Look for the following on all metal cages:

Check to see that there are no covering bars anywhere on the cage. All welds should be smooth with no sharp edges. All doors should be escape-proof or easily made to lock with a clip or lock. When buying a cage, one thing to think of is the expected life span of the bird compared to saving money on a cage that won't last very long. The large birds, like the Macaws and Cockatoos may live to be 70 or 80 year old. Even a small bird such as a Senegal or Conure may live 30 or so years.

Glass/Acrylic

There are several types of cages that use other materials, such as acrylic or glass. These cages are designed to keep the mess contained inside them, as well as giving an unobstructed view of the bird inside. If you choose a non-standard cage, make sure that you add extra ladders and perches. Birds need to climb around for exercise.

If you decide to get a new cage for your bird, be sure to let them adjust slowly. Remember that they are creatures of habit, and moving may upset them at first. It may help to add things from the old cage to the new one, as well as placing the two cages next to each other.

Bar and cage space

While you want to get as big a cage as possible for your bird, make sure the bars aren't spaced so far apart that your bird could stick his or her head through them. Here are some guidelines for bar spacing by species:

Proper bar spacings

Budgies, Finches, and Canaries: 3/8 to 1/2 inch

Cockatiels, small Parakeets, small Conures, Lovebirds: 1/2 to 3/4 inch

Large Conures, large Parakeets, medium-sized parrots, mini Macaws, small Cockatoos, African Greys, Amazons, Eclectus: 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch

Large Cockatoos and Macaws: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch
More About Cages