Avian Gage Care
Please know that birds in general give off a "Dust/dander" that can cause allergies, in some individuals. Daily vacuuming and upkeep with your pet is needed to maintain a health environment for YOU and your pet. Cleanliness for your FIDs (Feathered Kids), is important. It is the first line of defense against unwanted disease's in your Fids home.
For cleaning I use PET FOCUS. It is non toxic to you birds and yourself. NEVER USE BLEACH! I give a general wipe down DAILY of my cages, and remove any messes from the cage.
Vacuum with a hyper allergenic/Hepa filter is the best for you and your FID. These filters, filter the air while cleaning. I strongly recommend that you use one. Research before buying. It is for you, your FID and your Family.
Cage care is important, and is your FIDs house. We clean our home for our FIDs, well we also have to clean our FIDs house.
For you FIDs home I like to see a cage that is of a good size that will allow the pet to STRETCH their wings. Many of mine love to hang on the the perch and "GET HAPPY" while flapping. Of course you get the dust kicked up! A good size cage for a SINGLE Cockatiel is 18X18X24. Have perches on opposite sides of the cage to allow for the pet to hop back and forth, and spread the wings. Bar spacing should be 5/8th's of an inch. There are many manufactures of cages so make a good choice. I personally do not like permanent cages that are "Snap Together". I worry about them collapsing. Remember, birds feel with their beaks and love to chew. Who says they can't loosen a SNAP? Some of the less expensive cages can develop rust. UMMM, I hate rust, so what does rust mean? Part of your daily cleaning and preventive maintenance should be to inspect for such things.
Cage Paper, yes PAPER. No you do not need gravel paper. I get unprinted News Print and line the tray with fresh paper DAILY. It reduces the mess, chance for bacteria to grow, and removes the droppings. Another benefit is that you can look at the birds droppings and see if there is a change. This is a good indication of possible health problems. great first line of defense. If you do not care to purchase this type of paper, then feel free to use news paper. Nothing like reading the NY times from a perch! It is safe to use. ONLY CLEAN news papers! NOTHING that is soiled.
Food/Water Containers, Important to the safety of your baby. STAINLESS!!!!! ZINC KILLS! I also use "Treat Trays". Simple porcelain trays that I get online. Like the old airline food trays that use to be used when you hade in-flight meals. You can also get similar items from stores. Low brims that allow birds to feast. Easy to clean, durable, and can also be used for a birdie bath tub! I only use the clamp on type of food bowls. These have a wing nut and clamping system that will hold tight to the cage. No worries about falling holders or the chance of a FID becoming caught on a hook.
Perch's need to be of a different texture, size, and length. I use dowels, no more the 3/4 Inch round, Sand perches, Calcium perch, Rope (made at home) and natural branches. This is because birds feet are their only way to hold on and to have a different FEEL under their feet is therapeutic to them. I believe that it also allows them to find the comfort that they need during the times of rest. Some like it soft, some hard, Perches are our babies beds.
Birds nails, (called talons in birds of prey) constantly grow, and the need for different perches allows birds to naturally trim their nails. Yes, avian vets will trim the nails. You as the owner can install a variety of perches to help alleviate continuous visits to the vet, just for nail cuttings. A good thing with the sand perch and calcium perch is that birds will rub their beaks on the perches to clean them and remove unwanted things from their mouths. The calcium perch gives an extra bite for them, and is 100% healthy and safe, for your baby.
Perches from stores attach to the cages via a wing nut and washers. HOT!! CHECK THE WASHERS AND WING NUTS FOR ZINC AND DO A MAGNET CHECK BEFORE ADDING TO THE THE FIDS HOME. HOT!! If you find this, then replace the hardware with STAINLESS STEEL hardware!
I make home made rope perches from a NATURAL fiber rope that you can get at home improvement stores. IE: SISAL. the cost is low, and if you can braid, just make a braided rope perch. I find that my FIDs LOVE it and they can chew it apart. Once I see that it is in need of replacement, well I have plenty to go around! I am working on making a HEMP perch for one of my flights. It is the old "Box Stitch" that you use to do in Macramé. It is strong, and the ridges seem to get the kids HAPPY! Be creative if you care to make your own.
Lastly with perches, you need to CLEAN them! Yes birds make their messes. the Wood perches can be cleaned by sanding off the dried droppings, AND WASHING them with warm water, and Pet Focus. DRY them completely, DO NOT SOAK IN WATER! This may cause bacteria to buildup in the pores of the wood. The Sand and calcium perches can be cleaned with a STIFF TOOTHBRUSH and Pet Focus, (MARKED ONLY FOR BIRDS). It gets into the little areas. Remember, to check ALL the perches for signs of wear and tear, and replace as needed. You do not want an accident on a DARK AND STORMY NIGHT! (TY Snoopy!)
In the end your FIDs need to have a clean home, and your home needs to be clean. Yes it can be hard at times to have to clean. You as the parent to these animals have the responsibility to maintain a health living environment for your pet. IT STARTS WITH YOU! The pet lives in your home and you are not only keeping them healthy, you are keeping yourself healthy and safe!