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One of the top features bird owners look for when choosing a cage is ease of cleaning. Here are 10 tips to make it easy on yourself!
Cage maintenance is easier when you have the right tools. Invest in nylon brushes for scrubbing nooks and crannies, scrubber sponges for broad areas and bottle brushes for drinking water bottles. Keep a hand-held vacuum nearby for quick clean-ups. A steam cleaner is nice to have for blasting debris from cage parts. Locate the cage on a hard floor rather than on carpeting. Save old bath towels for drying cages and large parts.
Locate perches, toys and feeders out of pooping range inside the cage. It may take a few tries, but you’ll quickly learn where most droppings accumulate. A drinking water bottle will assure your bird a constant supply of clean water.
Stack cage tray paper at least seven layers deep. Simply remove it, a layer at a time, when soiled.
Put a layer of waxed paper beneath tray paper or litter to reduce risk of deterioration of metal trays from moisture.
When servicing the cage, spray the tray paper lightly to keep dander and dust from flying about when you remove it. Roll the paper as you remove it to further contain debris.
Prevent small jobs from becoming big ones! Soak and scrub bottom gratings weekly. Change tray paper daily and wash trays weekly. Use a damp, clean cloth to wipe debris and dander off bars and cage aprons daily.
Keep an extra set of perches and dishes handy so you can quickly change out the soiled ones and wash them at your leisure.
Defy "perma-poop!” A treatment with liquid dish soap, vinegar and water or an enzyme-based cleaner will often soften dried droppings to a point where they can be easily wiped off.
Once or twice a year, put your bird in her travel cage or another safe haven, and take her main cage outdoors and give it a major cleaning. If you have access to a power washer, use it on caked-on dirt. (Be careful with painted or powder-coat finish cages; a strong power washer may remove some of the finish.) If you’re an apartment dweller, dismantle large cages and put the parts under a hot shower and, after a good soaking, wipe clean. Smaller cages may be showered intact.
Don’t tell the dinner guests, but you can put small, metal cage parts, such as gratings, through the dishwasher. Use about one-quarter of the recommended amount of detergent. Do be aware that not all cage finishes will hold up under the rigors of a dishwasher’s cycles. Plastic parts may melt or warp under extreme heat. Never use metal polish on cages, as remaining residue is most likely toxic to birds. Avoid using bleach on aluminum cages or cage parts as it will discolor the metal.
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