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9 Tips To Help You Choose The Right Bird Cage

Here's how to get it right the first time.

Susan Chamberlain

macaw

1) Purchase the largest bird cage you can afford and accommodate in your home. When estimating the space needed for your bird cage, take into account the door swing and rigid cage apron, if any.

2) Assemble a large bird cage in the room where it will be used. It may not fit through the door otherwise!

3) Be aware that macaws, conures and Asian parakeets require cages tall enough to accommodate their long tails. Smaller, flighted birds need wide cages to fly to and fro.

4) Make sure that a large cage is outfitted with casters so you can move it easily.

5) Choose a cage with secure feeders and beak-resistant door locks to thwart escape and possible injury.

6) Purchase replacement parts (e.g., dishes, perches, gratings and trays when available) at the same time you buy your cage so you will have them on hand for the future.

7) Ornate cages may be beautiful, but they’re not always easy to clean. Avoid cages that are more decorative than functional. Choose a cage with mess-management features, such as a bottom grating, a flared cage "apron” around the bottom or protected or enclosed feeders. (Note: Budgies may be reluctant to eat from hooded feeders, so provide them with open dishes.)

8) What features are important to you? If your bird will be spending considerable amounts of time atop her cage, a model with a built-in cage top gym may be appropriate. Will a bird-sitter or other family members be caring for your bird? If so, outside access feeders can be important. Do you have mobility or strength issues? Choose a cage that’s high enough off the floor to service without bending. Many metal bottom trays can be heavy; select a cage with a lighter weight metal or even a plastic tray instead.

9) Consult your pet shop professional about appropriate bar strength and spacing for your particular bird. Bars should be spaced widely enough for the bird’s feet to span them comfortably, but narrow enough to prevent your pet from sticking her head through them. Avoid configurations where bar spacing is narrow at one end and wide at the other. Welds should be smooth and nearly invisible.

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Posted: November 14, 2014, 12:00 p.m. PDT

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