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Essential Accessories To Include In Your Parrot's Cage

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Essential Accessories To Include In Your Parrot's Cage

Whether you own a large Macaw or a small parakeet, you'll need to provide them with a safe, comfortable cage for them to call home. Some owners assume that a basic cage is enough for their parrot, but unfortunately this can lead to depression, physical disorders and a variety of other health problems. The bottom line is that owners need to accessorize their cage to meet the unique needs and demands of their parrot. This week, we're going to discuss some essential accessories to include in your parrot's cage.

Perch

Perches are wonderful accessories that allow a parrot to overlook their surroundings. Nine out of ten times you'll find your parrot standing or even sleeping on their perch. The only problem that some owners may run into is their expensive price tag. Depending on the particular model, it's not uncommon to find them with a $20 or even $30 price tag at the local pet store.

When they aren't foraging for food, parrots in the wild spend most of their time standing on branches, surveying the surrounding landscape; therefore, it's a good idea to mimic this environment in your pet parrot's cage. You obviously aren't going to be able to grow a 50-foot tall oak tree in their cage, but you can certainly place some perches for them to stand on. I recommend placing a couple different perches in your parrot's cage: at least one on the top level and another around the middle.

How To Make a Perch For Your Parrot

The first step in creating a perch is to go hunting for a piece of suitable lumber. Ideally, you should use a semi-thick piece of dried wood that's just slightly longer than your parrot's cage. If you don't know the size of their cage, use a measuring tape to get this information before heading out. A good cut of perch wood should possess a couple of elements; it should be dry, solid (not rotting) and sized to fit your parrot's cage.

Once you've found a piece of lumber to use as a perch, soak it in a bucket of diluted bleach water for a full day before placing it outside to dry. Even if you don't see any insets or bugs on the wood, there's always the chance of parasites living within the moisture. Soaking the wood beforehand in bleach should make easy work of any bacteria or parasites. When it's finished soaking, place it outside to dry for 8-12 hours.

You should now have a clean piece of lumber to use in your parrot's cage. There are a couple of different techniques used to hold it in place, one of which is to drill the sides of the perch into blocks of wood on the outside of the cage. Simply place the perch on the desired area of the cage and drill 2 small screws into the ends, connecting it to larger blocks of wood on the outside. The two blocks of wood on the outside will hold the perch in place so it won't fall down. Another option is to drill two screws directly into the ends of the perch and connect it to the side of the cage with ribbon or thin craft rope.

Most parrots will instantly fall in love with their new perch. There are a select few that may require some "warming up" time before they are fully comfortable with their new fixture. Give your parrot time to adjust and they will be using their new perch before you know it.

Note: if you're going to use an authentic hardwood perch, make sure it's untreated. Parrots are highly sensitive to pain, finish and other chemicals.

Mirror

I know what you're probably thinking: why does my parrot need a mirror in his or her cage? Hanging a mirror in your parrot's cage helps them cope with loneliness. Most parrots are highly social animals that crave interaction, which is one of the reasons why they fly together. Domesticated parrots will get the sense of being around other parrots with a mirror nearby. When they see their reflection in the mirror, they will assume it's another parrot.

Of course, you could always get a companion for your parrot to satisfy their desire for social interaction, but this is a big decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Make sure you're fully ready for another parrot before committing to it.

Toys

We really can't talk about essential parrot cage accessories without mentioning the importance of toys. When you're gone to work for the day, your parrot will be left to pass the time using whatever is readily available in their surroundings. Most people don't realize just how playful parrots are until they own one. Parrots love to pass the time by plucking at plush toys, chewing on things, and even swinging from ropes, so make sure your parrot has plenty of toys in their cage.

Bedding

Unfortunately, many owners unknowingly provide their parrot with bedding material that's either unsuitable or even dangerous for birds. Corn cobs are one such type of bedding material that should be avoided, as they can swell and cause life-threatening blockages in the digestive system when consumed. Even if they aren't ingested, corn cobs will absorb moisture from the surrounding environment, which may result in mold and mildew growth.

Do your homework beforehand to learn which bedding materials are suitable for your parrot and which ones aren't. Just because you see a particular type of bedding sold at the pet store of your local grocery store doesn't necessarily mean it's suitable for parrots. Parrots are finicky creatures with delicate digestive and immune systems; therefore, it's critical that owners use extra caution when placing anything inside their cages.

Bedding Materials To Avoid:

  • Corn cobs
  • Cedar shavings
  • Walnut shells
  • Pine shavings
  • Cat litter

Why Cedar Shavings Are a Poor Choice of Bedding

Cedar shavings are commonly used in hamster, gerbil and mice habitats. While it's perfectly fine for these animals, it's not a suitable choice for parrots. The problem with cedar shavings lies in its chemical makeup. Certain types of cedar contain heavy chemicals that may trigger allergic reactions along with irritation of the digestive system in parrots. Rather than taking a risk and simply 'hoping' that your parrot doesn't exhibit an allergic reaction, it's best to avoid this bedding material.

Choose Paper-Based Bedding Materials

The best all-around material to use in your parrot's cage is paper. You can purchase paper cage liners from most pet stores, which are both safe and effective. Alternatively, you can use paper towels or even old newspaper as bedding materials.

If you're going to use paper towels, check to make sure it's plain and doesn't feature any printed words or designs. Only standard, all-white paper towels should be used as bedding material for a pet parrot.

Whether you own a large African Gray or a small parakeet, parrots of all shapes and sizes should be given essential accessories inside their cage. Routinely changing their bedding material to perches on a regular basis will ensure your parrot's living quarters are clean and free of bacteria buildups; thus, promoting better health. In a previous post, we discussed the common household dangers for your pet. It takes just a couple minutes to pull out dirty materials and replace it with clean ones, creating a pristine environment for your feathered friend.

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