How to choose the right cage or aviary for your bird?

The single most important item you will ever purchase for your pet bird is its cage. There are many factors that must be considered when choosing the perfect cage for your bird.

  • Size
  • Style
  • Construction
  • Bar Spacing
  • Bar Orientation (horizontal/vertical)
  • Cage Placement

Cage Size - Bigger is Better

A large amount of your birds time is spent in their cage and, since our feathered pets are not living in the wild, it is easy for them to feel constricted. The cage you choose must be large enough for your bird comfortably flap their wings, move freely, play, climb, be silly, forage and perch in different areas of the cage. Keeping you bird in a cage that is too small for them to do these things will undoubtedly lead to behavioral issues such as cage possessiveness, screaming, aggressiveness, feather plucking and weight gain.

The simple answer is: Purchase the largest cage you can afford/fit in your home.

Because of this, it is important to first decide what your budget and space for a cage is before buying your bird. 

See our CAGE SIZE GUIDE at the bottom of the page. 

Style

A cage should always be chosen based on size, functionality, quality and safety over aesthetics. Many people make poor choices because they find many cage options 'ugly'. Luckily, My Birds House stocks cages from A&E Bird Cages who build cages that are safe, functional, of the highest quality AND look great! Take a look at the very best Bird Cages on the market here - https://www.mybirdshouse.com/collections/all-bird-cages

There are still many choices when it comes to shape and style, here are some things to consider:

  • Cage Shape

Standard cage shapes are rectangular and round.  Although round cages may be attractive, we do not recommend them for these reasons:

  1. They are difficult to place in your home in an efficient way, because of the round shape they take up more space because they can not fit comfortably into room corners.
  2. They are actually smaller inside, they technically take up more space in your home and provide less space for your bird
  3. Studies have shown that round cages can be stressful environments for birds, birds are prey animals and are wired to be on alert for predators. When sleeping, a bird will position themselves as high as possible and in a place where they feel protected from predators approaching their blind spot (like a cage corner). Round cages do not allow this sense of security and as such can lead to stress related behavior problems. 

The best cage shape is rectangular. And again, size is important so be sure to choose one that provides as much space as possible. Height and width are the most important dimensions to consider when choosing your rectangular cage. Width is most important for small birds such as love birds, budgies, cockatiels, finches etc. These birds enjoy moving/flying from one side of the cage to the other. Large parrots on the other hand, while also needing ample horizontal space to move around and spread their wings, also need a generous amount of vertical space in their cage to allow climbing. 

  • Dome vs. Play Top

Dome Top cages provide more space for your bird to climb and play.  They also allow for easier placement of toys and perches within the cage.

Play Top Cages have a play area built in to the top of the cage. This provides an out of cage play area for your bird. However, play top cages are not recommended for new bird owners as birds can become dominant and cage possessive when allowed to perch on top of their cage. 

It is super important to have an area for your bird to be out of their cage and feel a part of the family (flock) activities. We recommend a dome top cage and separate play stand that can be moved to whichever room the family is in. There are many styles of portable play stands available for all budgets. 

    • Door Size and Style
      • Do the cage doors make it ease to take your bird out/put them back?
      • Do the cage doors promote ease of access while at the same time prevent your bird from escaping?
      • Is it easy to access the food and water bowels from outside of the cage?
      • Are the cage doors large enough to allow easy cleaning of the inside of the cage?

    Bar Spacing & Orientation

    Bar spacing is often overlooked but is actually an incredibly important component to consider when choosing an appropriate cage. How to choose:

    1. The bars should be strong enough to not be broken or bent by your bird. Thickness and strength will differ depending on the size and species of your bird.
    2. The spacing between the bars should be such that your bird can not get their head stuck between them (happens more often than you think).

     Having a cage with both horizontal and vertical bars will allow ease of climbing and also provide more options when hanging toys.

    Please refer to our Cage Size Guide for recommendations as to species specific bar spacing.

    Safe Construction

    Ideally you want a cage that lasts the life of your bird. So choosing a cage that is well built and constructed using durable materials is important. Here are some materials you may find cages made of and the pros and cons of choosing them:

    Powder coated metal cages: These cages are common and can be found in many different styles and colors to suit your needs. They are durable, safe and relatively inexpensive considering that most powder coated metal cages will last.

    Stainless Steel cages: These will never rust or chip and are the safest, easiest to clean, most durable cages on the market. But they are also the most expensive. If you can afford a stainless steal cage and find one that is the right size and shape for your birds needs, it will be a wise investment.

    Acrylic cages: Can be visually appealing because there are no bars blocking your view of your bird. But since there are no bars, acrylic cages greatly reduce climbing capabilities. It has also been reported that acrylic cages are less durable than metal bar cages.

    Wooden Cages: Often look very beautiful but are more often than not the wrong choice for most species of birds. Any type of hookbill will easily chew through the wood and, eventually, out of the cage. This is obviously a safety issue for your bird but also a wasted financial investment. Your bird should not be able to break its cage. However, sometimes wooden cages can sometimes be okay for non-destructive bird species such as canaries and finches.

    NOTE* for those planning to build their own wooden cages or have one made by someone else. The wood must be dried and treated appropriately so as not to attract termites or parasites. The would must also be of a type, and treated, so that it is non-toxic to birds. Some chemicals used for staining and treating wood can be toxic to animals.

    Whether you choose a new or second hand cage it is important to thoroughly inspect it, check that:

    • Check all sides, connections, and fasteners.
    • There are no loose parts or accessible parts that a bird can disassemble?
    • The seams fit well
    • The welds smooth and rust free
    • The bars and welds are strong enough for your bird
    • The powder coat is in good condition and not flaking
    • The cage top securely fastened to the frame
    • The locks and or latches are working correctly
    • Your bird will not be able to escape when removing the tray

    Cage size guide

    Here is a guide for minimum cage size requirements for specific bird species. Remember this is the minimum, bigger (as long as the bar spacing stays the correct size) is always better.

    Bird Species Recommended Bar Spacing/Bar Diameter Minimum Internal Width
         
    Finch, Canary 1/4" - 1/2" 18"
    Parakeet, Parrotlet, Lovebird 1/2" 20"
    Alexandrine, Cockatiel, Conure, Caique, Quaker, Pionus, Senegal 5/8" - 3/4" (3mm) 24"
    African Grey, Amazon, Eclectus, Small Cockatoo, Mini Macaw 3/4" - 1" (4mm) 32"
    Large Cockatoo, Large Macaw 1" - 1 1/4" (5mm) 36"

     

     


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published