This Blog is written by Sophie Williams our North of England Sales Manager, an experienced bird keeper and pet shop owner, who has a vast amount of experience with exotic animals and birds.
Choosing a Cage
Given time to plan for our new bird’s arrival, thinking about the best cage is an important decision, one that may stay with us for 10, 20, 30 years or more. There are so many factors to consider and so here we will try and give comment for the most important points to think about.
Type of Bird
We have so many choices when it comes to bird species these days, even some of the more rare species are often freely available as potential companions. From the popular Budgerigar to the unusual Cape Parrot, Zebra Finch to Hawk Head Parrot – breeders and specialist bird pet shops make available to us pet birds that can be the most rewarding yet often challenging of companions we will ever encounter. We will have often researched which bird to buy or re-home, taking opinion from other bird keepers or maybe had birds in the past and are coming back to bird keeping after a break. Breeders and bird pet shops will be able to guide us when thinking about the type of bird – size, length of life expectancy, noise and diet – all important factors when choosing a bird that may spend decades with us. Once decided, then take some time to prepare for your new bird and finding the best cage is something we should consider carefully.
What can we afford to spend? We may have committed a few pounds up to several thousand pounds on the pet bird of choice so now we can focus on the cage. For a smaller bird like a Budgerigar then a smaller budget will work, perhaps £30 upwards for something big enough to get started. Think about if your bird will have much time out of the cage, for example, for us at Sky pet Products office we have three pet birds sharing our world. Two of them have cages and the third a Java tree. The two with cages spend all day out of their cages and are free to move around the room – their cages are smaller than those you might give to a bird spending many hours in the cage each day. Will the bird be able to live freely for more than 4 hours each day? That said, birds will get used to using this time to exercise and then when back in the cage, sleep and feed for much of the time, play with toys and relax by watching the world.
If you have a bird the size of a Sun Conure or Senegal Parrot then the price point will be between £75 and £200. It is always good to think about budget versus space, there is no such thing as a cage that is “too big” as far as the bird is concerned – the bigger the better, but there are obviously other things to consider, So try to give your bird as much space to live that your budget and home will allow.
Rainforest Puerto Rica Rainforest Santa Fe
Choice of Cage
Depending on species, the cage you choose might need door locks that offer extra levels of security – some birds will make it their mission to open any door they can! For our Rainforest Cages range we ensure spring loaded door locks are fitted to feeder doors and a clock face lock for the front door. For most birds this will ensure they are kept safely in the cage – remember there are always exceptions, we have seen birds like Corellas open the most secure and complex of doors from time to time so pay attention to the birds interest in the locks so we can avoid coming home to an escapee loose in the house! Within our Liberta Cages range the locks are more simple in design and sometimes seen as more easy to open for birds in the cage – saying this usually we see no escape issues but something to consider when choosing a new cage.
Rainforest Cages Liberta Cages
Typically we see two popular styles of cage – play top with an area for the bird to use at the top of the cage, with feeding/water bowls, perches and ladders. Secondly a dome top, a cage with a traditional cage roof that may open for a perch to be fitted or simply to allow flight from the cage. Play top cages usually have a roof top litter tray, this does make the cage darker underneath however the tray can usually be removed to allow light below without compromising the cage.
Rainforest Santos Dome Rainforest Santos Play
The key things to remember are to buy a cage that at least allows the bird to stand and turn within the cage without its tail being obstructed, spend as much money as you can to buy the largest cage you can accommodate in your home and take advice from the bird shop or breeder to the style of cage that best suits your bird.
Perhaps the most important matter when thinking about a bird cage – we are warned to consider if the paint is safe, that the zinc and lead levels are low. Paints will have trace all elements of both zinc and lead, what is important is to be assured that the levels are tested and low, to the point of being non harmful if the bird was to ingest the paint particles. The paint we use for both Rainforest Cages and Liberta Cages is tested regularly to ensure the paint is safe to use – routine testing for us takes place every 3 months and we ensure the same mixtures are used from established regular suppliers.
The paint process is called powder coating – a process where the paint is attracted to the metal cage panels by running an electric charge through the wire panels/parts. The paint when applied is in dry powder form and melts to the metal frame on contact. Imagine the cage panels passing through a cloud of small particles and those particles being sucked onto the wire panel. This process makes the paint powder coating stick very well to the cage and makes the removal of paint very difficult and almost impossible for most birds.
Some other brand cages we see on the market are painted in the traditional way, painted wet onto the cage panels. This often results in the paint later flaking from the cage panels and making it easy for a parrot to pick pieces from the cage panels.