One of the basics of bird ownership is providing your pet with adequate living space. With all the different sizes, colors, and models of bird cages today, it's easy to become overwhelmed when shopping for a home for your pet. Although it seems there are endless choices when it comes to the types of bird cages available, there are a few simple guidelines you can remember that will make the process of choosing one much easier.
Location and Placement
The first of these rules is to decide where your bird's cage will be located, and shop based on what will work with the area you have set aside. The area should be away from windows and drafts, yet in an active part of your home to encourage your pet's social development.
Choosing the Right Size
Next, of course, is to keep the size of your bird in mind. While it is perfectly fine to keep a Finch or Canary in a small space, larger birds need larger cages, and it is always better to buy the largest cage you possibly can for your bird. Keeping a bird in a cage that's too small can lead to undesirable behaviors such as screaming, biting, psychological disorders, and feather plucking, to name a few. A good cage should be large enough for your bird to walk around comfortably, and fully extend and flap her wings. Don't forget to take into account the space that will be lost when you add your bird's perches, food bowls, and toys! Consult your avian veterinarian for recommended cage sizes for your particular species.
Another thing to look at when selecting a cage is the bar spacing. Smaller birds, such as parakeets and lovebirds, require cages with bars no more than a half inch apart, to prevent them from squeezing through or becoming stuck between the bars. Many bird owners have been surprised to find that their pets are quite the little escape artists! Those who own larger birds should look for bars that are placed horizontally rather than vertically, to give your bird a means of climbing and exercise.
Shape and Style
The style of the cage is also an important factor. According to some veterinarians, round cages have been found to be detrimental to birds' psychological health, so angled cages are preferable. Many of these cages can either be hung or placed on a stand, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate any species of pet bird.
Quality and Craftsmanship
Assess the overall quality of a bird cage before you buy it. Does the cage appear sturdy and solid? Are there any loose parts or sharp edges? The best cages are made of stainless steel, which is non-toxic, easy to clean, and will not chip. The primary function of a bird's cage is to protect it - make sure that your bird's home does not pose any hazards to his health and well-being.
A properly designed bird cage normally gives bird and owner many years of use and enjoyment. You should remember that your bird will spend a great deal of time in his cage, and much like us, will appreciate some decorations to look at! Fill your bird's cage with colorful toys, perches, and accessories to ensure that he is well entertained. With a little planning and careful decision making, you should be able to choose a cage that will meet all your expectations while providing your bird a safe, sturdy, and secure living space.
Photo (c) 2005 Alyson Burgess licensed to About.com, Inc.