How to pick a bird cage

April 25th, 2009

Tweety Never Had It This Good

If you visit any pet store these days, you’ll find a large selection of birdcages to choose from.  The sizes will vary from very small to extremely large, and can come in different colors, materials and styles – not to mention accessories.  Choosing the right birdcage however, is a relatively simple process if you are able to narrow it down by what you are looking for and then decide on accessories and style.

Don’t let the multitude of sizes fool you – birdcages can be broken down into three very simple sizes: small, medium and large.  The size you want depends entirely upon the bird that you are getting it for.  You’ll want to make sure that your bird has enough room to move around in, play and exercise as well as ensuring that you don’t get a birdcage that you simply can’t find a place in your house for – because it is too big.

Birds that require a large cage, one that actually may have to clear a corner of a room for, are Parrots, Cocatoos, Macaws, African Grays, Amazons, Toucans, Alexandrine Parakeets, Congos and Electus birds.  These birds require a large cage because they need room to stretch and exercise and feel as if they have a lot of room to move around in.  The large birdcages are generally around the same height as a person, and perhaps 3-5 feet in diameter.  You’ll want to make sure that your large birdcage has at least an inch between the bars, to avoid injury to your bird.

Medium sized birdcages are perfect for Caiques, Senegals, Weavers, Cockatiels, Miniature Macaws and Conures.  The bar spacing on these cages should be around a ½ inch.  These cages stand about chest high or a bit smaller.  A good indicator is to look for a cage that is about ½ the size of the large cages mentioned above.

Small bird cages are the most common and are from the size of a 27” Television to the size of a small microwave.  The thing to keep in mind here is that your small birds can squeeze out of bars that are too wide so start with ½ an inch, and look for bars more closely spaced than that for smaller birds or birds that have a proclivity for escape.  Small cages are great for Finches, Parakeets, Budgies, Canaries or Doves. 

Once you have selected the right size for your bird, you’ll need to think about a few other things.  One is door placement.  If your bird is a social bird, you may want the door to be on the side for easily putting your hand in and handling the bird.  If your bird is a pecker than you may want to have a door at the top so that you can have a bit more room to maneuver should your bird not appreciate your hand being in his or her cage. 

Another thing to consider is that type of top you want on your cage.  Again, depending on your bird’s habits and personality you may want to let him or her roam free at times, or to be able to at least leave the cage to have a bit more freedom.  Play Top birdcages offer birds the most freedom, and are generally distinguished by a perch bar or some other type of toy on the top of the cage.  Alternatively, if your bird is trustworthy, or in a location where giving him or her some freedom will not result in a chase down the sidewalk, you may want to consider an Open Top cage.  The open top cages allow you to open a door specifically for your bird to exit through if desired, to fly around the room, play on the outside of the cage, or interact with you.  If your bird is difficult to catch, or doesn’t require the freedom or interaction of people then you may want to stick with the standard Closed Top cage.

Some specialized bird cages exist for specific purposes should you desire.  If you’re breeding birds, then you may want to consider a dual breeders birdcage, which allows you to put birds in separately, then lift a door to allow them to interact, and hopefully, to breed.  These cages can be a bit more expensive than regular cages, but are invaluable if you need to control your breeding birds more than regular birds that are kept as pets.

A popular type of birdcage for those that can afford it, is the Flight birdcages which are generally quite a bit larger than the regular cages and offer several perches and feeders for multiple birds.  These type of cages are intended to give your birds the ability to fly from perch to perch, and to have two or more birds in a cage.  The most expensive type of cages are Aviary Cages, which are designed to give your birds the maximum opportunity for flight, privacy and social interaction, while simulating the bird’s natural environment as closely as possible.

If your just keeping a bird as a pet, then a regular cage should be just fine.  Read up on your birds habits and get to know his or her personality a bit to allow you to decide if you want to allow your bird a Play Top or Open Top style of cage.  The cage you choose should be one that is roomy enough for your bird, has the proper bar spacing, and one that you are comfortable using – as far as the feeder, waterer and door locations are.  If you are still unsure, consult a book on your specific breed and find out where they are most comfortable and what their needs are.  The most important thing you can do however, is choose a cage that both you and your bird are comfortable with.  This will ensure that both of you get years of enjoyment from each other’s company.