10 Tips to Set Up the Perfect Bird Cage for Your Parakeets
If you are planning on adding a bird to your home than a parakeet (also known as a budgie) may be a perfect choice. These small sized parrots make delightful pets that are gentle and easy to tame. Parakeets are playful, active and a popular choice for pet birds. However, bear in mind that they do require mental stimulation, so its best to get them in pairs. Also, your feathered companion will need significant time outside the cage to spend with you since you don’t want him to feel alone or get depressed.
If you have decided on getting a parakeet, then you will need to do some preparations before bringing the new feathered companion home. The most important one is setting up a comfortable cage. Well, if you are a beginner then these tips can help you know about parakeet cage setup as well as understand what your parakeet needs to feel cozy in his new home:
1. Size of the Cage
The most crucial factor that affects the comfort of the bird is the size. While purchasing a cage keep in mind that the length needs to be a significant consideration since parakeets fly horizontally. The minimum length should be around 20 – 24 inches, with the depth and width being 18 inches. However, I would recommend you to buy the largest cage size you can find for your parakeet mainly if you are getting a pair. The length of a parakeet cage for accommodating a couple of birds should be about 30 inches or more with the depth and height being the same. Also, ensure that the cage is big enough for your parakeet to turn around and spread his wings.
2. Bar Spacing
As far as your parakeet’s safety is concerned, bar spacing is an essential factor for consideration. For small-sized parrots like parakeets, the space between adjacent bars should be ½ inch. If the bars are far apart, then there is a very high risk of your parakeet getting his head stuck between the bars. Your bird may also be able to escape out of the cage and roam around the house without supervision which is highly dangerous. So always check the appropriate bar spacing to keep your bird safe.
3. The material of the Cage
Don’t get a cage made out of toxic metals such as Zinc, Lead or Brass. The ones made out of soft materials like wood or bamboos are also useless since the bird can chew through it. The best option is to buy a stainless steel bird cage as it won’t rust and is strong and durable.
4. What Type of Perches to Add
Since birds are always on their feet, it is essential to have perches of different widths inside the cage as adjusting to these will aid in keeping the parakeet’s joints flexible and prevent foot problems. Different varieties are available in the market; the common types include rope perches that are flexible and can be made to acquire any configuration. Wood perches are also a great option to provide a variety of textures and contours that will encourage your parakeet to explore his living space. As an added advantage, consider a pedi perch that will help keep the nails trimmed.
5. Where to Hang the Perches?
Since birds feel secure resting on the higher perches, initially hang them around mid-level of the cage otherwise your parakeet will only rest on the top ones thereby not making sufficient use of his living space. Once he explores the cage and gets comfortable, you may move these to the top. For a group of parakeets there should be at least one perch for each bird but make sure it doesn’t make the cage seem too crowded.
6. Cuttlebone and Mineral Block
These two are inexpensive tools that are quite beneficial for your bird. These will help fulfill your parakeet’s nutrient requirements and keep his beak trimmed. Add these to the sides of the cage to prevent them from getting soiled.
7. Cage Bedding
You will need some absorbent bedding material for your parakeet’s cage. There are multiple cage bedding litters available in the market. However, a newspaper or paper towels will do best since they are cheap, easy to use and clean. Don't use ads with glossy inks that may be toxic or other unsafe materials such as corncobs or pine and cedar shavings.
8. Toys to Include
Parakeets require mental stimulation, so you need to get some toys for your new bird before bringing him home. When choosing toys, look for what the birds love to do in the wild. You can hang these toys in the space between perches at the top. Since parrots like chewing, toys that provide this opportunity are beneficial. Get something with loose strands to stimulate the preening activity of your bird. These toys are crucial for parakeets that are housed alone as they help keep them busy preventing feather plucking and relieving anxiety. Some options for preening toys include braided streamers, swinging perch, hanging tassels, etc. Other favorites include bells, swings, ladders, hoops, and balls. Adding all different types of toys at once may crowd the cage so keep switching them every week, it will also keep your parakeet interested.
9. Food and Water Bowls
You will need to add three different bowls, one for seeds, the other for water and the last one for fresh vegetables and fruits. To prevent the food dishes from getting dirty place them away from the perches. However, since birds feel unsafe on the ground, clip these dishes to the side of the cage instead of placing them on the bottom. For a group of parakeets, there should be at least one dish for each bird.
10. Bathing Dishes
Parakeets like to splash around in the water so providing a bath inside the cage will be a good idea. If you don’t include a proper bathing dish, your parakeet may dip himself in the water bowl and contaminate it with droppings. There are various types of parakeet baths available, these can be clipped to the cage sides and will help your parakeet cool off.
Danica Boyd is a bird enthusiast and nature lover. She has been keeping pet birds for several years and now has tons of practical experience in caring for birds. She writes for the team behind BirdCagesNow.Com