A more complete cage cleaning should be done as necessary. This may be once a week or every two months, depending on the size and style of the cage and the number of birds housed within.
I like the Hoei type cages - those with a plastic bottom that snaps onto the wire top. These have a built-in sliding tray also of plastic and usually a grate as well. They are very easy to clean. All you have to do is pop off the bottom and wash it in the sink or tub. A mixture of bleach and water (about 1 part bleach to 8 parts water) is a great disinfectant. Be sure to rinse well and dry completely before putting the bird back.
Cages often cost more than the bird to be housed inside. Sometimes you can find a good deal on a used cage at a pet shop. Yard sales are another possible source. No matter how clean they appear, disinfect before using. Use bleach and water, as described above, and apply to the entire cage. Rinse well and dry thoroughly before placing bird inside.
The cage should be located around people, in a well-ventilated area but out of drafts. It's best not to place cages in front of windows due to the possibility of drafts and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
It's important to have the cage ready before you get the bird home. Don't make a new bird sit in the box for an hour while you get something set up. Plan ahead and it will be less stressful for both you and the bird.
When it is time to place the bird into his new home, do so with as little fuss as possible. If you can, place the box or carrier up to the door and allow him to enter on his own. If you have to catch him, do it as quickly as you are able. Leave him alone in his new cage for a few hours to get used to it. You may watch from a distance to see how he reacts, but give him some space. Some birds, especially handfed babies, settle right in and waste no time in checking things out. Others are scared and may sit like a statue for hours. If left alone, they too will eventually check out their new surroundings.
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Anita M. Golden
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