Pet birds spend a lot of their time in cages, so it’s essential to know whether they like being inside them and how to make the cage as pleasant an experience as possible. It’s also important to know how much time a bird needs outside the cage.
So, do pet birds like being in cages?
Pet birds don’t always like being in cages. They do appreciate a cage that’s filled with food, water, toys, and perches and like to roost in cages, but they also need plenty of time outside of it. Give your bird at least one long break outside the cage a day for physical and mental development.
Why Pet Birds Don’t Always Like Being in Cages
While pet birds are happy to rest in their cages, they also need plenty of active time outside the cage, at least a few hours each day.
This idea is critical both for their physical health and for their mental health.
Time outside the cage is an excellent opportunity for exercise, enrichment, and interaction.
To promote the best health and well-being possible for your birds, ensure that you provide safe experiences outside the cage.
Set up a cage that’s as comfortable as possible, good for sleep, and has plenty of fresh food and water.
How To Safely Let Your Bird Out of the Cage
Your bird needs at least one extended break outside the cage each day, lasting several hours. This time allows your bird to adjust to the new environment.
With only short breaks, a bird may remain apprehensive rather than exploratory.
Some of the time your bird spends out of the cage should be interactive because birds have social, mental, and physical needs.
But if you bird-proof your home correctly, you can let your bird roam free while you’re otherwise busy without worrying.
When bird-proofing a room, follow these tips:
- Make sure that all sharp items are secured.
- Don’t let your bird into the kitchen when the stove is hot.
- Hide cleaning materials and other dangerous chemicals.
- Secure all windows and escape routes.
- Remove poisonous plants.
- Keep other pets away if they’re not safe for the bird to be around.
- Put away or close any open containers of water, which birds could drown in.
- Close doors to cabinets and closets that a bird could get trapped in.
- Remove or secure blinds, which birds can tangle themselves in.
Don’t forget to set up perches, toys, and mirrors for your bird outside the cage. These items give your bird plenty to explore and discover during its free time.
How To Set Up Your Bird’s Cage
Birds will often return to their cages to eat and to sleep and enjoy the time that they spend there so long as they don’t feel trapped.
You can do several things to make your bird more comfortable with the cage, from providing toys to play with to preparing it properly for roosting.
The first thing that you need to do to make your bird’s cage more comfortable is to choose one that’s large enough for your bird’s breed.
A good rule of thumb is to allow as much space as you have for a birdcage, but this is especially important if you have large birds.
Secondly, provide several perches — varied in width and texture — so your bird’s feet aren’t kept curled in the same position all day long.
Make sure that your cage is still big enough for your bird to stretch its wings as well, even after adding all toys and perches.
Toys are the next important thing to include in your bird’s cage. Try to include puzzle toys, chew toys, mirrors, bells, and toys made of ropes.
Have about ideally three to five toys in the cage.
You’ll also need to make sure that the cage you buy has horizontal bars for climbing, at least on some part of the cage.
Vertical bars are also okay but don’t allow for as much mobility.
Food and Water
Birdcages often come with built-in trays for food and water, but there are downsides to these. A tray that sits at the bottom of the cage will catch empty hulls from seeds that your bird ate.
Be careful not to mistake the tray of empty hulls for a tray full of seeds. Installing upright feeders is an excellent way to keep that mistake from happening.
Birds will often leave droppings and other debris in their water, and bacteria can grow in a water dish that’s left for several days. If you do use a water tray, change the water twice a day.
Using a water bottle instead of a water tray is a good way to ensure that the water stays clean and fresh for longer, but these still need cleaning and changing regularly.
To ensure that your bird can comfortably roost in its cage, make sure that the cage is in a low-traffic area of the house with minimal noise, where it’s dark for about 10 to 12 hours per night.
There are several things that to do each night to prepare your bird’s cage for sleep. Before your bird settles in for the night, remove any leftover food and replace the liner in the cage.
Once your bird is in the cage for the night, check the latch to ensure it’s secure.
Once your bird is in for the night, you can make it more comfortable by adding a cage cover like a blanket or towel that blocks out light, at least over part of the cage.
This cover prevents the bird from being awakened or startled during the night.
How To Coax Your Bird Back Into the Cage
Despite needing time outside the cage, it’s also vital that you train your bird to return to the cage every day.
This skill ensures that your bird is safe when it can’t be supervised, like when you’re away from home or when you’re preoccupied.
The following tips will help you bring your bird back to the cage after it’s been exploring:
- Calm yourself down when you’re trying to bring your bird back to the cage. The bird will read your emotions, and if you become frantic, your bird will become more energized and harder to bring back to the cage. Speak softly and move slowly to calm yourself and your bird.
- Teach your bird that when it goes back to its cage, it’ll receive a treat. Do this by practicing a command to send your bird back to its cage and then reward the behavior with a treat.
- Teach your bird to fly up to your hand on cue, using treats as a reward system. This cue will allow you to earn trust and carry your bird back to the cage when necessary. While you do this, you can place one hand over the bird’s back to prevent it from flying off. Start this behavior slowly and gently to avoid coming across as threatening.
- Birds will naturally climb up ladders when placed at the bottom of one. Putting a ladder on the floor that leads to the cage is an excellent way to coax it back into the cage. You can incentivize this even more by putting a treat in the cage and teaching your bird to associate climbing the ladder with a specific command.
Pet birds don’t always like being in cages, although they can tolerate a cage to roost, eat, drink, and play.
You can make life inside the cage more tolerable by providing perches, mirrors, bells, and other toys and making sure that the cage is big enough for the bird to stretch and move. Additionally, time outside the cage is critical.