Paint and Cages

Paint has 3 basic components:

Binder

Pigment

Solvent

The BINDER is the "glue" that holds the pigment together and the solvent keeps it liquid until you need it.
The SOLVENT (the smell) can kill. What ever type of paint you decide to use, DO NOT GET YOUR BIRD NEAR THE SOLVENT! Paint in a ventilated area away from birds. The solvent is gone when there is no more smell. But, NEVER cover a bird in a freshly painted cage. Even if you can't smell it any more. Once the paint has completely dried, the solvent is no longer a threat.
The PIGMENT is the color. Pigment can effect the properties of the paint, and certain colors may not be available in some types of paint. Metals like lead are sometimes added to paint to gain certain properties. Do not use paints containing lead, chromate or other metals.

What kind of paint do I use?

I use a paint called "INSTANT dark gray lacquer primer surfacer #3257"
Click here to get the technical data and mixing instructions.

It is lead, zinc and chromate free.
It is a paint formulated to bond with the metal surface. (high adhesion)
It can be applied in a thin coat.
It is generally easy to work with.
It dries very fast.
It has the tendency to wear rather than chip and form flakes.
The color (Black) is a good choice because it will blend with the natural petina of the steel, greatly extending the time it will look good.
It's available at NAPA Auto Parts (just about everywhere)

THIN coat of paint is better. Less paint, less paint problems. All coatings will eventually come off. Thin coatings will be easier to patch or remove. also the flakes or chips will be smaller and more likely to break up and pass if ingested. Birds will often "work" a chipped area of their cage as a pastime. Birds put things inside themselves to help grind their food. Large, thick and hard chips will be more likely to cause an intestinal blockage.
Much of the cage industry today uses a "Powder Coat" system. They advertise it is easy to clean and supper hard. It may be easier to clean but, I don't use powder coat on my cages. The chip problem gets much worse with a very hard material. Powder coat is not paint. It is a thermoplastic. Chips will not break up and and be more likely to cause intestinal blockages. It is also difficult to repair. It is melted on to the cage at aprox. 300 degrees. Powder Coat can be less of a threat with some birds, but I don't recommend it for hook bills.

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