Perches -food cups and Water
Perches occasionally need replaced. Actually, I encourage my birds to destroy their perches because they seem to enjoy doing so and It provides yet another activity in the cage. It is part of what is called "enrichment". (Simply put: More activities, less boredom.) However, replacing perches can be difficult.
What type of wood? There are many lists posted on the internet. My personal advice to add is: Don't use woods with sticky sap. Don't use woods that you might be allergic to.
What diameter? Generally, my rule of thumb is the average diameter should equal the bar spacing of the cage. This doesn't always work,(a large bird can be put into a cage with small barspacing. What you need is two things: variation and an average diameter where the foot wraps 2/3 of the perch. Nowhere should the foot be allowed to completely wrap the perch to the extent that toenails are allowed to stab other toes. Don't use dowels or plastic tube without some kind of variation.
Cutting to length. Most of the time, when you order or cut your own perches they are not the right length. Fixing them to your cage securely and in the location you want them can be a real hassle. So, I have come up with a solution that solves most of the headache. My inexpensive PERCH CLAMP system allows:
Perches to be cut to an approximate length.
adds shock absorbance
Provides extra toy hangers
Best locations and How many Ok. The more your bird can do in the cage the better. Here is a partial list of "events" that can take place in a cage. You want to set up the perches so that as many as possible can occur.
Short flight. Flapping This is not always possible and it requires the prime cage space. (upper central) Two perches, parallel, at the right distance apart.
No toys in the way. No obstructions at all. Start with them close together and gradually increase the distance. Realistically, this will not work with most caged birds but if you can make it work it will be a big advantage to keep the breast muscles big. If a bird gets sick, its usually too late and having large breast muscles may give them the stamina to recover.
Hoping Many birds will consider hoping risky and simply walk or clamber to move around in a cage. Encourage hoping by providing parallel perches at the correct distance. Don't over do it though, too many perches means more cleaning and less open space. The important thing is one place to hop across. hop up, hop down, hop to food and hop to you.
The Roost Usually, bird will seek a secluded spot to roost. Most likely it will be high up in the cage. Provide a small comfortable perch in a private part of the cage as high as you can.
The Warm Spot and Preening Very important! A light with a 60 Watt bulb, aimed directly at a comfortable perch. If cold, wet or simple feeling a little down, he'll have a "place in the sun". Also, a light provides visual beauty to the cage and bird. Place the light close enough so that when you place your hand in the "warm Spot" you can immediately feel the heat.
Food, water, grit etc. I now recommend the food cup be placed in the lower section of the cage. The idea is to get them to use more of the cage. More exorcize more play space up top. Although I think birds would rather have their food up top and It is more convenient for you, a better way is to increase activity and not make it comfortable. That's right, Wild birds have to work for their food. This is part of the "enrichment" philosophy that many zoos are using today. It tends to keep the animal in a more natural, healthy mental state. I provide a "utility corner" that has water, grit and a calcium chew. The water is dispensed from a Hamster type bottle and the whole ensemble is tucked up under a rest shelf. (not easy to get to but is visited often and provides uncontaminated water.)
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