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Cage Selection: Questions About Bird Cages & Aviaries

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Cage Size Guide 
Bird Cages, How to Choose 
How to Accessorize Your Bird's Cage
for good health & great fun 

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Throughout the years, we've answered many questions on how to select the perfect bird cage. Here are answers to the key questions you should ask during your selection process.

How do I know which size cage to buy for my bird?
Choose cage size based on your bird's adult size. The cage must be large enough to allow your adult bird to spread his wings fully, climb freely, and sleep comfortably. For small birds like canaries, finches, and budgies, you need a cage that gives them ample room for flight. Please see our Cage Size Guide for recommendations.

Width between cage bars is also an important consideration. If bars are spaced too widely, your bird could escape or seriously injure himself. Plus, make sure the cage door is large enough to safely catch, remove, and replace your bird.

Most importantly, remember that bigger is always better – if you're "on the fence" between sizes, always select the larger cage.
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How important is my bird's activity level in selecting a cage?
Your bird's activity level should impact cage size and shape. If your bird is very active, like most small birds are, an aviary cage is a good choice. Its large size and ample width allow room for flight and social interaction. Beware of overly ornate/angular cages, which decrease flight area and safety. If your bird spends a lot of time outside of the cage, you could consider a playtop cage.
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What is a playtop cage?
A playtop sits atop a cage and includes attached ladders, toy hangers, or perches that allow safe out-of-cage play.
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Must I use a metal cage?
A metal cage (rather than plastic or wood) is almost always the best choice, since metal is extremely strong and durable, and easy to clean and disinfect.
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What else should I consider?
Your bird's cage should have a strong latch to prevent escape and/or injury. A sliding metal tray bottom is also beneficial, as it will dramatically simplify daily cleaning.
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What is an aviary cage?
Aviary cages are designed primarily to allow room for flight for a single or small group of smaller birds such as budgies, canaries, and finches. These large cages are also movable for easy indoor or outdoor use.
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Where should I locate my bird's cage?
Choose a bright, draft-free area. Birds that thrive on human interaction, such as cockatoos and parrots, usually enjoy active areas. Birds who prefer less human contact or interaction, such as canaries and zebra finches, generally prefer quieter areas.

Regardless of location, place the cage so your bird perches at your chest level. If placed too low, your bird will feel vulnerable; too high, and your bird will feel dominant to you.
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How much time should my bird spend out of the cage?
This depends on your bird's personality, your preferences, and your routine. If your bird enjoys spending time outside of his cage, does so without getting into trouble, and you're available to supervise him, then you can reserve his in-cage time exclusively for resting and sleeping.


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