Australians love their pets. Among the 24 million pets in Australia, almost 4.2 million of them are pet birds.
While these beautiful animals are often thought of as low maintenance, they have some fundamental requirements to keep them healthy and happy, and the size of their cage is one of the main determinants of their welfare.
While a cage can provide a safe refuge and home environment for pet birds, unfortunately most bird cages are far too small to allow birds to fly freely.
This means that the bird’s ability to exercise and to express its normal behaviour are severely restricted – and that’s bad news for its welfare.
Many cages sold commercially are simply too small for birds and don’t allow them enough space to fly.
Fortunately, working out the minimum size cage for your avian friend is both quick and easy.
To work out the minimum width and height of the cage, use the rule of threes.
The width of the cage should be at least three times the length of its wingspan, and this applies to all the birds in a cage. So if you have a pair of birds, the width of the cage should be three times the length of their combined wingspan.
The minimum height of the cage should be three times the length from the head to the tail of the bird.
As for the length, it should provide at least two wing beats between perches, and birds should be able to turn around on the perches without touching their tail feathers against the cage.
The best way to ensure that your bird has as much space as possible is by giving it regular access to the world outside its cage.
Regular opportunities to spread its wings in a flight aviary or a safe environment outside the cage, such as indoors, will not only make for a happier bird, it will also provide additional opportunity to bond with your feathered friend.
When letting your avian friend out for a fly, make sure that there are no potential dangers around such as moving ceiling fans, and that all doors and windows are closed.
Don’t be tempted to tether your bird, as this will restrict its movement and could cause an injury.
A bird’s cage can be a sanctuary when it’s not confined to it permanently. Making sure that your feathered friend always has access to clean, fresh water, and a nutritious and varied diet is essential.
Suitable perches are another essential part of any bird cage. As birds are both social and clever, they need toys and other enrichment items to keep them entertained. More information can be found here.
So, with a little bit of imagination – and a measuring tape – you can ensure that your pet bird has enough space to move and the best chance at a bird-eautiful life.
- This article was provided by the RSPCA, an independent, non-government community-based charity providing animal care and protection services. The RSPCA relies on donations from the public in order to carry out its work. You can donate online or call 1300 RSPCA1.