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General Bird Care Tips

May 17, 2013

birdA clean cage goes a long way to help keep your bird healthy and happy.

Use a small, hand vacuum for quick cleanups. Vacuum or sweep up feathers at least once each day.

Keep perches free of dried droppings to help avoid illness and sore feet. Scrape the perches. Clean with sandpaper. A putty knife can also be used to loosen the debris from the perch.

Disinfect perches in bleach and dry them in the sun.  It is best to use bleach outside, away from your bird as their respiratory tract is very sensitive and bleach fumes can cause significant irritation.  Make sure perches are completely dry and free of fumes before replacing them in your bird’s cage.

Remove any dried food or droppings from cage bars daily.  Scrub and disinfect the entire cage once weekly.  Dish soap works well for cleaning.  You may also use products such as diluted bleach or quaternary ammonias, however these should be used in a well ventilated area, far away from your bird as fumes from these chemicals can be harmful to your bird.  Rinse cage bars well and make sure it is completely dry before putting your bird back in the cage.

If is not tame, buy a spare cage to transfer it to while you clean the primary cage.

Change paper on cage bottoms every day.

Your bird probably enjoys music as much as you do. Tune in a favorite radio station, especially when you are away from the house.

Tie undyed leather shoelaces into complicated knots, and then hang this toy from the top of the cage. will love untying the knots and chewing on the leather.

Paper towel or toilet paper rolls make excellent and economical bird toys.  You can also try hiding a favorite treat inside with paper towel or newspaper blocking each end to make these toys even more interesting.

Foraging toys are an excellent way to provide exercise and mental stimulation.  There are many commercially available foraging toys for birds of all sizes.  They can also be made at home as well.  Please see the Gabriel Foundation’s Parrot Enrichment Activity Book by Kris Porter for detailed instructions to make your own toys at

Allow plenty of supervised playtime outside the cage every day.

Do not offer foods or drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate or coffee. Caffeine is potentially toxic to birds.

Add chili peppers to diet. There are many varieties; they are nutritious and most birds enjoy them.

Watch closely for any of the following signs of illness

Written by Dr. Julie Yeager