Cleaning a Cage for Bird Health

by James Maynard | August 26th, 2014 | Birds, Care
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yellowbirdCleaning a bird cage is one of the most important things a companion to a feathered animal can do to keep her avian friend healthy.

Birds are clean animals, quickly and effectively removing dirt, debris and waste from their feathers. Some avians spend up to one-third of their waking hours preening themselves and other birds in their group. Water birds also protect their feathers from the moisture through this cleaning. However, their cage is another story, becoming the responsibility of their human partners.

Ammonia is released anytime bird poop is cleaned from a cage. This gas is dangerous for both humans and avians and should be avoided. When cages need a deep cleaning, it is advisable to move the bird to another room, and open windows, to provide adequate ventilation. The animal should not be returned to her cage until well after the smell of ammonia has left the air.

Enzyme-based detergents are available for cleaning cages and are highly-effective. Human companions to birds who prefer natural cleaners can use vinegar, diluted with water, to safely and effectively clean the enclosures.

Food and water dishes for birds need to be cleaned regularly. Dishes that hold dry food should be washed twice a week, while wet food plates need to be cleaned twice a day. Water should be changed two times each day and rinsed each time it is re-filled.

Mutual preening is a great way to keep a bird friend healthy and create a bonding experience been an avian and his human friend. It is possible to initiate the process by running a finger against the lay of the bird’s feathers. Unlike cats and dogs, birds do not enjoy having their coats smoothed against their bodies. While this is happening, human partners should be careful to watch body language of the birds. If the animal leans in toward the person’s hand, she is likely enjoying the preening. Pulling away from the action indicates the animal is uncomfortable with the action.

Paper should not be placed on the floor of bird cages, as the animals will often pick at the soft layers, ruining the layer and potentially becoming ill. Paper bags can be used, provided they are made from non-toxic materials.

Birds are extremely sensitive to smells and vulnerable to injury caused by toxic vapors. There is a reason for the term “canary in a coal mine.”

A clean bird cage is essential for a bird to live a long, healthy life. People keeping these animals can keep the enclosures sanitary with just 15 to 20 minutes of work each day.

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