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Housing

The aviary

  • Provide an indoor perching and sleeping area and enough room for outdoor flight. This may include plants or such trees as willow, birch, or eucalyptus. Select these with care because many garden plants are poisonous.
  • The dimensions will vary with the sizes and numbers of birds to be housed, but a flight area should be long and narrow rather than square-shaped.
  • For safety reasons, the aviary should have double doors.
  • If you plan to build an aviary outdoors, you may need to obtain a building permit from the local authority.
  • Mixing different species of birds, such as finches, budgerigars, and lovebirds, is not recommended because the birds may fight.

The cage

  • Cages are more practical in a classroom or ECE setting than an aviary is. A cage should be large enough for the bird to be able to extend its wings without touching the sides of the cage and to perch without its tail touching the floor. The average-sized cage for budgerigars and finches is 60 centimetres × 60 centimetres × 50 centimetres high.
  • Birds feel more secure if their cage has mesh bars on only one side and the other three sides are solid. This also reduces draughts. However, many ready-made cages are open on all sides. One way to fix this is to put the cage in a corner or to provide a small cardboard or wooden box inside the cage for the bird to hide in. Cage covers are useful for open cages to provide security and to protect birds from draughts.
  • The cage and its contents should be easy to clean and made out of non-toxic material. Psittacine birds, such as parrots and budgerigars, will chew wooden cages. Line the cage with paper towels, other plain paper, or newsprint but take care with newspaper because some birds may chew it.
  • As most birds normally spend their time flying or perching in trees above human height, the cage should be placed well above ground level at human head height or higher.

Cleaning

  • Replace the cage lining daily.
  • Wipe out the cage and wash food and water holders weekly.

Perches

  • The perch should be a clean, comfortable place for the bird to stand on. Providing a perch of differing diameters helps to exercise the bird's feet.
  • Plastic and wooden dowels are easy to keep clean, but they are not as good as replaceable natural branches. Remember that many garden plants are poisonous. Apple tree branches are suitable.
  • Do not use sandpaper-covered perches because they can be abrasive and make the bird's feet prone to infection.
  • Place perches so that droppings do not contaminate food and water and so that the bird's tail does not touch the floor or food containers when it is sitting on the perch.
  • Finches need two perches, one at each end of the cage. As most budgerigars are agile climbers, a single well-placed perch may be adequate.

Toys

  • Birds of the parrot family are active and intelligent. Toys provide them with mental activity and relief from boredom as well as encouraging exercise and beak activities. Lone budgerigars may form a bond with a toy and try to feed it.
  • Toys should be safe. The ideal toys are hanging chains, bells, keys, swings, and mirrors. Other safe items that promote natural beak activities are pine cones, clothes pegs, and egg cartons.
  • Limit the number of toys in the cage at any one time. Keep them clean and rotate them to maintain the bird's interest. Replace toys that are infrequently used.

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