© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

My Cage is My Home

  Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. I don't know about you, but when my little friends have been out and are ready to go back in their cage, I always ask them if they are ready to back to their house. It seems when you think of a birdcage in this way it takes on a new meaning. I'd like to discuss how to make a cage a home. One of the most important aspects of a home is the architecture. What is the cage made of? If it's painted, the paint must be non-toxic. Horizontal bars allow easy climbing; however birds do seem to enjoy sliding down the vertical bars like little monkeys. Bar spacing is important. If the bird can get its head between the bars it's too wide. 5/8" to 1" is a preferable bar spacing for most conures. Make sure the wires do not come together in tight spaces where wings and feet might get caught. Some of the fancy designs are attractive for us to look at, but have hidden dangers. Round cages are not preferable. Besides being difficult to hang toys in, they are not designed for a bird's comfort. Birds like to have corners for security. Feeder cups need to be easily accessible to both you and your friend, and they need to be big enough to hold the necessary amount of food and water. A pull out tray is a must for easier cleaning. Some people prefer not to use grates. A lot of my little guys love to play on the bottom of their house, and grates just aren't fun to roll around on. They also love to play hide and seek under the papers. Of course, this means you need to change the papers more often. Size is important! At the very least, birds need to be able to comfortably spread and flap their wings. Conures in particular love to play and are little acrobats; they need, and love, to climb. And you will want to have plenty of space to hang toys and treats. Being the clowns conures are, they love their toys. Door size is another important consideration. It needs to be large enough for your friend to easily go in and out, and an adequate latch is necessary to keep all those Houdini's at home! Cage location can also make a happy conure. They love to see you and be where the action is. They are stimulated by the sights and sounds of family interaction, and need to be included. Being near a window is fun, too, to be able to watch all those outside critters and get needed sunshine. Be careful that there is always shade provided to keep from overheating our little buddies. Some people provide more than one house. These are place know as "bed and breakfast", the "fun house", the "vacation house". If you place a house outside, make sure it is safe from predators and direct sunlight, and latches securely. Now it's time to decorate. You know how your feet get tired from standing in the same shoes, in the same place for a long period of time? Our birds need to exercise their feet to keep them in shape. This can be accomplished with different size perches and different textures. Rope perches are a good example of interesting texture and differing size. These perches give the feet a good exercise with the smaller and larger diameter of the coiled rope. Branches collected from your trees are great for differing texture and size. Just make sure the trees have not been sprayed with an insecticide, which could be harmful to your bird. If you prefer to use the normal dowel perch, use a couple of different diameters. You can also sand or file these to add texture. Perches need to give ready access to food and water bowls, being careful not to place any over the bowls. Concrete perches are good for grooming nails, but not for a central perch. Can you imagine standing on grainy concrete all day? Most birds need to have a security roost for nighttime. Usually this is in an upper corner of the house. Your little guy may prefer an enclosed space such as a tent-like structure or a sleeping bag hung in the cage. Some prefer to sleep under the stars, and some like to have the whole house covered. Next are the accents. Conures are playful critters. Most of them love to swing, climb and chew. Providing them with plenty of toys will keep them happy and entertained. Just like our human kids, our feathered kids get bored with the same thing day after day. You might want to have a toy box with extra toys to change monthly or weekly. Toys don't have to be expensive, just safe. A paper towel can give an hour of shredding fun. Paper egg cartons can be cut apart into little hats and bowl shapes. "Wow, I can throw these and roll with them and chew on them!!" Chewing is a natural instinct, and conures need to be able to chew and shred. Wood toys are a necessity, and variety is essential. Most conures love colorful and chewable toys. Acrylic toys are fun and virtually indestructible. Once again, differing textures are stimulating. Conures are intelligent and curious and love to investigate and figure things out. Their toys can encourage this. I've taken to shopping thrift stores for bags of baby toys. I've found wood blocks and plastic toys that I keep in a basket and let them choose what interests them at the moment. Of course, I always thoroughly wash these toys first and make sure they are safe. If the home is happy, safe and fun, your conure will enjoy spending time there. This will encourage independence and the ability to entertain themselves. None of us knows what the future holds, and we can't guarantee that our lifestyle won't change. And if ours changes, so does our birds. Maybe we won't have as much time, or they will have to be adopted by someone else. If they are happy and secure in their houses, adjustments will be much easier. But, of course they will always look forward to their time with you!
© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

My Cage is My Home

  Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. I don't know about you, but when my little friends have been out and are ready to go back in their cage, I always ask them if they are ready to back to their house. It seems when you think of a birdcage in this way it takes on a new meaning. I'd like to discuss how to make a cage a home. One of the most important aspects of a home is the architecture. What is the cage made of? If it's painted, the paint must be non-toxic. Horizontal bars allow easy climbing; however birds do seem to enjoy sliding down the vertical bars like little monkeys. Bar spacing is important. If the bird can get its head between the bars it's too wide. 5/8" to 1" is a preferable bar spacing for most conures. Make sure the wires do not come together in tight spaces where wings and feet might get caught. Some of the fancy designs are attractive for us to look at, but have hidden dangers. Round cages are not preferable. Besides being difficult to hang toys in, they are not designed for a bird's comfort. Birds like to have corners for security. Feeder cups need to be easily accessible to both you and your friend, and they need to be big enough to hold the necessary amount of food and water. A pull out tray is a must for easier cleaning. Some people prefer not to use grates. A lot of my little guys love to play on the bottom of their house, and grates just aren't fun to roll around on. They also love to play hide and seek under the papers. Of course, this means you need to change the papers more often. Size is important! At the very least, birds need to be able to comfortably spread and flap their wings. Conures in particular love to play and are little acrobats; they need, and love, to climb. And you will want to have plenty of space to hang toys and treats. Being the clowns conures are, they love their toys. Door size is another important consideration. It needs to be large enough for your friend to easily go in and out, and an adequate latch is necessary to keep all those Houdini's at home! Cage location can also make a happy conure. They love to see you and be where the action is. They are stimulated by the sights and sounds of family interaction, and need to be included. Being near a window is fun, too, to be able to watch all those outside critters and get needed sunshine. Be careful that there is always shade provided to keep from overheating our little buddies. Some people provide more than one house. These are place know as "bed and breakfast", the "fun house", the "vacation house". If you place a house outside, make sure it is safe from predators and direct sunlight, and latches securely. Now it's time to decorate. You know how your feet get tired from standing in the same shoes, in the same place for a long period of time? Our birds need to exercise their feet to keep them in shape. This can be accomplished with different size perches and different textures. Rope perches are a good example of interesting texture and differing size. These perches give the feet a good exercise with the smaller and larger diameter of the coiled rope. Branches collected from your trees are great for differing texture and size. Just make sure the trees have not been sprayed with an insecticide, which could be harmful to your bird. If you prefer to use the normal dowel perch, use a couple of different diameters. You can also sand or file these to add texture. Perches need to give ready access to food and water bowls, being careful not to place any over the bowls. Concrete perches are good for grooming nails, but not for a central perch. Can you imagine standing on grainy concrete all day? Most birds need to have a security roost for nighttime. Usually this is in an upper corner of the house. Your little guy may prefer an enclosed space such as a tent- like structure or a sleeping bag hung in the cage. Some prefer to sleep under the stars, and some like to have the whole house covered. Next are the accents. Conures are playful critters. Most of them love to swing, climb and chew. Providing them with plenty of toys will keep them happy and entertained. Just like our human kids, our feathered kids get bored with the same thing day after day. You might want to have a toy box with extra toys to change monthly or weekly. Toys don't have to be expensive, just safe. A paper towel can give an hour of shredding fun. Paper egg cartons can be cut apart into little hats and bowl shapes. "Wow, I can throw these and roll with them and chew on them!!" Chewing is a natural instinct, and conures need to be able to chew and shred. Wood toys are a necessity, and variety is essential. Most conures love colorful and chewable toys. Acrylic toys are fun and virtually indestructible. Once again, differing textures are stimulating. Conures are intelligent and curious and love to investigate and figure things out. Their toys can encourage this. I've taken to shopping thrift stores for bags of baby toys. I've found wood blocks and plastic toys that I keep in a basket and let them choose what interests them at the moment. Of course, I always thoroughly wash these toys first and make sure they are safe. If the home is happy, safe and fun, your conure will enjoy spending time there. This will encourage independence and the ability to entertain themselves. None of us knows what the future holds, and we can't guarantee that our lifestyle won't change. And if ours changes, so does our birds. Maybe we won't have as much time, or they will have to be adopted by someone else. If they are happy and secure in their houses, adjustments will be much easier. But, of course they will always look forward to their time with you!