What to Consider Before Buying a Bird Cage?

If you are looking to get yourself a pet bird, then you should first think about getting a bird cage. Contrary to what some first-time bird owners may be thinking, bird cage shopping is quite a challenging and in-depth task.

In this bird cage buying guide, we will talk about the most important things to consider in a cage for your first bird. These include but are not limited to materials, size, and easiness of maintenance.

We’ll also talk a bit about complementary things for bird cages, such as perches, toys, and cleaning products so that you get a better idea of what you need.

How To Choose The Perfect Bird Cage?

Choosing a perfect bird cage is not an easy task, especially for those who are new. In this section, we will have a brief look at the key features to consider when shopping for a bird cage. Hope that will help finding the cage you need.

Cage shape

First up, consider the bird cage shape.

Rectangular or square cages are ideal in most cases. If you can, avoid round cages due to the following reasons:

  • Birds may get trapped between the bars that gather at the top of the cage.
  • Most round cages have poor build quality.
  • Maintenance can be a headache with round cages.
  • Round cages are often small, and birds therefore often come in contact with their bars, which may cause stress or wear down your pet’s feathers.
  • Round cages aren’t compatible with most bird cage accessories out there.

Cage materials

Next, pay attention to what the bird cage is made of.

The best material for bird cages is stainless or powder-coated steel. These materials last decades, are extremely strong and resistant to pecking or chewing, do not corrode, and are safe if manufactured property.

With that said, these types of steel are quite expensive, so naturally, buyers with tight budgets may want to get something else.

To reduce manufacturing costs, some cages may have a galvanized, electroplated, or vinyl/plastic-plated steel construction. Although these cages are great when you look from the budget standpoint, they aren’t always safe for birds.

Wrought iron could work fine too, but only if it has a quality finish that doesn’t chip.

Cheap coatings often have imperfections that attract the attention of birds, and since these coatings usually easily flake off, birds may accidentally ingest them. Needless to say, this often leads to health issues.

Bar orientation & thickness

Next, consider the orientation and thickness of the cage bars.

The bar orientation for most birds doesn’t matter – however, if you have a parrot or another bird species that use their beak and feet to climb, then the bars should be horizontal.

As for thickness, it’s important because birds may bend weak bars or break their welds. Here are some thickness guidelines based on the species of bird:

  • Up to 2 mm – small birds such as canaries, parakeets, or finches.
  • 2.5 mm – birds like lovebirds, conures, or cockatiels.
  • 3.5 mm – birds like greys, amazons, goffins, or quakers.
  • 5 mm or thicker – birds such as macaws, large cockatoos, or others.

Maintenance features

You will need to clean your bird’s cage regularly, so it would be nice if it was easy to maintain.

Convenient bird cages will have features such as:

  • Removable trays, seed catchers, and other components.
  • Easy to wipe bars. In rectangular or square cages, bars are very easy to wipe since they are widely spaced. As for round cages, their top areas where the bars meet can be very difficult to clean.

Bird Cage Size Chart

Above, we haven’t mentioned bird cage sizes. That’s because we think that it’s a spec important enough to be covered separately and more in-depth.

When it comes to bird cage sizing, there are two important things to consider:

  • Cage size. Cage size matters because you don’t want your bird to feel constrained in a small space.
  • Bar spacing. Too narrow bar spacing may make your bird feel trapped, and it also will limit the visibility both for you and your bird. Additionally, narrowly placed bars could trap your bird’s beak, wings, or other body parts.

As for too wide spacing, it could allow a bird to escape the cage. Besides, your bird might get stuck while attempting to escape.

For simplicity, here is a bird cage size chart that should work for most needs.

BirdsMinimum Cage Size (inches)Bar Spacing (inches)
Budgies18 x 18 x 241/2
Canaries18 x 18 x 241/4 to 1/2
Finches18 x 18 x 301/4 to 1/2
Cockatiels20 x 20 x 241/2 to 5/8
Conures24 x 24 x 245/8 to 3/4
Lovebirds24 x 24 x 241/2
Parrotlets24 x 24 x 241/2
Poicephalus24 x 24 x 245/8 to 3/4
Ringneck parakeets24 x 24 x 361/2 to 5/8
Pionus24 x 24 x 365/8 to 3/4
Caiques24 x 24 x 365/8 to 3/4
Jardine’s24 x 24 x 365/8 to 3/4
Mini macaws34 x 24 x 363/4 to 1
Amazons34 x 24 x 363/4 to 1
African Greys34 x 24 x 363/4 to 1
Goffin’s Cockatoos34 x 24 x 363/4 to 1
Large cockatoos36 x 48 x 481 to 1.5
Large macaws36 x 48 x 601 to 1.5

Hope this chart help to find the cage you actually need for your pet bird. If you are interested, check out the best bird cages that we reviewed for your convenience.

When it comes to cage sizing, you can get as large as you want. Purchase the largest cage you can afford and fit in your home. Don’t go lower than the smallest sizes recommended above and try to shop larger.

As for the bar spacing, make sure that it falls within the range listed above. As explained earlier, you shouldn’t go too wide or narrow.


How To Measure A Bird Cage?

How bird cages are measured depends on their shape.

Rectangular or square cages have width, depth, and height measurements. Typically, these measurements are taken at the widest points along each dimension.

As for round cages, they are typically measured in height and diameter, though some sellers may give width x depth x height. The latter format doesn’t make sense for round cages because of their shape. Diameter gives you a better idea of the cage size.

What Type Of Material Should Be Avoided When Choosing A Bird Cage?

A few more words about the bird cage materials that should be avoided.

  • Avoid cages made of wrought iron (unless really high-quality), as well as cages that have painted finishes. These could be toxic for your bird, especially for those that like to chew on the cage material.
  • Stay away from cages that are coated with paint containing lead and zinc. Typically, these are older cages that were made before the federal ban on lead-containing paint in 1978.

What To Put On The Bottom Of A Bird Cage?

The best liner for a bird cage is newspaper or another kind of paper. Paper is cheap, easy to dispose of, and allows you to easily monitor your bird’s routine.

Avoid newspapers with glossy ads since these may contain harmful ink. Aside from that, avoid ground nutshells, pine & cedar shavings, corncobs, and other materials that can be ingested. Liners such as pine & cedar shavings release pollen too, which may cause respiratory issues.

What Should I Put In My Bird Cage?

Aside from the bedding, here is what you will want to add to your bird’s cage:

  • Food bowls and two water bowls – one for drinking and the other one for bathing. The bowls should be able to lock in place so that your bird doesn’t tip them over.
  • Several perch spots at different heights and made of different materials. Choosing a perch is a whole another topic, so we suggest that you research it as well.
  • Cage toys such as rope knots, puzzles with treats, swings, ladders, fall-apart toys for pecking, and chew toys.

No matter what you put inside the cage, make sure that your bird cannot swallow it or get entangled in it.

What To Clean A Bird Cage With?

Keeping the cage neat & clean is a must. Because disease comes from places where it’s not clean. Food and water dishes should be washed every day. You can use mild dish detergent as a washing material. Try to make a habit of washing and drying the bowels before placing them back into the cage.

Cage surfaces should be regularly wiped down with a damp cloth or paper towel. Stubborn spots should be cleaned with a specialized bird-safe cleaner.

Perches and toys should be soaked in water and cleaned properly once a week.

Finally, for deep monthly cleanings, you should use a combo of a scrub with a bird-safe cleaner.

Final Words

And that’s it for our guide on what to consider before buying a bird cage!

Shopping for a bird cage isn’t that difficult. You just need to remember a few key points:

  • Choose a rectangular or square bird cage.
  • Try to get a stainless or powder-coated steel cage with a quality build that doesn’t chip.
  • Avoid painted cages or cages with flaky coating.
  • Your bird cage should be as large as you can afford and as large as you can fit in your home.
  • The bar spacing should neither be too wide nor too narrow.

These are the most important general points to follow – as for the specifics, you will have to determine them yourself based on your bird species.

Watch this video to learn more about bird cage.

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