Picking Perches

July 30, 2018

Picking Perches

Perches and stands are important part of a pet bird’s environment. But one simple perch won’t provide the benefits that a variety of perches and stands can. Birds need different shapes and sizes of perches and stands, as well as adding interest to their world. Perches can be uniform in shape circular, rectangular, or oval – and come in a variety of sizes.

Your bird spends the majority of her time on her feet, so safe, comfortable perches are essential. The ideal perch – whether stationary or swinging – is easy on your bird's feet, appropriately textured, fun to use and chew, and easy to clean. Be sure to provide several perches of varying diameter and texture to ensure proper exercise and foot health. For more product for your bird pets, just visit online stores like aviariesdepot.com.au


The Importance Of Pet Bird Perches And Stands:

Rope and other flexible types of perches give birds a different type of surface to hop onto, and swings provide exercise and fun. Having a stand for a bird to use outside of the cage is also a good idea. It is a safe spot for the bird to observe and participate in family activities.

Shower perches are great for bathing pet birds or allowing them to enjoy the humidity of the bathroom when showering. Shower perches can also be attached to a window. Perches with coarse surfaces are beneficial for nail and beak conditioning, but shouldn’t be the only type of perch provided. These surfaces can be too rough on a bird’s feet if they have to spend long periods of time on them.

Birds are naturally curious creatures, and will want to have a variety of vantage points to keep their eye on what’s going on, as well as comfortable and safe places to rest and sleep. Perches and stands also create an environment that encourages exercise and activity. All of these factors add to the health and well-being of any bird.


Selecting Perches for Caged Birds And Materials:

WOODS:

If you choose to make natural perches, do not use branches from any tree that has been sprayed. Select branches from unsprayed trees in your own yard. Check a list of toxic trees to be sure you are using safe wood. Avoid, for example, oak, pine, and cherry. To prepare the branches, scrub them in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly, and then put them in the oven for half an hour at 200-250°F. Allow to cool before use. Most birds love natural branches, especially because they enjoy stripping their bark. A number of natural materials are also available commercially. For example, some manufacturers now include natural Manzanita perches in their new cages. Replacements are readily available.


Artificial:

Many new birdcages come with dowels made of hard wood for more amazing bird cage and other product, you may visit online stores like aviariesdepot.com.au. Replacement dowels are easy to obtain.

But do not assume dowels are your only option. Styles of artificial perches are available in virtually every shape, color, texture, size, and material imaginable. They arrive sterile and can be used right out of the package.


Regular:

Your bird needs a mix of regular shapes - round, oval, rectangular, or flat - and irregular shapes - those with varying tapers, knobs, branches, and so on. Because some birds occasionally prefer to sit with their toes extended on a flat surface, you might provide a wide perch such as a board or wire platform. However, these flat surfaces should never be the bird's only option.

Irregular:

The list of irregular perches is endless. Manzanita, Manu Mineral,and the Safety Perch, for example, are all good choices. Each will provide healthy exercise for your bird and add character to his cage.


Smooth:

Surfaces can be too smooth for comfort. Standard PVC pipe, for example, is very hard to grip. Most commercial perches made of artificial materials are machine-textured to improve grip.

Coarse:

Nail and beak conditioning perches made of concrete, clay, and other materials do a good job of trimming nails. However, they are not comfortable for the bottom of the bird's feet for long periods of time. Always provide an alternate perch.



Flexible:

In observations of aviary birds where both rigid and non-rigid perches were used, the birds equally divided their time between the two. Both types should be provided for your bird's use. When not flying, your bird may walk, but generally jumps from place to place. It needs places for both firm and soft landings.

A soft rubber or plastic hose stretched across the cage, for example, makes an ideal flexible perch. Rope perches come in a range of thicknesses to afford your bird a different feel, but be sure that you cut off any frayed pieces of rope so that the bird doesn't get his nails caught. Rigid perches mounted with a spring end also provide a cushioned stop, as do swings.


Rigid:

All birds need at least one rigid perch available at all times. This will afford them a solid grip and a comfortable place to sleep.

Hard:

Most plastic and hardwood perches are easy to clean and durable.


Soft:

Lovebirds, conures, parrots, parakeets, and cockatiels all prefer perches made of softwoods. You can create your own soft perches with soft plastic hose, or by wrapping wooden perches with padded-cotton, cork, carpeting, or soft material such as flannel or felt.


Avoid This Materials:

It is normal if your bird chews and ingests wood from his perches. But if your bird mouths the hardware on perches, replace it immediately with stainless steel. Avoid zinc hardware which can rust and create toxicity problems. Plastic perches provide many fun and interesting options, but be careful that your bird doesn't ingest the plastic.


Perches provide more than "standing room only":

In addition to providing standing room, perches serve other important roles - physical, practical, and social. Your bird will also use a perch as a tool, a place to rub his beak to remove pieces of food, and a place of play.

Perches are places of socialization for pairs or groups. And height is used to signify status. Out-of-cage perches and stands enable you to integrate your pet into your surroundings, while providing him a place of security.


Perch Placement:

Once you've selected the right perches, consider their placement. If food and water dishes do not already include perches, locate perches in front of them to facilitate easy access. (To prevent contamination from droppings, do not place perches above dishes.) Also, place perches so your bird's tail will not touch the side of the cage when shes she's sitting on the perch. Vary perch height and location, and make sure your bird can easily move and fly throughout the cage with perches in place.


Perch Diameter:

As a general rule, a bird's foot should wrap itself around about 2/3 of the perch. The perch should never be so small that the bird's front toes meet or overlap the back toe(s). The accompanying chart provides some guidelines as to proper diameters for various sizes of birds. Birds will do best if the perches are of unequal diameter along their width, as could be found with natural branches, and some plastic branches. If all perches are the same diameter, the bird will always be placing pressure on the same areas on the foot. This can cause thinning of the scales, redness, and possibly infection of the bottom of the foot. Having perches of various sizes and materials within the cage will also help prevent foot problems.

See the best bird perches we recommend for your bird’s species:

For Canaries and Finches
For Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Small Parakeets, and Parrotlets
For Caiques, Small Conures, Lories, Large Parakeets, Pionus, and Poicephalus
For African Greys, Amazons, Small Cockatoos, Large Conures, Eclectus, Hawk-Headed Parrots, and Mini-Macaws
For Large Cockatoos and Macaws

Bird Size

Perch Diameter

X-Small

1/2" or less

Small

1/2 - 5/8

Medimu

3/4-1"

Large

1-1.5"

Extra Large

2-2.5"



Cleaning and Maintenance:

Plastic, rubber tubing, acrylic, and PVC are readily cleaned; they can be washed in disinfectant, rinsed well, and allowed to dry thoroughly before they are placed back in the cage. A good disinfectant is a 1:32 dilution of household bleach ( cup bleach to 1 gallon of water). Avoid scented disinfectants and those containing pine oils. Dowels can be cleaned with perch scrapers; if heavily soiled, they too can be disinfected, rinsed, and dried. Rope, clothesline, and cloth can be washed, or simply replaced.

Monitor such a perch closely for any fraying or loose ends, so the bird does not eat any of the strings or get threads wrapped around his toes.

Natural branches and cement perches can be more difficult to clean since they have more crevices. Wire brushes can be used to clean soiled areas, and then the perch can be disinfected as described above, or boiled in water and then thoroughly dried. To avoid possible foot problems, any perch should be completely dry before being placed back in the cage.


Problem With Sand and Concrete Bird Perches:

It's easy for new bird owners to become a little bit disoriented when it's time to shop for their new pet there are literally thousands of different bird products on the market! Unfortunately, not all products are as effective as they claim to be, and some, including concrete and sand-covered perches, can even be harmful to your pet's health and well-being.

Many pet shops sell sand and concrete perches and claim that they will help keep your bird's nails neat and short so that you can avoid having to endure a nail trim while that might sound like a pleasant idea, the rough, scratchy surfaces of those perches can do real damage to your feathered friend's feet.

Sand and concrete perches can cause painful abrasions on the underside of your bird's feet and toes. To add to the problem, bacteria and debris from the perch can be introduced to those wounds every time your bird perches, causing a constant threat of infection.


Dangers Of Concrete and Sand Perches :


In addition to scraping birds' claws, concrete and sand perches can hurt avian pets in a number of other ways, including causing a great deal of discomfort and stress.Concrete and sand-covered perches are unpleasant for birds to stand on because they are cold and can dry out their feet.

Additionally, wet concrete that hasn't been cured properly can actually burn their feet because one of its ingredients, lime, is highly inflammatory when wet.

The shape of the perches can also be an issue. Many concrete and sand perches are straight and do not vary in width, which can cause stress to the delicate bones in your bird's feet .Pet birds need to be supplied with perches of varied widths and textures in order to maintain normal foot health. Make sure you have at least five to 10 perches to allow your bird a more natural habitat.


Perch Life Span:

Schedule your own perch checkup today. Monitor the condition of rope and natural perches, for frays and splinters, each week. Clean all surfaces, especially of visible debris — birds that clean their beaks on perches after eating can be collecting droppings as they do so.

Spot clean perches when you change cage liners or newspapers; thoroughly clean when you conduct weekly or biweekly cage cleanings. Rotate perches and swings so your bird can move around the cage in a different way and get exercise. Finally, replace old perches when they begin to show their age. Naturals may last less than a month, and even polymer perches will show wear and tear in time.

Birds are naturally curious creatures, and will want to have a variety of vantage points to keep their eye on what’s going on, as well as comfortable and safe places to rest and sleep. Perches and stands also create an environment that encourages exercise and activity. All of these factors add to the health and well-being of any bird.


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