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Budgie parakeets > Budgie cages
The reader of this website is quite likely to have just purchased his first budgie or pair of budgies which he intends to keep in a cage in the house - at least to start with - so let us go into the matter of cages first.
The ordinary hanging type of ornamental birdcage is quite suitable for one or two budgerigars, but it must be of good proportions. It should be long enough to have at least two perches on the same level and still leave clearance at each end of the cage for the birds' tails. Eighteen inches long by about twelve inches wide should be looked on as a minimum sized cage. Larger dimensions are to be preferred because the more space one gives one's pets the better will they thrive.
Although not so ornamental, the box type of cage, that is one made entirely of wood or metal except for the wire front, is much better from the birds' point of view. Such cages are draught-proof and gives them some sense of security. They are essential if you wish to breed with your budgies in cages.
Food and water receptacles should fit inside the cage. Avoid those which hang on the outside which the birds have to reach by putting their heads through a hole in the wire. They cause a mess of seed husks on the carpet which the birds spill in their efforts to get the seed, and are also a source of danger as, unless they fit properly, your budgerigars may not be able to get their heads through the holes in the wire and be starved before you are aware of it.
The cage should have a removable sand tray so that this can be cleaned and have fresh sand put in without much trouble. While the bird is out the opportunity should be taken to wipe the inside of the cage with a moist cloth and a little disinfectant. It should then be dried, have the sand renewed and be fresh for the occupant on his return. The door should be of the swing type and fitted with a spring to keep it closed. Budgies are mischievous things and can easily lift a door of the slide-up type and so gain their freedom.
One often sees perches about the size of lead pencils in use in budgie cages. These small perches are the direct cause of many foot troubles, such as cramp, sore feet, broken toe nails and broken joints. A study of the illustrations on this page will show why cage perches should never be less than half an inch wide. perches in aviaries should, of course, be of various sizes to give the birds foot exercise, and should preferably be natural branches, and should be well spaced out and not crowded together. This will ensure that your birds get plenty of exercise for their wings.
When a bird alights on the perch, the foot muscles are automatically brought into action by the downward thrust on the legs, caused by the weight of its body. This is a wise precaution of Nature to prevent the bird from falling when asleep. As it rises to leave the perch the weight is taken from the legs and the muscles contract and so release the grip of the claws. If the claws are allowed to become overgrown they will not free themselves from the perch, and the bird is liable to break a leg or otherwise injure itself. It is, therefore, essential to keep the claws periodically cut back.
The position of the cage is most important. I t should get plenty of light but he out of draughts. A place just to one side of a window but not in direct line with the door or fireplace is a good one. Here is the advantage of the box type cage which can be in almost any position provided it faces the light. If your house is lit by gas keep the cage below the level of the light where your pets will not be subjected to gas fumes.
There is no harm in putting the cage out of doors on dry days and the bird will benefit in health. Do not leave them out too late in the evening, however, or they may be chilled.