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Pionus Online - Caging & Toys

This Page Concerns The Cage, Toys & Toy Safety

  The Cage

A cage to a bird is a place for security. A cage is where they will establish it as their territory and feel safe and is where they will sleep. Birds should be kept in a cage when you are not present in the home or if you are too busy to supervise them. A cage should be able to accommodate the bird, several perches, at least 3 bowls which consist of 2 food and 1 water bowl and of course a few toys!

What type of finish or coating is best on cages? Powder coating is generally most common and is usually pretty durable and easily cleaned. Stainless Steel is a long lasting life time finish but does require more care to keep it looking nice and sometimes is not easy to clean. Powder Coating comes in a variety of colors.

There are a few Cage Manufactures  to choose from, and depending upon what size and type you want and mostly the cost of the cage will determine what you purchase. Cage pricing is not cheap but keep in mind that it is your pet companion's place of security and well being. Try to keep in mind too not to go too cheap as many of those type are thinner gauge metals and are more flimsy and will not hold up for long lasting years to come. Bar spacing is very important too... Pionus can have one inch spacing with no problem of getting their head stuck in between the bars. If you go too small of spacing, then their wings tend to get caught in between the bar spacing. Dome tops are not always good as the bars that run up towards the top center come together into a narrowing graduated space making it easier to get caught in and hard to place a play area on top of dome topped cages. I like built in play tops already made onto the cage, it's safer and easier to deal with and looks nice. Some newer cages are made so the play top comes off and you can place the play area else where for the time being. New cages should be washed first before using. 

On the outside of the cage the bird should have a play top area or a play stand or T-Stand area to play on and have toys on it. This helps to give them another spot to be in so they do not tire of their cage. Think of it as you sleep in your bed but you would not want to stay in your bedroom all day long! So when your bird is able to be out of their cage this gives them something to look forward to. Some people do set up another cage just for the bird to sleep in these would be called "sleeping cages". There is nothing wrong with using them but it does take more space and the sleeping cage can be smaller because the bird is only in it for the night. You must be in position though to transfer the bird to the larger cage in the morning as you would not want your bird cooped up in the smaller sleeping cage all day long!  You can use the carriers like what are known as cat carriers, and mount a perch in it and adding in optional water or food is your choice. Cage Time... you should allow your Pionus a certain amount of time in the cage time and a certain amount outside of cage time. By the way, many people seem to think that when their bird acts up or bites they stick them back in the cage as s form of "time out" or as a "punishment" for what they have done, but in reality, birds do not see it that way and often because they do feel their cage as being a sense of security... they do not learn from their mistakes of being punished or time-out gestures!

Cage size for a Pionus should be no less than 24"x24"x30" of inside measurements and this would be the smallest you would want to go and it would not provide enough room if you plan to lavish them with lots of fun time within the cage. Ideally, 30" to 40" wide by 24" or 30" deep and about 30" to 36" high of inside dimensions would be great! This would more than provide ample room for several perches of different diameter sizes and textures and many toys! People love to add in Boings into the cage as well so this takes room or the rope perches add a lot of comfort too! You may also want to add in an extra optional dish/bowls too and place them where they are not perched over the feed and water areas.

When a bird is in its cage, he/she should be able to spread their wings out fully without beating them up when flapping to exercise... they should be able to stretch wings out comfortably if needed. All cage area should be free of hazardous items such as loose quick links that hang the toys or frayed ropes.

Cage should be kept cleaned and should be an everyday occurrence but often the busy life style has that left for week-end duties for many working people. If you can clean by changing papers and tiding up the cage at least two to three times a week then that should not be so bad. Washing the cage should happen more often than it does too, but there again, if washed at least once a month with a good soapy water and disinfectant will be good, rinsing the cage well and letting it dry, perches should dry before your bird rests on it.

Cage should be place in a good location away from high traffic areas. Try not to place in drafty areas, such as near a door that leads to the outside, it can be drafty plus a good way for your bird to suddenly escape to the great outdoors or do not place in front of a window opened up often. If you have children place cage where your kids will not be bumping into the cage when playing.

Often people wonder if two birds can be kept in one cage... the answer is yes as long as they get along well enough. The double cages are great too to accommodate more than one bird. I have several of the double cages where the one is on top of the other  which is all one unit and works out well and I have found that the birds in the lower section do fine and it use to be said that birds in the lower section feel insecure, but I have not found that to be true at all. The double cages are a great way for taking less floor space in smaller areas!

Covering the Cage - This does add privacy and helps for your Pionus to go off to sleep quicker.  Although most Pionus are earlier to bed parrots as a rule. Usually by 6 or 7 PM they want to turn in for a nights rest. If in a room where lights and activity is at then covering the cage maybe most helpful. I cover some of my Pi's and they tend to like it and they know when they get covered it means good night! Covering the cage will also provide warmth a little too in the winter time. The cover you choose can be most anything. I usually use sheets or very large towels. You can buy cage covers made for cages as well or have them custom made.  I cover only 3 sides of the cage, I do not like to have my birds to be in total darkness so covering only 3 sides helps to have a little light into the cage. I also use a near by night light which helps to prevent some night freights so birds are not as likely to thrash through the night. It is your choice on as whether to cover the cage or not.

   Toys

Birds need toys... they need stimulation. They need to be entertained and kept busy! There are pre-made toys to buy, there are bird toy parts that you can buy to make your own bird toys... there are many things within your home to find that are safe to let your bird play with too! Always have the right size toys for the bird you have, do not have toys too big nor too small for your bird, because then it can be not so safe if too small or too big, plus they may not play with the toy. Birds love to chew on things that are chewable and you need to provide it. You can offer them both destructible and non-destructible items. If a bird can not destroy something then they can loose interest in the toy. Have both hanging type and foot toys. Foot toys are considered something smaller that they can hold in their foot to play with but this type of toy means you will be having to pick it up a lot as they will drop it! As a rule, birds do not swallow pieces of wood or plastic that they chew off of something, but it can happen from time to time.

Toy safety is always the key thing with toys. Birds have been known to get caught on toys and hang themselves and if left long enough, it can end up being fatal.  I will list toys safety below so be sure to read it. Birds love to chew woods, plastics, cotton ropes, paper, well they love to chew on most anything but not all things might be good so be aware!

  Toy Safety

Some Good Reasons why Birds should always be Supervised when playing with toys.  Take every measure of precaution when it comes to toy safety, don't under estimate a bird's chewing capabilities.

  1. Always be sure items are bird safe and is recommended for birds. Check toys regularly for hazards. 
     

  2. I can not emphasize enough to you about the safety of ropes.  Keep ropes short, if ropes get untied you either need to re knot the rope or cut the excess off.  Stringy ropes are great for birds getting caught in.  The most safest cotton rope is the Supreme Cotton Rope. With rope toys watch for excessive fraying if the length is too long, cut or re-tie knots in rope. A bird can get a foot or body entanglement in the rope and may not be able to free its self with out you're help.
     

  3. Watch for all things that have been chewed on that the bird somehow can not get caught or hurt on it.
     

  4. Make sure if your bird wears leg band, that the leg band can not get caught on some part of the toy.
     

  5. Never give your bird Styrofoam of any kind to chew on as a toy, it can kill them if ingested.  Many things can kill a bird if object are ingested, but Styrofoam is a definite no-no.
     

  6. If given paper towel or toilet paper rolls to a bird, watch carefully especially with small birds such as Love Birds or Budgies as they have been known to get stuck in them if the tube should stand up on end and die due to suffocation if not known that they were in the paper roll. Cut the length of the roll so that it is short so they can keep their footing when playing with the tube.
     

  7. Hanging toys should be hung so that it can't come off with the weight of the bird if its hanging from the toy.
     

  8. Most birds do not eat wood pieces but still watch them carefully to make sure what it is they do with the pieces. 
     

  9. Preferably do not use wire to secure toys to the cage, many times birds get the wire loose enough then get the leg band caught in it and can't get away. Remember, if a bird can't get its foot or leg loose, they panic and will chew their foot off to free themselves.
     

  10. Always put yourself in the position of 'What if I were bird, what would be a hazard to myself?' There are many times that you will put something in position and think it is safe, but only later to find out that it's not safe at all.
     

  11. If a toy looks like it may not be safe then remove it and replace it with another one, or perhaps some of the pieces on it can be used towards another toy that you can make.
     

  12. Don't flavor wood pieces when making toys, it is not a good idea.  Birds may want to eat it if it tastes good to them.
     

  13. 'Zinc' plated quick links may not be good for your bird, but as a general rule birds don't mess with the link being that it is at the top of the toy or at the top of the cage.  Stainless Steel links are non toxic. I personally do not worry about it, in all my years of using Zinc Plated Quick Links, I've never had a problem. Use 'Stainless Steel plated' or 'Nickel' plated as an alternative is you are not comfortable using zinc plated items.   Zinc is considered to be toxic to birds, to read more go to this link outside of our website, a new window will open  Click Here
     

  14. Split key rings that are used to hang the toy are dangerous, if the bird splits apart the ring they can get their tongue or toe caught between where it splits.  Split key rings should not be used on any bird toys.  Wooden Clothes pins that have the wire spring on them are dangerous, too. For an clothes pin alternative  use the wooden peg type.  Certain fabrics that fray easily, the strands will entangle the bird.
     

  15. When looping ropes, wire or anything else that requires a loop, make it small enough so the bird can not get its head stuck in the loop and hang its self.
     

  16. Screws - a bird can get its leg band caught on the head of the screw and may not be able to free its self, this is common in an aviary.  Perches and such things that are screwed together as the bird chews on the wood exposing the screw shaft, it can be a hazard as it can poke or jab them or they can fall or fly into it.  Replace the wood when this happens or remove the exposed screw.
     

  17. A bird should be given the appropriate size toy for the size of the bird species that it is.  Don't give a Cockatiel a Amazon size toy. If its too big they may get hurt on it or they may not even play with it.  Please use common sense when it comes to birds and their toys. 
     

  18. When closing 'S' hooks or 'O' rings on a toy be sure that they are closed very tightly, this will prevent leg bands or the leg from getting caught in the opening. You should always do a periodic check on any type of hardware or other toy parts that contain openings.  For large birds if the gauge of the ring is not heavy enough the large birds can open the rings. 
                                    

  19. This item should NOT be bought for bird toy item.
     

  20. Take a look at the safe  Supreme Cotton Rope that we use in our toys and sell.
     

  21. This is the only type of Paulie Rope you should use when making your bird toys, or buying toys.  If it's not the 'Odyssey Paulie Rope',  you should not use any other poly ropes that you may find in hardware stores or markets, they are not bird safe. Stay out of the Hardware stores when it comes to ropes, none of those stores carry the type of ropes you need to make bird toys with.  I also do not approve of the Sisal Ropes, I find them to have very entangling fibers and would not recommend them at all. The same goes for twines of any type, do not use any twines.  The 'Supreme Cotton Rope' and the 'Odyssey Paulie Rope' are manufactured for the same company, they have set out to have one of the most safest ropes when it comes to bird safety.  It is true they are the best by far, it is safety that we want for our birds!  I have tested the 'Odyssey Paulie Rope' and the 'Supreme Cotton Rope' with our small and large birds and they like it and it does what it is meant to do when it is torn apart,  these are two great items that have proven the ultimate safety to me.  They are two superior products and I would highly recommend them to any one to use in bird toy making, you can also purchase these two items on our site. 
     

  22. Plastics should not be brittle type plastics that you give to birds as they can shatter.  You have to be able to the difference between, hard, soft, brittle plastics.  We do not sell any types of brittle type plastic items. The Straw Beads at right are fine for the birds.
     

  23. Remember, safety comes from being monitored, nothing in this world is one hundred percent safe.

You can purchase our Toy Parts on our main website here...  http://www.pionusparrot.com/BirdToyCatalog.htm

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Oct. 2008