PERCHES & SAFETY
You should have multiple perches made of different textures for your birds. Perches serve more than just a place to sit, they also use it as a place to sit they will often use them as a tool to clean their beaks, as a toy to play as well as a place to groom themselves. If you think about the amount of time your bird is on its perches you will see the value to them in having different sizes and textures to choose from.
Most perches are smaller in diameter than they should be. A parrots toes or toenails should never cover more than 50% of the primary perch’s diameter. An added benefit to large-diameter perches is that your parrot’s toenails will not have to be trimmed as often. If you place natural branches in your pet’s habitat, there will be plenty of smaller side shoots for the bird to play on should he wish to.
Irregular perches 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.
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.
Course 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.
Natural wood is great to use, provided you research and are sure it is a SAFE wood, there are many that are not safe. Additionally please ensure that any natural wood you use is free of any pesticides residue, even if the bark was removed it could have still soaked into the wood. Any pesticide residue makes ANY SAFE wood UNSAFE. Pressure treated wood is also toxic to birds. If you have questions please consult with your veterinarian.
Be careful of the types of wood and hardware that you use from perches. It is normal for birds to chew and ingest parts of their perches so you want to be sure they are safe wood and metal parts.
- Perches should be placed in front of food and water dishes so the bird can reach the dishes easily.
- To avoid droppings contaminating the food or water, do not place perches directly above the dishes.
- Always place a perch so that the bird's tail will not touch the side of the cage when perched on it.
- Place perches at various levels within the cage.
- Avoid using too many perches, which could prevent the bird from flying. A bigger cage might be the better choice, not fewer perches.
- Parrots feel insecure when they are at or below eye level. So, for fearful parrots, try to position their cage so that their perch is about six inches above your eye level. The bars of the cage give fearful parrots a sense of security.
- For aggressive birds, experiment with perches about four inches below your eye level.
Remember to scrub your perches regularly.