Avian Cage Hygiene: A Clean Home Is A Happy Home

February 21, 2011 February 26, 2011

Good hygiene is a crucial part of avian husbandry, as many pet birds are confined to a relatively small living area in which they are forced to carry out the majority of their daily activities, such as eating, drinking, defecating & playing. Due to these confined living arrangements, pet birds will commonly defecate in their feed & water bowls, on perches and over other items in their cage. If not cleaned regularly, faeces and discarded food items can accumulate on your bird’s cage floor, resulting in proliferation of bacteria and some fungi, such as mould. Provide your loved ones with a sparkling clean home they can show off to their feathered friends.

Hot water and detergent can be safely used to clean all items in your bird’s cage, providing they are rinsed thoroughly with clean water. For more effective disease control however, use a disinfectant such as Avisafe or F10. These disinfectants are recommended for the control of standard bacterial or fungal disease. Virkon or bleach (1:32 dilution – bleach to water) can be used for resistant bacterial or viral diseases. Regardless of the cleaning agent you use for your bird’s cage, ensure you always follow the directions on the label and if ever in doubt, contact your avian veterinarian.

Feed & water dishes should be emptied and cleaned at least once daily. Once clean, thoroughly rinse with fresh water and allow to dry. Several sets of food and water dishes should be maintained and used interchangeably. At Noah’s Ark Pet Resort we use stainless steel dishes for both food & water, as it is far more hygienic than plastic dishes or water bottles which can be difficult to clean properly. We also recommend round dishes as opposed to square or rectangular ones, as the corners of food and water dishes are the most common areas for bacterial build up. To reduce the amount of food contamination on the cage floor, as well in your bird’s bowl, only feed what your bird will eat in one day. Any uneaten food will quickly become stale and can be be a breeding ground for organisms detrimental to your bird’s health.

Perches should be kept clean at all times. Hot water & detergent or a disinfectant, combined with a scrubbing brush or scourer can be used to remove faecal matter & organic debris from perches. I don’t think any of us would appreciate living in a house where the floors are constantly contaminated with our own faecal matter, so we should not expect any less from our pet birds. Natural perches are preferred over dowel, plastic or rope perches and can easily be replaced on a weekly basis. Fresh branches will also provide regular environmental enrichment opportunities for your pet bird.

Cage floors should also be thoroughly cleaned at least once a day, as this is the main collection area for faeces, discarded food, water and other unwanted items. The most efficient and cost effective floor covering is newspaper. Most newspapers use soy-based ink, thus making it non-toxic and completely safe for your bird to chew. The bottom tray should be removed weekly and the entire cage along with it’s contents, thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. Owners should use this time to inspect perches, dishes, toys and other cage items for wear & rust. Any toys displaying signs of rust and frayed rope toys or perches should be replaced immediately.

In order to keep your feathered family healthy and happy, ensure you provide them with a clean home at all times. If you have any queries or comments regarding avian cage hygiene, feel free to contact us at Noah’s Ark Pet Resort and we will get back to you promptly.

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