Things to Know About Bird Cage Accessories
Bird shops carry a vast array of products to enhance a bird’s cage. These include plenty of toys as well as an assortment of items that claim to contribute to the bird’s health – from therapeutic perches to nutritional supplements. While some products are downright mandatory, some offer little or no real benefit. A few can actually be harmful.
One of the best gauges of a product’s usefulness is common sense: An accessory is worth buying only if it fulfills a particular need. A cage crowded with items that serve no purpose can frighten and frustrate a pet bird. As always, asking the experience of others is more reliable than trusting product labels.
Accessories That Benefit Birds
- Concrete or cement perches.
- Perches of variable diameter and cross section – necessary for healthy feet and legs.
- Cuttle bones – provide calcium for egg-laying females.
- Swings and closed-link chains – for safe exercise.
- Soft wooden objects, such as blocks – act as pacifiers for many birds and facilitate chewing.
Accessories of Little Benefit to Birds
- Open-link chains and fasteners, which can become caught on a bird’s beak.
- Rope toys, which have been implicated in accidental strangulation injuries and death.
- Lava rocks and mineral blocks may benefit larger birds that choose to use them. Most of the time, though, birds find these products awkward – and simply ignore them.
- PVC perches are too smooth to toughen the bird’s feet; instead these perches leave them prone to irritation and infection.
- Sandpaper perch covers – they slip too easily off perches.
- Mite protectors are useful, but only in an enclosed cage; at best, they are only minimally effective.