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.