My boys sleep in a Vision Bird Cage by HAGEN (Model L01). I specifically used the word sleep because, for most of the day, they spend their time outside of the cage, either on top of it or on the playground I set up. Budgies are active and energetic birds that require a lot of space to move around and exercise. Providing the largest cage you can afford is essential for their physical and mental well-being. A good rule of thumb is to provide a cage that is at least twice the bird's wingspan in length, width, and height to ensure they have enough space to move around comfortably.
A budgie's cage should contain a variety of items to keep them healthy, happy, and engaged:
- Perches: Budgies need perches to rest on and exercise their feet. It's important to provide perches of varying widths and textures to promote foot health and prevent foot problems.
- Toys: Toys provide mental stimulation and prevent boredom in budgies. Toys can include swings, mirrors, bells, and puzzles, and should be rotated regularly to keep the budgie interested.
- Food and water dishes: Budgies require fresh food and water daily. The food and water dishes should be securely attached to the cage to prevent spills and contamination.
- Cuttlebone or mineral block: Budgies require calcium for healthy bones and beaks. A cuttlebone or mineral block can provide a source of calcium for the budgie to gnaw on.
- Nesting box: If you plan to breed budgies, you may need to provide a nesting box. However, if you don't plan to breed your budgies, it's best not to provide a nesting box as it can encourage breeding behavior.
Material of the cage
The cage should be made of sturdy, non-toxic materials such as stainless steel, and should have a secure door that can be locked to prevent escape. Low-quality cages often have galvanized grids that contain zinc. Zinc toxicity is more common if your bird is the nosey inquisitive type as they tend to chew everything they find, therefore a build-up over time of zinc in your bird’s system causes damage to vital organs such as the liver and kidneys where it can build up to a highly toxic dosage. I always check the cage specifications. The bars should be spaced close enough together to prevent the bird from getting its head stuck but also wide enough for them to climb and perch comfortably.
I strongly advise you against using two things in the cage: mirror and grit/sand.
Your budgie will see that the bird in the reflection is its friend or even its mate and will attempt to feed it. This will lead to serious health issues such as a crop infection because your budgie might feel the need to throw up its food constantly to feed its companion in the mirror. I try to avoid plastic toys as much as possible due to the choking hazard.
Grit is a mixture of small rocks, sand, and shells that some bird owners provide to their birds to help with digestion. However, grit is not necessary for budgies, and providing grit can actually be harmful to their health. The muscles in their crop and intestines break down the seeds. Providing grit can actually cause problems for budgies by accumulating in their crop and intestines, leading to impaction or blockages. Grit can also contain harmful bacteria or parasites that can cause illness or infection in budgies. Some people use sand/grit at the bottom of the cage for hygienic purposes. A removable tray or disposable paper towels at the bottom of the cage makes cleaning a breeze.
A budgie perch should be designed to provide your pet bird with a comfortable and secure place to rest and exercise. There are a few factors to consider when creating an ideal budgie perch, including size, shape, material, and placement.
The perch should be large enough for your budgie to comfortably stand on, with room to move and spread its wings. A good rule of thumb is to choose a perch that is at least the width of the bird's feet. The bird's nails shouldn’t meet, if they do it means the perch is too small for the bird. The shape of the perch should be varied to provide your budgie with different surfaces to stand on, which will help keep their feet healthy and exercised. A straight perch should be the primary perch and can be supplemented with angled, curved, or textured perches. Curved perches mimic natural branches and allow for a comfortable grip, while angled perches promote exercise and challenge your bird's balance.
My boys’ perches are all made of natural wood. Avoid perches made of plastic or smooth surfaces, as they can cause foot problems such as bumblefoot. Natural wood perches should be non-toxic, and free of any pesticides, fungicides, or chemicals. Cleaning: Finally, it's important to regularly clean the perch to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs. Perches should be washed in warm water and thoroughly dried before being returned to the cage. A rotation of perches can help keep them clean and fresh for your budgie. I also added a cork seat for them, they enjoy laying on it while molting or tired.
Budgies are intelligent birds that require mental stimulation to keep their minds active and healthy. Toys provide a form of entertainment and prevent boredom, which can lead to behavioral problems such as feather plucking. They are active birds that require physical exercise to stay healthy. Toys such as swings and ladders provide opportunities for climbing and swinging, which helps to keep the bird's muscles toned and healthy. Budgies have a natural need to chew and gnaw, which helps to maintain their beaks. Toys made of safe materials such as wood and natural fibers provide a safe outlet for this behavior. Toys can aid in the development of young budgies by providing opportunities for exploration and play, which can help them to develop their coordination and motor skills. I personally only purchase toys made of either wood or leather, plastic toys feel unnatural and there’s always the danger of them choking on plastic pieces.
Bird toys can be more than just playthings, with a little imagination, they can also make great exercise equipment for your feathered friend. Buying things like ropes and ladders for your pet to climb on can encourage movement and working of major muscle groups in your bird. Much like young children, birds get bored playing with the same old toys after a while. Bird toys can be pricy, though, so some owners opt to keep a stash of several different types of toys and rotate different ones in and out of their bird's cage every couple of weeks. This way, your bird will get to play with "new" toys every now and then, which will help keep him mentally occupied.
Food and water dishes
Fresh food and water dishes should be provided daily, ideally positioned away from any perches where they may become contaminated with droppings. Cleanliness is essential for promoting good health and well-being, and for creating a safe and comfortable environment for your feathered companions to thrive in. I suggest cleaning the cage every day or every other day. Budgies consume 10% of their body weight in food, which means if your bird weighs 40 grams, it will need 4 grams of food a day. An ideal budgie food container should be designed to meet the specific needs of budgies while also being practical and easy to use for owners. The container should be appropriately sized to hold the amount of food your budgie needs and to fit in their cage comfortably. The container should be made of a durable, non-toxic material that is easy to clean and maintain. It should be positioned in a way that allows the budgie to reach the food easily, and it should be easy for the owner to refill and clean. An ideal budgie food container can also include features that promote foraging behaviors, such as placing the food in different compartments or using puzzle feeders to make the food more challenging to access. This can help keep the budgie mentally stimulated and engaged while eating.
Fresh water must be offered daily. The water container can be safely cleaned with apple cider vinegar on a weekly basis. I don’t suggest giving them tap water as the harsh chemicals can make them sick, my boys drink store-bought mineral-rich spring water. Mineral water is important because it provides essential minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to their health. Unlike tap water, which is treated and purified, mineral water comes from natural sources such as underground springs or wells and contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silica, and potassium.
Many first-time budgie owners don’t know that a mineral block shouldn't be absent from a budgie’s cage. A mineral block is important because it provides essential minerals and nutrients that may not be present in their regular diet. Budgies need a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, including seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables. However, some of these foods may not provide all the essential minerals and nutrients that budgies need to maintain good health. Mineral blocks are usually made of a combination of calcium, iodine, and other essential minerals that are necessary for healthy bone development, strong beaks, and overall good health. The minerals in the block help to supplement the bird's diet and ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients. In addition, mineral blocks can help to prevent boredom and provide a source of entertainment for the bird. Budgies enjoy pecking and nibbling on the block, which can help to keep their beaks healthy and also provide mental stimulation. As you can see, I added two pink mineral blocks and a cuttlefish bone (white).
Cage positioning and non-stick cookware
The cage should be placed in a quiet, well-lit area of the house, away from direct sunlight and especially drafts. Extreme changes in heat waves can be threatening to their health. Do not station the cage where it will get direct rays from the sun. Additionally, they should NEVER be kept in the kitchen to avoid overheating, smoke, and fumes. Non-stick Teflon is harmful to birds. Non-stick cookware and items coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings release toxic fumes when heated to high temperatures, which can be deadly to birds. When these coatings are overheated, they can release a gas called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) into the air, which can cause a bird's lungs to hemorrhage, leading to respiratory distress and potentially death. Even at low temperatures, the fumes from Teflon can cause a condition known as "Teflon toxicosis" in birds.
Mine are placed in front of the window in my bedroom, one side of the cage facing the wall and the other the window as they feel safer if all sides aren’t open. They love to observe other birds outside and there isn’t constant noise so they can sleep in peace whenever they want to. At this point, I can also say it’s not my bedroom anymore, it’s theirs, I just happen to sleep there.
The ideal temperature range for budgies is between 65°F and 85°F (18°C to 29°C). Budgies are native to Australia, where temperatures can vary widely, so they are adaptable to a range of temperatures. However, they are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and do best in a stable environment. It's important to keep your budgie's cage away from windows or doors where drafts can occur, as well as away from direct sunlight or heating vents. You should also avoid placing the cage in a room that is too cold or too hot, such as a garage or a room with no air conditioning.
I advise you not to use any detergents for cleaning the cage. Detergents can be harmful to birds because they contain chemicals that can be toxic to them. Birds have a highly sensitive respiratory system, and they can easily inhale toxic fumes from cleaning products, including detergents. Many detergents contain harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, and sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate a bird's eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Inhaling these chemicals can cause coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia or other respiratory problems. In addition to respiratory problems, some detergents can be toxic if ingested. I do have big “house cleaning days” around two-three times a year where I scrub the cage bars and the rest of the cage with sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) diluted in water. Their cage should never reach that point where it’s extremely dirty. No need to spend on “bird-friendly” detergents, those are just marketing scams.
Avoid these cages
When choosing a cage for your pet bird, there are certain types of cages that should be avoided, as they can be harmful to the bird's health and well-being.
- Round or curved cages: Round or curved cages may look appealing, but they can be very harmful to birds. They do not provide enough space for birds to move around and can make it difficult for them to perch or fly.
- Small cages: Small cages do not provide enough space for birds to move around and can lead to health problems such as obesity, muscle atrophy, and behavioral issues.
- Cages with painted or coated wire: Some cages are coated with paint or powder that can be toxic to birds if ingested. This can be especially dangerous if the bird chews on the wire.
- Cages with gaps or openings: Cages with gaps or openings that are too large can be dangerous for birds, as they can get their heads or feet stuck in the gaps and injure themselves.
- Cages with sharp edges or rough surfaces: Cages with sharp edges or rough surfaces can cause injuries to birds, such as cuts or bruises.