There’s no doubt about how birds can get messy. If they are provided with the right tools, they can keep themselves well-groomed. However, you’ll have to clean their cage.
They spend a fraction of their waking time on grooming themselves. Flocking birds have the habit of grooming each other as well. Self-grooming is a good thing as long as they don’t pull out each other’s feathers because this can lead to a condition known as the “French moult.” Feathers, such as the down and contour feathers, provide protection against the weather and other forms of danger. The feathers for flying must also be in good shape in order to fly efficiently. Water birds groom to waterproof their coat. This keeps them warm in the water and prevents them from drowning.
It is your responsibility to keep the bird’s cage clean, which should frequently be done. This shouldn’t be difficult though. By learning some tips on preventive maintenance, it will go a long way in working wonders for your birds.
YOUR PET BIRDS NEED BATHS TOO
There are baths made for birds which could be used inside or outside the bird’s cage. Go for the one that is good enough or comfortable for your bird. Don’t forget that most birds cannot swim, so be careful not to drown your bird.
For swimming birds, enough water should be provided for them to dunk their faces in. This is how they clean their eyes and faces. For non-swimming birds, baths should be given under your watch and warm water should be used. DON’T USE HOT WATER! The bird should have enough time to dry off its feathers to avoid being cold. A little ‘mutual preening’ won’t be a bad idea. On the alternative, you can scratch your bird with your fingers to imitate a mutual preen. Scratching should be done against the lay of the feathers. Birds do not enjoy having their feathers brushed down against their bodies. Don’t ignore their body language when you scratch. If the bird leans into a scratch, it probably likes it. If it tries to get away or opens its beak at your finger, then it wants you to stop. Birds have various scratchy spots, such as their cheek or the back of their head or under their wing.
AMMONIA IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR BIRD AND YOU
Bird droppings contain nitrogenous waste, just like ours. When it decomposes it releases ammonia into the air, which is not good for a bird’s lungs or for your lungs. When you do a thorough cleaning of the birdcage, the birds should be moved into another room, while in their carrying cage, until the ammonia is no longer in the air. In cases where you have a large amount of dried bird droppings to clean up, there will be a strong ammonia smell by the time you’re done cleaning. For your own safety, open the windows and put on your fan.
Diluted vinegar remains one of the safest cleaning products and enzyme-based cleaners sold in pet stores and supermarkets today. You can find enzyme-based cleaners such as Poop-Off, Poo-B-Gone and Nature’s Miracle. Their job is to break down organic matter using enzymes.
YOUR BIRD MUST HAVE CLEAN FOOD AND WATER DISHES
Cleaning the food and water dishes should be a routine job. It should be done frequently. It is a good idea to wash damp food and water dishes twice per day. Also, dry pellet dispensers can be washed a couple of times per week. For nectar-eaters, you need to wash the dishes every time the bird has had a meal.
You will realise that it is much easier if you have several dishes to change out in order to avoid the task of washing dishes several times per day. You can use any mild washing soap. Take note: If you wouldn’t eat out of a dirty dish, then your bird shouldn’t either.
PRECAUTIONARY CLEANING WILL HALVE YOUR WORK
Trying to litter-train a bird isn’t right. Some parrots have been trained to poo by straining as hard as they can because they have realised that they will be allowed to play if they poo in their cages, but this is an unhealthy thing for a parrot to do. It is a bad habit. Most pet birds don’t have the capability like parrots do.
You are advised to always spread paper towels or newspapers where the bird perches, so you can catch most of the droppings. This will save your rug from being messed up. Cages for some types of birds are built with a tray underneath the wire floor. The trays can be pulled out and cleaned. It would be a lot easier if the tray is lined with a paper towels or newsprint to make the droppings easier to remove.
It is evident that the paper method won’t work in an aviary or on the bottom of a cage with a solid floor. The birds will pick at the paper and are likely to get themselves sick. You have no choice but to scrub the floor.
As you clean up each day, be on the lookout for frays on rope perches and other perches because they could lead to your bird being injured. Don’t forget to check the cage for rough or sharp edges and any rust as well.
You can learn a lot about your bird’s health by examining the mess found on the bottom of its cage. Check the condition and the number of loose feathers you see, along with the appearance of the feces and the amount of food waste because this can indicate how much the bird is eating and what it is eating. Look for any chewed-up debris to see what the bird is getting into, and check for any regurgitation or vomit in the cage because this would be a signal that you should call your vet.
CLEANLINESS IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR BIRD’S HEALTH
In conclusion, cleanliness is vital for the bird’s survival, and also for your own comfort and health. Spending ten or fifteen minutes per day to keep your bird cages clean is worth it. It surely will take more time for large aviaries and dovecotes. A healthier bird will make you just as comfortable as they are.