Keeping your bird cage clean is one of the obligations that come with owning a pet bird. There are a number of reasons for keeping up on this chore. The most important is to maintain your bird’s health. Lack of cleaning and exposing the human inhabitants of the home to excessive dust from bird droppings can pose respiratory problems for everyone in the household. You also want your bird cage to be presentable from an esthetic point-of-view, and a cage full of old food and bird droppings does not present a pretty picture.
There are many products that are sold in pet stores that can be used as cage litter. The problem is that many of these products are not really suitable for pet birds, and are really designed for other kinds of small animals. We recommend using a bird cage liner instead of the options listed below. According to coopsandcages.com.au, these are the problems inherent in different types of litter that you may be considering for use with your birds.
- Wood Shavings – These may be used to mask an unpleasant odor from your bird’s cage, but that just masks an underlying problem since a healthy bird should not be producing an odor. Certain types of wood such as redwood, treated pine, or cedar can cause skin irritation if your bird comes in contact with it.
- Untreated pine shavings – These will not cause skin irritation for your bird, but can pose another problem. Dander falls to the cage floor and through the wood to the tray. When the bird flaps its wings, the dander is pulled into the air, posing health risks to the bird and human caretakers.
- Corncob and walnut shells – This natural substance can cause issues for your bird if they ingest any of the litter as it expands in their digestive tract when exposed to moisture. Corncobs are also a fertile breeding ground for bacteria which can adversely affect your avian family members.
- Kitty litter – Kitty litter that contains dust is definitely a health risk for the delicate respiratory systems of your pet birds and should be avoided. The alternative type of cat litter expands when it becomes moist and therefore poses similar problems as corncob if your bird ingests any of it.
- Sand – Sand should be avoided as it is very dangerous to your bird if ingested. It also makes cleaning your cage harder due to its density.
- Paper pellets – Paper pellets can also be ingested by your bird and can cause digestive problems. Pellets also create an uneven cage floor surface which makes it hard to keep track of your bird’s dropping which is key to maintaining their health.
As you can see, there are issues involved with all of these litter options. So what is a pet bird owner to do? Bird cage liners are the best material to use to cover the bottom of your bird’s cage. Chemical free paper is the recommended material to use in a bird cage as it poses no health risks and affords the pet owner a flat surface on which to monitor their bird’s droppings. We recommend using this instead of the potentially dangerous materials listed above.