The cage or aviary that you provide for your pet birds is critical to their physical and mental well-being. A cage that is too small can lead to a miserable life for pet birds, especially if they spend a lot of time in the enclosure. While all pet bird owners should strive to allow their birds some time out of the cage every day, the bird will probably still spend a majority of its time in its cage.
Calculating How Much Space Your Bird Needs
Cage size, as measured in the livable inner size of the cage is one factor to consider when purchasing a cage. Another is the amount of space between the cage bars. Having too much space can be deadly as your bird can escape or get its head caught between the bars. This will cause the bird to panic and injure itself.
Many cages that are sold as starter parrot cages are too small for the birds they are meant to house. In general, you want to give your bird the largest cage that you can afford and that fits in your home. Depending on the species of bird, you may need a cage that is longer rather than taller. In some cases, the parrot or parrots that you own may be prodigious climbers and will do better in a taller cage.
Let’s take a look at some general guidelines regarding bar spacing and cage size. If in doubt, you should always opt for a larger cage and for the smaller bar spacing.
Bird Cage Sizes For Different Speices
Here are the recommended cage sizes for some of the more popular species of active birds. Use these as a starting point in purchasing a cage for your avian companions. One caution is that larger cages often have larger bar spacing, so be careful when making your choice.
Parakeet Cage Size
Two budgies will do well in a cage that is at least 39 inches long, 20 inches wide and 32 inches high (99L x 51W x 81H cm). If they spend the majority of time in the cage, opt for a larger enclosure.
Conure Cage Size
A single conure needs a cage of 24 inches long, 24 inches wide and 30 inches high (61L x 61W x 76H cm). These active birds definitely benefit from a larger cage and will be much happier with more room.
Cockatiel Cage Size
If you are keeping a single cockatiel you can get by with a cage that is 24 inches long, 18 inches wide and 24 inches high.(61L x 46W x 61H cm).
African Grey Cage Size
This bird needs a cage that is at minimum 2 feet deep by 3 feet wide by 4 feet high (61D x 91W x 122H cm).
Macaw Cage Size
Large macaws such as Hyacinths and Blue and Gold Macaws demand large and sturdy cages. The smallest cage that you should use with these species of birds is 4 foot long, 4 foot wide and 5 foot high (123L x 123W x 152H cm).
Once you have ascertained that your bird will be safe and not able to get its head through the space between cage bars, the next step in finding the right cage is obtaining a cage that is large enough for your bird. At a bare minimum, your bird needs to be able to stretch its wings fully in its cage, even if the cage is just used for sleeping. In most cases, where the bird spends a good deal of time in the cage, a larger cage affords the bird a chance to move and exercise. It also gives you the opportunity to place toys and accessories in the cage to keep your pet mentally stimulated.
Your bird’s wingspan is a good indicator of the minimum cage that it will require, according to PearlParrots.com. The cage should be at least as wide as 1.5 times the bird’s wingspan. Even better is to use double the wingspan as your guide. This will inform you as to the width and depth of the cage, and based on the activity level of the species you are keeping, you can usually go as tall as you like. An exception is with young African Greys that tend to fall off of their perches at times and can be injured by perches located too high in their cage.
Birds seek to flee when they sense danger and when in their cage their options are limited. This is one reason that providing a large enclosure will benefit your bird’s mental well-being. Obesity is a big problem in pet birds, and the lack of exercise enforced by living in a small cage is a major contributing factor to this dilemma. Again, a large enclosure and lots of toys will help control this problem in your pet.
Bird Cage Bar Spacing
As previously stated, a primary consideration when purchasing a birdcage is the spacing of the cage bars. You need to make sure that your bird cannot get its head through the space between cage bars. Here are the standard bar spacings available in commercial cages and the types of birds that should be housed with these spacings, according to CenterForAnimalRehab.org.
- 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6.35 to 12.7 mm) – Bars spaced this far apart are what is required for very small birds such as finches and canaries.
- 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) – Parrotlets, budgies, and lovebirds will be safe in a cage with this kind of bar spacing.
- 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch (12.7 mm to 15.8 mm) – Cages with bars spaced this far apart are suitable for cockatiels, ringnecks, doves, and pigeons.
- 5/8 to 3/4 inch (15.8 mm to 19 mm) – This spacing is appropriate for conures, caiques, Pionus parrots, and other birds of a similar size.
- 3/4 to 1 inch (19 to 25.4 mm) – Use this bar spacing when housing Amazons, African Greys and small cockatoos.
- 1 to 1.5 inches (25.4 to 38 mm) – This bar spacing is used for the largest captive birds such as large cockatoos and macaws.
Try to find a suitable location in your home where you can provide your bird with the largest cage that you can obtain that has the correct bar spacing to keep it safe. The additional expense of the larger cage is a small price compared to the benefits that it will afford your pet bird.
Pam Barnes says
This was very, very helpful. Thank you.