Perches and Dishes Related Topics:
Housing
Cages
Perches and Dishes
Toys

Having now found the perfect bird and the perfect cage, you need to furnish your bird with the essentials - a place to sleep and a place to eat. Like birds and cages, furnishings come in a huge variety, so take the following into consideration when heading to the store.

Perches: Perches come in several varieties including plastic, wood dowel and natural woods (usually manzanita or ribbonwood). All are fine perch choices if you remember a few things. First remember that is is very important to have several perch diameters in your bird's cage at all times. This is essential in preventing foot sores ("bumblefoot") and/or arthritis in your bird's feet. Natural wood perches serve this function wonderfully, as they naturally are of differing widths and are covered with bumps and dips. Consider your bird's wood-chewing habits when buying perches. A soft-wood dowel will not last long in a cockatoo's cage - it will be toothpicks in no time. Large birds need big, hard perches like fat manzanita branches. Also, remember that you will have to keep the perches clean. Wood perches can be cleaned with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 30 parts water) then rinsed with warm water. If you clean your bird's perches in this way, make sure they are completely dry before returning them to the cage. This can be done by leaving the perches out for 24 hours, or drying them in the oven at about 300 degrees for just a few minutes (don't burn the perch, and realize they are VERY hot when they come out). Plastic perches can be washed with a bleach solution, then rinsed with water and dried off. Do not put plastic perches in the oven. Finally, do not get branches out of your yard to act as perches unless you are certain they are from bird-safe plants and have not been exposed to any pesticides!

Bowls: When buying a bowl, you need to consider just a few factors. First, and most important, be sure the bowl is bird-safe. Do not buy a bowl if you do not know where it was made. Just little lead in the materials can prove deadly. Also, make sure your bowls are free from cracks and scratches which can harbor bacteria. Bowls are normally made from plastic, ceramic or stainless steel. Like cages, the safest and easiest to clean bowl material is stainless steel. Ideally, water and soft-foods, which are both prone to bacteria, should be kept in stainless steel. The second factor is size. Before you buy, know the size bowl that your cage will hold. If you want an irregular sized bowl, your bird/pet store will normally carry supplemental holders that hang on the side of the cage. It is ideal to have two sets of bowls, so one can be cleaned and sterilized while your bird is using the other. Cleaning: Bowls should be washed with soap and warm water daily and sterilized weekly. The 1:30 diluted bleach solution can be used to sterilize. In your daily and weekly cleanings it is important to rinse very well, as residual bleach can make your bird ill.