Owning a pet bird is a wonderful experience that can bring great joy and companionship to your life. There are responsibilities that accompany owning an avian pet and one of the most critical is providing a safe and clean cage. Cage cleaning is something that needs to be routinely carried out and neglecting it can result in unpleasant consequences.
Your pet bird relies on you to keep its home mentally and physically stimulating while also keeping it clean and sanitized. Spent food and bird droppings accumulate quite rapidly, even in a day's time. Depending on the species of your bird and its diet, some cages may need more frequent cleanings than others.
Daily, you should change the liner in your bird's cage. Newspaper is one of the most popular choices for lining a the cage. It is safer to choose the black and white newsprint over any colored paper, such as ad flyers, because birds are frequently attracted to the bright colors and many tend to want to shred it. Concern about the colored inks posing any toxicity to your avian pet should deter you from using it for liner.
Anyone who has owned a pet bird for a day, or even an hour knows that they can create a mess. Some birds are messier than others depending on their size, temperament and diet, but all birds will leave droppings and uneaten food on cage surfaces, bowls, perches and toys. It is important for the health of your bird to keep these surfaces clean and not allow bacteria, mold and germs to build up, compromising your pet's well-being. A neglected bird cage is also a health hazards to humans, therefore the importance of maintaining a sanitary home for your bird cannot be over stated.
There are several companies that sell commercial bird cage cleaners and some of them have been in use by bird owners to their great satisfaction. It is critical that you choose a cleaner that is bird safe. Birds have delicate respiratory systems and chemicals can be deadly for your bird. Never use a commercial cleaner that is formulated to clean kitchens or bathrooms. These types of cleaners should not be used in your bird's environment at all, less airborne particles cause serious health issues in your bird, possibly even death. There is a sad testimony about an unaware family that actually cleaned their bird's cage with a toxic cleaner and killed their bird.
An alternative to avian safe cage cleaners is a natural cleaner that you can make at home. A safe and effective cleaner can be made from just 3 ingredients, lemon juice, water and baking soda. The best option for mixing and using this cleaner is to obtain a clean spray bottle. It is wise to use a new bottle because you want to be sure that there is no toxic residue in the bottle that could harm your pet. Once you obtain your spray bottle, mix 3 cups hot water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Mix well in the bottle and then make sure that your bird is in a safe area, outside the cage, before your begin cleaning.
The enzymes in the lemon juice act as a powerful cleaner and disinfectant. You will need to spray areas where there is any accumulation of food or bird droppings on the cage and then let it sit for a couple of minutes to allow the enzymes to break down the matter. If you have stubborn spots, you can use a stiff bristled brush. If your routinely clean your bird's cage, this natural cleaner should be very effective in dissolving the solids enough to simply wipe them off.
It is a good practice to also do a deep clean of your bird's cage about once a month. Some avian pet owners take their cage outdoors to clean it with water from a hose with a sprayer attachment or a pressure washer, if they have one. Another ideal deep cleaning and disinfecting tool is a steamer. Steam cleaners have garnered a lot of praise from bird owners who find them to be a very effective method of cleaning and killing germs on their pet's cage.
Whatever methods or cleaners that you choose to use to clean your bird's cage, remember that it is a serious matter to develop a routine and stick with it. If there are other members in your family who would rather not tackle the chore, it is still a good idea to teach them how to do it in case you are not available for some reason to do the cleaning. If you consistently maintain a clean environment for your pet bird, you will ensure its health and comfort as well as your own.