Bird perches are a must for the overall heath of your pet bird. Cage-bound birds live most of their life on their feet. It is very important that you provide them with bird perches that are correctly scaled to accommodate their body weight and claw shape. The perch that comes prepackaged in a ready-made cage may not suit your bird's needs. A poorly fitted perch may result in the development of all kinds of ailments like arthritis and uneven development of the feet.
1 - Size Counts
Different birds have different body masses and even birds of the same species may have different sized feet, so the notion that a standard perch will fit every bird is incorrect. As a rule of thumb the ideal perch is the one that allow the bird’s feet to wrap around it without overlapping, leaving some space between the front and back claws. If the feet overlap, it means that the perch is too small, and if the feet lie flat on the perch, it is too large.
2 - Different Perches
Your bird should have a variety of perches in its cage. You will want at least one of a hard abrasive material like cement on which the bird can trim its claws. Additionally, other perches are made of rope which the bird will playfully peck at, keeping its beak in good shape. Variety also prevents boredom so if the cage is big enough you can put in as many perches as you like.
3 - Naturally made Perches
Building your own perches using natural wood branches will provide your feathered friend with a taste of its natural environment. Citrus wood is ideal although it is a soft wood and which will need to be replaced from time to time as your bird will peck it happily away.
Before putting the perch in the cage, clean it thoroughly by scrubbing it with hot water to avoid your bird getting some kind of infection. Make sure that it has not been sprayed with toxic chemicals because no kind of scrubbing will make it safe for your bird to use. Avoid using apple tree branches as some of them can be toxic during certain times of the year.
Attach the perches to the cage using leather or material; if using nuts and bolts make sure you use stainless steel ones because birds do tend to peck at things and can get some form of poisoning if you use other kinds of hardware.
4 - Buying Wood Perches
If you prefer to buy natural made perches, rather than making them yourself, Manzanita wood is ideal because it is a hard wood, curved and irregularly shaped and which will provide your bird’s feet with all kinds of stimulation necessary for healthy feet. Manzanita perches, which can be found in most Pet Shops, come in all shapes and sizes so you are sure to find something to suit you and your bird’s needs. You can also find multi-branched perches which will provide your bird with a natural gym to exercise its whole body.
Your bird’s perches are equivalent to how comfortable and supporting your shoes and your bed are for you. Taking good care of your pet bird will help ensure that it lives a long healthy life, providing you with many happy hours of good companionship.