Title - Cages Part 1: Cage Dangers!
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The cage you select for your budgie or budgies needs to be:
  • Spacious and safe
  • Comfortable and convenient
  • Adequate quality

This first page just looks at safety issues; Part 2 will discuss other cage features, good and bad.

You would think that any cage on sale would be fundamentally safe, but amazingly this is far from true! Therefore it is very important to handle the cages on offer before making your choice. Pinch the wires together to check whether they are too bendy and could trap your precious bird if she tried to push her way out -- especially try the wires at any point where the welded, opposite direction wires are infrequent. Inspect the door area in the same thorough way.

A potentially lethal cage!
This smart-looking, round cage was bought in the UK in recent years, yet it is potentially LETHAL! These roof wires have no cross bar, and are so bendy that a large man's hand can be pushed right through!!!


For budgies, wires are usually less than half an inch apart if they are fine; half an inch if they are heavier; (11mm or 12mm if fine, 13mm if heavier). This, too, is important for safety. Beware - some of the cages in the shops are for much bigger birds such as cockatiels, and these will have wider wire spacing.

Feeders
Work the feeders to find out if they are safe, as well as easy to remove and replace. They can be annoying if they are fiddly.

It is worth finding a cage with strong, really well designed feeders, and there should be at least two of them if you intend to keep one bird, and at least three if you intend to keep two. The type of feeder illustrated below is common -- and worth avoiding if possible!! They knock off easily so that they could cause your bird to escape, particularly while travelling or taking the air in your garden. They also break easily. Worse, they can both starve and drown budgerigars!!! I have personally known of two baby budgies who have drowned while trying to get out of the cage through one of these clear dishes full of water. The problem is that both the dish and the water are transparent, and there are no bars behind. -- Babies are vulnerable because they have only been on the planet a few weeks, and understand very little.

The photo's below illustrate how a bird can starve if this kind of feeder is put back incorrectly -- and I have made this mistake myself, though I found the weakened bird (a friend's pet sparrow) in time, and it was OK afterwards.

These pictures are taken from inside a cage, and show the pet's eye view:

A cage feeder correctly set up-- and wrongly set up THIS MISTAKE CAN STARVE A BIRD!

On the left, the feeder is correctly set up, and your bird can reach the seed OK.
On the right, the same dish has been put back incorrectly - so easy to do - and your bird will starve to death unless you put your mistake right in time!!

I would suggest you try to find a cage with a better style of feeder, instead of this kind which fits into a sliding plate that covers the hole in the wires when you remove the dish. If you can't find something better, and have to buy one of these, make sure everyone in your home knows how to avoid making this dangerous mistake at feeding time!

Complete your safety assessment by checking the clips that fix the plastic base to the wire top. How secure are they? If you were carrying the cage and bumped it - say - on a step, would the base drop off? Are they too easy to undo? These clips are often a weak point.

Part 2
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© Helen Day 2003