Perfect Setup: Plan Your Bird’s Cage Environment With Care (2024)

ByKathleen Samuelson

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Bringing a new companion bird home can be exciting for you but frightening for your bird. The key to introducing your new feathered friend to your home in a Fear Free way is to plan for and set up his new cage and environment in a mindful manner before you bring him home. Maintaining an empathetic perspective will help to ensure that your new bird feels safe, comfortable, and calm as he acclimates to your home environment, daily household activities, and family (including other pets you may already have). Here’s what to consider.

Cage Placement

When deciding where to place the cage, your bird’s health and welfare are the top priority. Although the cage may look great in the living room in front of the bay window, that may not be the best placement for your bird’s physical and mental wellbeing. Windows can be drafty. The sun can shine too strongly through the window, overheating the bird. Activity she sees outside can be stressful. And a cage placed in a high-traffic area can cause your bird undue stress and anxiety.

Instead, place the cage in an area of the room away from drafty windows and doors. Make sure to locate it where your bird can see human family members (for social interaction), but also where he can enjoy some quiet time during the day (and definitely at night). Maintain a little space between the back of the cage and the wall for ease of cleaning, and to keep your bird from reaching out to chew on the wall. A plastic floor pad (like the kind used for office chairs) placed under the cage will protect flooring and make cleanup easier.

Cage placement needs to be conducive to building and maintaining trust and social interaction with you, your family, and other pets (under strict supervision). You’re all living under the same roof, so you all need to learn to interact in a calm manner. Too much activity can be stressful for your bird, especially while she’s still getting used to living in your home. Too little activity won’t provide the opportunity for you to integrate your bird socially into your home.

Lighting and Temperature

Where you place the cage also depends on the lighting and temperature control in the room. Natural lighting is best, but make sure the bird isn’t relegated to a part of the room that is dark much of the time. Well-placed lighting will help keep your bird happy and engaged with the household during the day, and able to get a good night’s sleep once lights are switched off (you may want to also provide a light cage cover so the bird can wind down at the end of the day). Avoid placing the cage too close to heating or cooling vents, heaters, or radiators. Make sure temperature can be well-regulated to keep your bird comfortable during all seasons.

Food and Water Bowl Placement

Food and water bowls should be easily accessible from perches inside the cage. Make sure they’re not in an area where they could be contaminated by feces or placed in such a way that food could fall into the water or vice versa. You should be able to reach them easily for cleaning and refilling.


Choose perches appropriate to the size and type of bird you have. The claws should comfortably grasp the perch. A perch that is too narrow or too thick can cause discomfort and pain to your bird’s feet. Birds appreciate a variety of perch textures and configurations, making natural branches such as manzanita a popular choice.


Your bird will benefit from ample playtime both inside the cage environment as well as supervised activity outside of it. Inside the cage, provide a few well-placed and mindfully chosen toys. Birds love to chew and “preen” toys that feature a variety of safe materials and textures. Don’t overwhelm your bird with too many toys, though, which can be stressful.

Some cages come with playpens attached to the outside top area. These allow your bird a bit of freedom (under your watchful eye, of course) from the cage. Birds like to be up high, so a cage-top playpen is ideal.

Cage Maintenance

Above all, keep your bird’s cage and environment clean by changing the cage liner regularly (daily, if possible), washing and refilling food and water bowls daily, and removing and replacing perches and toys as they become chewed and frayed. Your bird will appreciate the care and compassion you show by making sure the cage is a place where he can feel comfortable, safe, and stress-free—providing the perfect foundation for a trusting, loving relationship.

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

Kathleen Samuelson is a professional career editor and writer, and mother of two college students. Her household includes her beloved senior feathered and furry companions: Amazon parrots and Redbone Coonhounds.
Perfect Setup: Plan Your Bird’s Cage Environment With Care (2024)


How do you take care of birds in a cage? ›

Clean the cage regularly: The cage should be cleaned at least once a week, or more often if necessary. Clean the perches, toys, and food and water bowls with hot soapy water, and replace the bedding. Provide a balanced diet: A balanced diet is essential for the health of your bird.

What are some things that should be placed in the bird cage? ›

Birds love stimulating cage décor and toys. Some great choices include: Rope knots, twisty toys. Puzzles with treats inside.

What is the best cage setup for a parakeet? ›

At least two or three perches of varying width. At least one food bowl and one water bowl per bird, ideally of different designs (e.g. one water dish and one water bottle). A handful of different toys – enough to provide stimulation, but not so many that the cage becomes cluttered.

How many toys should be in a bird cage? ›

Provide your parrot with 8-12 toys in the cage and at least 5 perches so that the bird can access the toys. The more you cram the cage the better. Parrots are way too smart and get bored of only a few toys. They need to stay busy chewing and exploring.

How to properly take care of a bird? ›

Pet Bird General Care

The right pet bird diet, a clean cage, fresh bird food and water, safe bird toys, exercise, and lots of attention are the basics. Pet bird cages should have plenty of space for activity and a grate to separate your pet bird from the substrate.

How to keep birds healthy? ›

Keep in mind: prevention is the best medicine!
  1. Clean your feeders at least once a week to prevent the growth of bacteria and minimize the spread of diseases and parasites. ...
  2. Change birdbath water daily. ...
  3. Clean the area beneath your feeders. ...
  4. Change nectar every 3-5 days, cleaning the feeder between fillings.

Can birds stay in cage all day? ›

It's fine for them to be alone and stay in the cage for two weeks, but you need someone to come in twice a day, ideally.

How to keep bird cage area clean? ›

The entire cage should be sprayed down, washed, or scrubbed down at least once weekly with a non-toxic disinfectant soap and hot water. Most disinfectants should sit on the surface for 15 minutes, followed by thorough brushing. Rinsing with fresh water is essential after the application of any soap or disinfectant.

How do you arrange perches in a bird cage? ›

Place perches at multiple levels within the cage to encourage movement & climbing. Don't overcrowd the cage as this inhibits movement. Don't place the perch so close to the sides that the birds tail hits the cage bars. Don't place perches directly over food or water dishes.

How do you organize a bird room? ›

Bird Room Accessories to Consider. Place cages and hanging toys or ropes in such a way that the bird cannot reach light fixtures or switches, moulding, walls or the ceiling. Discard of any tattered rope toys that your bird might get tangled in.

What do parakeets need in cage? ›

Here are a few must-haves: Perches: Parakeets need plenty of room to sit, fly, and exercise their legs. The best perches are made from wood or natural fibers such as sisal rope or hemp twine. Food dish: Parakeets should have a food dish large enough for them to eat comfortably.

Are parakeets OK in cages? ›

Yes, parakeets should be either in cages or in some type of fine-mesh enclosure if they go outside, for their own protection. Otherwise, they will fly away and likely not live long.

What is the best thing to put on the bottom of a bird cage? ›

What should I line my bird's cage with? The bottom of the cage should be lined with disposable paper such as newspaper or paper towels that can be thrown away every day. Newsprint is now free of lead, so it is non-toxic to birds, even if they chew on it.

Should a bird cage be vertical or horizontal? ›

For younger birds and smaller species that are not too strong, horizontal bar arrangement is the preferred option. The bars are easier for them to grip and climb. Another reason you may want to get a cage that has the bars arranged horizontally is if you have a bird with any form of disability.

Do birds prefer tall or wide cages? ›

A general rule of thumb is to get a cage that is wider than it is tall with plenty of room for these little birds to flutter from perch to perch.

Is it good to rearrange your birds cage? ›

Birds are explorers. They love discovering new habitats for themselves. Therefore, you need to rearrange their cages to keep them entertained. You can rearrange their cage in different ways, you can get a new cage all together, rearrange it, or you can add a few interesting elements to their cage.

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