Setting up the Cage

Checklist for Expectant Owners

  • Appropriately sized cage ordered and received and placed in its’ predetermined location at home.
  • Safe toys for the cage, both destructible and indestructible.
  • Safe foot toys for out of cage play.
  • Foods:  pellets/seed mix, fresh fruits and vegetables purchased as recommended by Aviary by the Sea to provide continuity of diet.
  • Play-gym purchased, received and placed in its’ predetermined location at home.
  • Knowledgeable about how to help your baby transition from Aviary by the Sea to your home and what to expect
  • Free standing portal perch.

Preparing For Your Bird’s Arrival

Many people have questions about how to prepare for their baby’s arrival. We encourage you to do as much reading and research as possible on all the following areas so that you can make well-informed decisions.

Caging – Any parrot should be housed in a cage of such dimensions that the bird can spread its’ wings without touching the cage. This is considered the minimum in size, any cage smaller than this is too small. Cage sizes as recommended by manufactures are actually too small. Buy the largest possible cage you can afford. If you purchase a bird from us and you meet or exceed our minimum size guideline we will gladly sell you a cage at cost – because it is what is best for your parrot.

In the case of a macaw the perch must be high enough from the bottom so as to ensure the tail does not touch the bottom.

Typical Recommended Minimum Dimensions: (interior dimensions)

28”D X 30”W X 40”+H — African Greys and smaller (greys are insecure)
32”D X 36”W X 48”+H — Amazon, Eclectus and Smaller
36”D X 40”W X 60”+H — Amazon, Eclectus Size and Bigger, Cockatoos,
36”D X 48”W X 60”+H — Blue and Gold Macaw, Scarlet Macaws
48”D X 48”W X 60”+H Greenwing & Hyacinth Macaw and Hybrids

It is important to remember that a parrot’s cage is where it will spend a great deal of time and should be an enjoyable, interesting and secure place to be. Your baby should have food and fresh water available at all times.

Toys, both destructible and indestructible, help stimulate parrots’ mind and develop its coordination. To prevent boredom, toys should be replaced and/or rotated on a bi-weekly (every 2 weeks) basis.

Perches are also very important. A macaw needs a larger perch than a cockatoo. To help feet stay healthy and provide good foot exercise, perches should be varied in size.

Manzanita, although an almost indestructible wood, is too slippery for a young bird. Manzanita that has been sandblasted to provide a more secure foothold is a better choice.

Parrots love and need to chew so they will need wooden toys to chew on if you prefer they didn’t chew up their perches. Chewing is necessary for them to keep their beaks trimmed as the beak grows continually throughout their lives.

Cage Bottoms – Until a young parrot is very adept at holding on and perching it is important to provide a well-padded cage bottom. Falls can cause injuries and bruises that can be life threatening. Good padding can consist of covering the grate or solid bottom with a pad of newspapers, followed by a layer of towels and then another layer of newspapers. The top layer of newspaper can be changed as needed.

Preparing Your Household

It is important to think through where your baby bird is going to spend a majority of its’ waking hours and where it will sleep. With a large bird that has a lot of beak power such as a macaw or large cockatoo, this becomes a very significant decision. All birds like to be where they can interact with the members of the family on a regular basis and this is the ideal space for them to be in. They also need to be able to sleep 10 to 12 hours a night and need a quiet place to be at night. An ideal space would be one where the parrots can be part of their human flock’s activities (and with macaws and cockatoos where they can’t do significant damage with their beaks.)

All members of the household need to be involved in welcoming the baby parrot to its’ new home. If your meeting your parrot for the first time, take care to allow the parrot to acclimate to her surroundings. Remember the parrot is often a little stressed – it is has been on a plane, has been in a new car, and often has many pairs of new eyes and faces staring at it… approach the baby parrot gently with calm and soothing voices. Parrots will often reflect their owners moods.

A well-socialized parrot can be handled by more than one person and is a joy to be with. For that reason each person who is involved in the parrots’ care needs to handle it on a daily basis.

Setting up dependable playtimes that your baby can look forward to and feel secure about will prevent future behavioral problems such as over-dependency, excessive screaming or feather plucking. Parrots can be taught to play independently if they have a balance of nurturing, interactive attention (30 minutes to 1 hour once or twice a day) that they can count on.

Parrots need to be out of their cages and supervised 3-4 hours a day. A portal perch is ideal. My companion parrots are actually out of their cages the majority of the time when I am home 6 + hours a day so long as I can supervise them.

Other Birds in the Household – If you have other birds in your household, they will need time to adjust to a new cage and a possible relocation of their own cage prior to bringing your baby home. Upon the baby bird’s arrival, it is very important to recognize and maintain the hierarchy already established among your other birds. Birds are very sensitive to hierarchy and need reassurances that your new baby has not displaced them. Always feed and clean the older birds first and do not promote the dominance of your new baby over all the other birds.

Under no circumstances should you put a new parrot into an existing parrots cage. This can have fatal results as the existing bird may view this new parrot as a threat to its territory.

Dogs and Cats – Usually dogs and cats that are well fed and well behaved, know their place in the family, and have a reliable routine tend to be very accepting of a new bird. If your animals hunt for food or just for fun, they may not adjust so well to a bird joining your household and your bird could very well be injured or worse, killed. Assessing your dog and/or cat’s temperament is therefore essential and needs to be added into the equation.

Food Bowls – Food bowls should be easy to reach and get to. Until your parrot is adept at perching and climbing, place one or two food and water bowls on the bottom of the cage. Once you know where your bird likes to spend time, you can affix a food bowl and water near the area where he sits. Food should never be too far away from a young bird. Your baby should have food and fresh water available at all times.