Quality is shown by both beauty and durability. Our staff of aviculturists, designers, technical experts, and our avian veterinarian have some suggestions for setting up your new cage:
  1. Always check that you have purchased a cage appropriate for your individual pet. Because of the tremendous amount of variation in size and strength between parrot species (and even between individuals), the owner must take the final responsibility for determining if the cage is sized correctly for their own parrot. Bar strength and gaps in bar spacing, grills, ornamentation, ladders and toys can all present hazards if the bird tries to insert a head or a foot in an inappropriate location. Playpen manzanita perches (if included) should fit closely against the supporting bar. Ask your avian veterinarian or pet retailer for assistance in safety determinations if you are unsure.

  2. Place perches away from locations that are directly above food and water containers to try and minimize contamination. In addition to the perches supplied, you may wish to add perches of differing diameter and surface (Hagen has many different types of perch available). Fresh natural tree branches also make excellent perches - apple, willow, alder, poplar & aspen are all popular.

  3. Clean all cage parts and bars to remove dust. Food and water dishes should be particularly well cleaned. Add paper to the tray (many owners also like to use dried ground corncobs as a tray substrate; this is also available through Hagen. Do not allow birds to eat substrate). Clean or change papers or substrate every 3 - 7 days. If grills are used on the cage bottom, clean weekly. Wipe down bars and base every 2 weeks. Clean and disinfect the entire cage periodically.

  4. Check that all feeders and doors are securely fastened at all times. Change food and water daily even when some remains. Allow your pet out for carefully supervised exercise daily. Many owners may wish to have the wing feathers trimmed periodically to minimize escape problems and accidents. Add safely sized toys to the cage and rotate different types or models periodically.

  5. Select a warm and secure location for the cage (kitchen not usually recommended due to many hazards). Window locations are good and avoid the need for supplemental lighting. Drafts are not usually a problem unless very severe. During warm weather, some smaller parrot cages can be temporarily moved to a protected outdoor location to allow the bird access to fresh air and sunlight (guard against excess heat, predators, theft, storms, etc.)

  6. Most parrots enjoy a daily bath of fine water mist. However, this is best done away from the cage to protect the finish on bars and fittings.

  7. Research has shown that parrots need much more than a seed diet to keep them healthy. Seed diets may result in problems such as obesity, vitamin A and calcium deficiency. Hagen makes a wide variety of advanced nutritional products tested and approved by the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute in Montreal, Canada. Talk to your pet retailer or veterinarian today!

Louise Bauck BSc, DVM, MVSc.

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