You'll find many types of bird cage in the average pet store. If you're buying one new, it should - in theory - be suitable for pet birds, which is not always the case with older cages. The enclosure needs to have enough room for the parakeets, and allow easy access for your hand when you replenish the food and water bowls. Parakeets need enough space to fly around, and like to have a variety of fixed and swinging perches. A cramped cage won't give the parakeets enough freedom of movement, and if the bird can't exercise its wings properly it will become very unfit - the bird equivalent of the couch potato!
Parakeet Cage Size
The minimum dimensions for a cage that will house single bird are 18.5 inches(50x50x50cm), but the bigger the better, as parakeets need space for horizontal flight. The bars should be closely spaced (less than half an inch apart) to prevent the birds from sticking their heads between the bars and possibly killing themselves in the ensuing panic and struggle.
Happy parakeets in a well-equipped birdhouse
Parakeet Cage Requirements
There should be nothing sharp in the cage, so check for any stray wires or ends of bars sticking out. This applies equally to the exterior, as your parakeet, once finger-trained and able to leave the cage, will be exploring this area too. Any perch or toy you introduce should be without sharp edges or spikes, and should not have gaps into which a head or foot could be inserted but not easily retracted. It is also important to make sure the cage, and its contents, are not coated with a toxic paint or varnish. Anything showing signs of rust should be rejected too.
Parakeet Cage Setup
Parakeets need the basics in their cage: perches, feeding and drinking bowls, something to chew on, a swing, some toys, a bird bath, and something to line the bottom of the cage. Always remember that the cage isn’t just a convenience, it’s a fully equipped residence for a bird you are bringing home as a member of the family. Give your parakeet the best!
Parakeet Cage Stands
Parakeet cages can be placed on any secure furniture, or you can buy or build a stand. Some are platforms, others have a hook for hanging the cage on. The important thing is that the cage should be secure, so keep it in a spot where it is safe from boisterous kids, dogs and vacuum cleaners. It also needs to sit comfortably in its surroundings, so don’t go for the luminous white uPVC option if the rest of your furniture is antique wood!
Parakeet Cage Cover
Whether or not you cover your parakeet’s cage at night depends on where you live, and what the bird is used to. If the cage is in a spot where lights tend to get switched on and off all night, or passing cars shine headlights through the drapes, a cover will give the bird the darkness it needs to settle down and get some regular shut-eye – ideally between 10 and 12 hours a night. The cover also stops the parakeet from shouting like a rooster at dawn! The cover should be removed at a regular time each morning.
If the issues mentioned above don't apply to your home, a cover isn’t essential. In many ways it’s a good idea not to get the bird used to a cosy cover every night, as you will need to take it off at a regular time every morning, which could compromise those occasional weekend lie-ins. You’ll also be unable to cover and uncover the bird if you are away overnight (a single day away from home is something parakeets can cope with).
A parakeet needs to know when the day is over and it's time to sleep
If the parakeet was used to being covered before you bought it, keep on covering it. If the bird is sleeping at night (and you can check this by seeing if he sleeps during the day: if he does, he's probably being kept awake at night), and if he isn’t waking you up too early in the morning, you don’t need bother with a cover.
If you do cover the cage, use a plain, dark towel or sheet. You can also buy a cage-hugging cover from some pet shops, but these are very much an optional extra rather than a must-have.
Parakeet Breeding Cage
If you keep lots of parakeets, they will be in a large aviary rather than a cage. However, for breeding purposes parakeet keepers sometimes isolate pairs in breeding cages with attached nesting areas. These are often multi-storey affairs, with separate compartments for each pair. There is more information on these cages, and how to set them up, in the Parakeet Breeding section of this guide, below.
Parakeet Cage Accessories
Parakeets like a bit of variety in their cages, and it will keep them alert and entertained if you change their toys around regularly. However, there are certain items that should be fixed features, including perches, swings, mineral blocks, and feeding and drinking apparatus. See the sections below for more details.