The most important thing about a parrotlet cage: There is no “too big”! This means even if parrotlets are very small birds they need a lot of space because they are very territorially.
Parrotlet cage size and shape
Most bird cages that can be bought at pet shops are simply too small for parrotlets. But how should the ideal parrotlet cage look like? Google “birdcage” will kill you from the many different colors, shapes and materials that make up the cages. Please keep in mind that a parrotlet cage should never be bought in appearance, because what looks good is often far from good for parrotlets. The best example of this is the “classic” round birdcage, which just means stress for the birds…
Cage size for two parrotlets
According to the minimum requirements for the keeping of parrots of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany (Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Papageien (10. Januar 1995) des Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL)) a parrotlet cage for one couple should have a minimum size (!) of 40″ (1.0 m) wide x 20″ (0.5 m) high x 20″ (0.5 m) deep. By the way, this recommendation assumes that the birds do not get a free flight in the room… But even with a cage with these minimum sizes, parrotlets should still get several hours of free flight per day (or at least the possibility) otherwise they quickly get restlessly and fat.
Ideal shape of a parrotlet cage
In addition to the minimum dimensions the parrotlet cage should be longer than high since birds fly from side to side and not vertically upwards like a helicopter. In a cage that is higher than wide the natural direction of movement of birds is also restricted: instead of flying horizontally, the birds in these cages only hops from top to bottom and the other way around. Tower-like cages are therefore unsuitable, although they usually appear quite large. A bird cage must never stand directly on the ground, but should be set up at least 31 1/2″ (80 cm) above the ground, because parrotlets need to keep an eye on the room (of course, this does not apply to aviaries that are room-high – but such aviaries must have a corresponding width).
Parrotlet cage bar spacing, alignment and color
The cage bar spacing for parrotlets should be about 1/2″ (13 mm), otherwise their head could stuck between the bars and they will seriously injure themselfes. Since parrotlets love to climb, cross bars or braiding are more suitable because they can hold on better there. The color of the bars of a birdcage should be dark because white or shiny bars may appear to the birds as a constant flicker. Birds may look better through dark bars than through bright bars. This is similar to fly screens: the dark ones allow a better view to the outside than the light ones.
Round cages are inappropriate!
In round cages parrotlets and other birds are as well as in the tower cages restricted in their natural movement. Additionally they are permanently stressed, as cage corners are missing, which are landmarks and retreats.
Material of a parrotlet cage: Danger, poisoning!
Plastic-coated or lacquered bars should not be used for parrot cages, as they simply nibble off the coatings with their beaks and swallow the small particles. This can cause zinc poisoning or poisoning by heavy metals. The following materials and objects can be sources of poisoning: hot-dip galvanized aviary grids with so-called zinc noses (metallic dripping marks remaining on the grids after immersion in liquid zinc), acids (e.g. fruit residues) or water (bath, shower, watering or feeding container), galvanized cage grids or galvanized wire mesh, metallic feeding or water bowls, hooks, rings, carabiners or other hangers for food, toys and climbing objects, unsuitable objects offered for playing (e.g. coins, chains, miniature mirrors in appropriate frames), wall paints with zinc compounds and others.
Only stainless steel is harmless. Stainless steel cages usually cost several thousand dollars/euros, however, this is an acquisition for life, since stainless steel cages are almost indestructible. Alternatively a non-toxic powder coating is also suitable.
Summary of the most important points of a parrotlet cage:
|Parrotlet minimum cage size||40″ (1.0 m) wide x 20″ (0.5 m) high x 20″ (0.5 m) deep for a couple|
|Installation height of a bird cage (all birds)||At least 31 1/2″ (80 cm) above the ground|
|Cage shape (all birds)||always wider than high and never (!) round or octagonal|
|Parrotlet cage bar spacing||1/2″ (13 mm)|
|Bar direction (all birds)||cross bars or braiding|
|Bar colour (all birds)||as dark as possible, not white|
|Bar material (all birds)||ideally stainless steel, alternatively a non-toxic powder coating, never plastic-coated or painted bars|
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