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Choosing a Safe Cage
When it comes to cages, a good rule of thumb is: You can't have too big a cage for your bird. It only makes sense. Birds live uninhibited in the wild. They can fly anywhere they choose and can roam for miles and miles. When we put them in captivity, we take away that freedom. Thus, the cage we choose for our special pets should be as large as possible.
There are, however some guidelines to follow:
1) Be sure the bars of the cage are spaced close enough that your bird can not accidentally get its head or wing stuck between the bars.
2) Be sure, if you buy a secondhand cage, the bars are not painted. Birds have known to suffer problems from chewing on painted cage bars. (Older paints contain lead and the newer paints contain zinc which can cause lead and zinc poisoning in pet birds.)
3) If you have a galvanized cage make sure it is electroplated not dipped. (90% of all galvanized cages are dipped) Birds can get zinc poisoning from living in such a cage even if they don't chew on the bars.
4) A lot of the cages on the market today are not safe. Make sure you ask questions like "can you certify in writing that the cage is lead-free and zinc-safe" before you buy a cage. If they can not, don't waste your money, go somewhere else. There are several cage companies that will certify, in writing, that their cages are lead-free and zinc-safe.
Consider this: No matter how nice a house you live in, you would still want to get out on a regular basis. The same is true for your bird. Try to ensure your bird does not become a prisoner in his cage, so make sure your birds get plenty of time outside the cage for socialization.
If you are unsure whether your cage is safe or not, you can test powder coated cages for zinc:
- Please use a STAINLESS STEEL blade to take sample from the cage
- Be sure to include UNDERCOATING ---Sample should be dime sized (about 20mm)
- Ship regular mail in a plastic bag (baggie) or plastic wrap to the address below:
Dr. Peter Jowett
LA VET MED DIAGNOSTIC LAB
1909 SKIP BERTMAN DR
BATON ROUGE, LA 70803
Please include a check for $20 payable to: LAVMDL; also include your name, address, phone or fax. Turnaround time is 1 day and results will be faxed or mailed to you directly.
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