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Looking for/designing the dream cage

Britnicorn

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Listen, I know I sound crazy, especially since the cage is just for two budgies, but I don't care :roflmao:

I've been searching for a long time now but I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. I want a huge flight cage that's several feet long, like the size meant for a macaw, but it has to have .5inch bar spacing or less, especially since Raiju is a known escape artist. Every cage I find that meets the size I'm looking for it always has .6inch bar spacing, just barely too big.
If it came with wheels and a cage stand that would be awesome, but not required especially if it's a taller cage
I want the cage to have big doors that open horizontally so they can fly in and out easily. Won't be a deal-breaker if the cage doesn't have them though
I prefer horizontal bars but again it's not required

I've considered building my own cage but I just don't have that skill, and their safety is more important to me than having a big cage

Now for some designing/decorating questions:
I think it would be so cool to have fake grass in the cage, or maybe even real grass if that's possible. It doesn't have to be the whole bottom of the cage, but even just a little section for foraging would be awesome. But I don't know if that's safe. I'm not sure if real grass in the cage would even be a possibility but if it is I would much rather do that. Having fake grass might be easier for them to forage in though, or would dirt be even more fun? I have no clue
I'd also love to have plants growing in their cage, but obviously it would have to be one that they could eat and not get sick no matter how much they eat. Is this possible?

They're gonna share the room with my office, so they'll have at least a few hours of out-of-cage time a day while I'm studying, I just feel like they're getting cramped inside their current cage when I am gone for most of the day.
 

Sparkles!

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These guys have made me cages like you’ve described. I called them and emailed them rough sketches I had on notebook paper, and I’ve been very happy with them.
 

Sodapop&Co.

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These guys have made me cages like you’ve described. I called them and emailed them rough sketches I had on notebook paper, and I’ve been very happy with them.
Their aviaries look amazing! Wow!

About the foraging in grass and plants; pretty sure I've read that contact with dirt puts your birds at risk of getting aspergillosis. Might have to look into that. If that's the case I bet you could make a system where the dirt itself is covered by a grate an inch or something up with the grass growing through. I cut grass for my boys during the summer and give it to them in all kinds of ways, and they love eating and foraging in it.
 

AussieBird

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@The_Mayor has an indoor aviary for their bourkes, maybe they can help.
 

Britnicorn

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Their aviaries look amazing! Wow!

About the foraging in grass and plants; pretty sure I've read that contact with dirt puts your birds at risk of getting aspergillosis. Might have to look into that. If that's the case I bet you could make a system where the dirt itself is covered by a grate an inch or something up with the grass growing through. I cut grass for my boys during the summer and give it to them in all kinds of ways, and they love eating and foraging in it.
Do you think fake grass would be safe then? I thought it would be nice for them to forage treats/seeds in. I'll definitely start growing my own grass to give them! That sounds fun
 

Sodapop&Co.

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Do you think fake grass would be safe then? I thought it would be nice for them to forage treats/seeds in. I'll definitely start growing my own grass to give them! That sounds fun
I can't tell you for sure, but I would assume it's safe as long as they don't eat it! I guess you'd have to see if your boys want to try ingesting it or not. But otherwise, I give mine dishes or cagebottoms with a layer of cut grass and seeds sprinkled over it. They love eating the grass and finding the seeds, and it's really fun watching them. Feels like a natural game for them. The grass'll dry and still be great for munching and digging in.
 

GreenThing

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I researched this a lot before Merlin came home, including getting a quote for a custom stainless steel cage (like, maybe if I get into investing, but not on this librarian's salary), and it was tough to find big cages with the right bar spacing. Have you considered linking two flight cages by removing their side panels? I'd never seen the link @Sparkles! posted before, those look awesome... I think Merlin and Percy are happy (they continue to voluntarily play in the cage during out of cage time, and not because they are scared outside-- they have recently accepted the wall-mounted gym I DIY'd from a display shelf), but I'm saving that link for my fantasy future.

@Zara once linked this cage-mounted cup for growing greens that had a substrate other than dirt, but I couldn't find it anywhere that would ship to the US.

I've seen someone suggest covering the dirt with paper, too-- an X-slit for the plants to poke through. I shred greens with a knife to make their foraging trays and am working on making my own mat out of raffia. Wonder if one like this for bunnies could be trimmed down for budgies...

I am also in the very early stages of researching growing dandelion and other weedy stuff hydroponically, because that would eliminate the worries about dirt and might make a cool installation.
 

Zara

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The_Mayor

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Yeah, I have a Natural Inspirations Large walk-in aviary with the .5" spacing.

My birds and I love it. It's big enough for them to fly (although I'd like it to be even longer for that) and have plenty of places so they have a lot of options for where they hang out. I got it because I thought my job was going back to the office last year and I knew I wouldn't have a very long window for Mustrum and Esme to be out of the cage after work. That hasn't happened yet, but I know that when I do they'll barely miss me during the day.

It doesn't meet all your criteria (e.g. the bars are vertical) but the one I have is big enough to walk in and hang out with them.

Mine isn't set up on wheels, but it is designed so that you can put it on casters if you want. The reason I didn't was because the casters would have raised the bottom edges ~1" off the ground, which seemed like plenty of room for my dudes to get themselves wedged under there. If having it on wheels was important to me, I'd probably have figured out a way to have an internal skirt to keep them from poking their beaks under.

I have pictures on my other computer if you're interested.
 

soundsfun

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A few months ago I went down the rabbit hole of considering live grass for Tofu's cage - it would look so pretty and be so awesome for foraging! Here's my thoughts:

Growing in soil is more risky than I'm comfortable with - there are soil borne fungi and other baddies I don't want floating around the budgies' air space.

So I looked into hydroponics mediums - they're supposed to be sterile so maybe they'd be safer (e.g. hydroton/clay pellets)? Some hydroponic mediums are also infinitely reusable and easy to clean, which are big pros.

I don't know much about growing hydroponically so it was too steep a learning curve for me at that time to explore. But my first thoughts were that it would probably be a great way to grow grass sprouts because all you'd need is water.

The tricky part is if I want to keep the grass growing - the inputs I'd need to add would likely be chemicals I wouldn't want my budgies to get their beaks on.
 

Destiny

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I think it would be so cool to have fake grass in the cage, or maybe even real grass if that's possible. It doesn't have to be the whole bottom of the cage, but even just a little section for foraging would be awesome. But I don't know if that's safe. I'm not sure if real grass in the cage would even be a possibility but if it is I would much rather do that. Having fake grass might be easier for them to forage in though, or would dirt be even more fun? I have no clue
Real dirt or real grass creates several issues. Both from a health standpoint (risk of mold/fungus/bacteria) and from a cage maintenance standpoint. I wouldn't recommend for an indoor aviary, because it would be too messy and hard to keep clean. Keep in mind ... everything you put on the floor of your aviary will get poop on it eventually. EVERYTHING. So it is very important that anything you put into the aviary can either be properly cleaned OR easily replaced when soiled.

If you really want grass in your aviary, you could try growing the grass in a shallow tray filled with vermiculite. By growing several trays at the same time, they could be rotated in and out, as needed, so the grass has a chance to recover after being exposed to the birds and so the birds get nice fresh grass on a regular basis.

On a related note, when I first built my aviary, I tried growing bird seed in a tray, just for fun.

20200614_192723.jpg

20200716_184111.jpg

It worked quite well at first, but got kind of trampled and ugly after a short while. Not sure if I over watered it or what ... my green thumb is not the best. It is the sad flat-looking tray on the left of this next picture.

20200630_105246.jpg

It was an interesting experiment, but a lot of effort for the small amount of enrichment it offered.

Fake grass has pros and cons. Easier to clean, but the material is typically either hard plastic or synthetic fibers. Neither one is particularly bird safe for parrots, since they like to chew. I don't think this would be a good alternative.

My suggestion would be to use dry grasses instead. Not as pretty as live grass, but safer and easier to maintain. You just replace the used tray with a fresh one when needed. Orchard grass, timothy hay, and alfalfa are available from many pet stores. Grab a big saucer from the garden department - the kind that go under large pots. Or a similar large shallow container. Fill it with hay and add seeds or other goodies. And you are done!

20220112_121247.jpg

All my aviary birds love these things. Very cheap and easy to DIY. The loose grass can be a bit messy, but sweeps up easy enough. Use fresh hay and keep it dry. Discard and replace when soiled. Don't use hay that looks dusty or smells bad or musty.

Some things I've used in my forage trays to give you ideas: various seed blends, nutriberries, dry peppers, colorful pellets, edible flower petals, whole star anise, calcium clay, freeze-dried chop, oat stalks, etc.

20201116_132650.jpg


I'd also love to have plants growing in their cage, but obviously it would have to be one that they could eat and not get sick no matter how much they eat. Is this possible?
Yes, this is quite possible. Just be sure to do a lot of research before you buy the plants to make sure you get a good one. The soil will need to be covered - I use a thick layer of pea gravel in my potted plants. You can water the plant easily through the gravel and the pebbles are too large for small birds to eat them (I think). Check the plant regularly and add more gravel or replace it, as necessary.

One nice bird-safe plant option is Nasturtiums.

nasturtiumsIrLG_0.jpg

You can purchase a seed packet at most garden stores in my area for a couple bucks. They are easy to grow and will make a lovely large plant, covered in bright flowers. Since they can be grown from seeds, you have complete control over growing conditions, soil, and fertilizer choice. They are annual flowers, so they must be re-grown from seed each year. This does mean a little extra work to get started ... but you don't need to worry too much if the plant gets damaged or eaten by the birds, since it will need to be replaced next season anyways. If you want, it is easy to gather the seeds to plant again. They are big, like the size of a pea, so you can't miss them.

I like nasturtiums because all parts of the plant are edible for birds (and people) - you can even use the flowers as a bright peppery addition to your own salad, if you want.

But there are many other options available too, so look around and find something you like.
 

Britnicorn

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Real dirt or real grass creates several issues. Both from a health standpoint (risk of mold/fungus/bacteria) and from a cage maintenance standpoint. I wouldn't recommend for an indoor aviary, because it would be too messy and hard to keep clean. Keep in mind ... everything you put on the floor of your aviary will get poop on it eventually. EVERYTHING. So it is very important that anything you put into the aviary can either be properly cleaned OR easily replaced when soiled.

If you really want grass in your aviary, you could try growing the grass in a shallow tray filled with vermiculite. By growing several trays at the same time, they could be rotated in and out, as needed, so the grass has a chance to recover after being exposed to the birds and so the birds get nice fresh grass on a regular basis.

On a related note, when I first built my aviary, I tried growing bird seed in a tray, just for fun.

View attachment 401141

View attachment 401143

It worked quite well at first, but got kind of trampled and ugly after a short while. Not sure if I over watered it or what ... my green thumb is not the best. It is the sad flat-looking tray on the left of this next picture.

View attachment 401142

It was an interesting experiment, but a lot of effort for the small amount of enrichment it offered.

Fake grass has pros and cons. Easier to clean, but the material is typically either hard plastic or synthetic fibers. Neither one is particularly bird safe for parrots, since they like to chew. I don't think this would be a good alternative.

My suggestion would be to use dry grasses instead. Not as pretty as live grass, but safer and easier to maintain. You just replace the used tray with a fresh one when needed. Orchard grass, timothy hay, and alfalfa are available from many pet stores. Grab a big saucer from the garden department - the kind that go under large pots. Or a similar large shallow container. Fill it with hay and add seeds or other goodies. And you are done!

View attachment 401138

All my aviary birds love these things. Very cheap and easy to DIY. The loose grass can be a bit messy, but sweeps up easy enough. Use fresh hay and keep it dry. Discard and replace when soiled. Don't use hay that looks dusty or smells bad or musty.

Some things I've used in my forage trays to give you ideas: various seed blends, nutriberries, dry peppers, colorful pellets, edible flower petals, whole star anise, calcium clay, freeze-dried chop, oat stalks, etc.

View attachment 401140




Yes, this is quite possible. Just be sure to do a lot of research before you buy the plants to make sure you get a good one. The soil will need to be covered - I use a thick layer of pea gravel in my potted plants. You can water the plant easily through the gravel and the pebbles are too large for small birds to eat them (I think). Check the plant regularly and add more gravel or replace it, as necessary.

One nice bird-safe plant option is Nasturtiums.

View attachment 401149

You can purchase a seed packet at most garden stores in my area for a couple bucks. They are easy to grow and will make a lovely large plant, covered in bright flowers. Since they can be grown from seeds, you have complete control over growing conditions, soil, and fertilizer choice. They are annual flowers, so they must be re-grown from seed each year. This does mean a little extra work to get started ... but you don't need to worry too much if the plant gets damaged or eaten by the birds, since it will need to be replaced next season anyways. If you want, it is easy to gather the seeds to plant again. They are big, like the size of a pea, so you can't miss them.

I like nasturtiums because all parts of the plant are edible for birds (and people) - you can even use the flowers as a bright peppery addition to your own salad, if you want.

But there are many other options available too, so look around and find something you like.
Thanks so much for all the info! I am in love with your aviary!!
 

Momof3litt

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If you search for "double flight cage", there are a few brands that make them. All the ones I've seen have 1/2 inch spacing.

I have used the Catit grass planter (Senses 2.0 Grass Planter - Getting Started - Catit CA), which covers the vermiculite and base of the grass. However, my budgies are absolute plant destroyers and my first planting didn't last that long. I did feel it was safe though.

An alternative would be to hang pots of the outside of the cage so that the greens can be accessed from the inside, but not the soil. Vision makes a specific pot for their cages (Amazon.ca) but it wouldn't be difficult to do with a regular plastic hanging planter.
 
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