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Why are all the cages the wrong shape?

Kokako

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Fit birds can fly straight up and confident birds can fly straight down, but most birds fly fairly horizontally. Why are most cages made to look large for humans and not birds by being tall instead of wide? And height isn’t the answer - depending on the size and species of your bird a long cage could be raised or lowered or floor to ceiling and birds that prefer perching will perch and ground-curious or foragers will enjoy the bottom too. But getting a tall and wide-ish cage for a little bird only to find that they use the top half and the bottom five inches feels a bit silly... so I did this XD
 

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Kokako

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For non-houdinis or bar-munchers, I love a good sideways giant cheap ($180!) flight cage! The newspaper-wrapped wheels were a favorite toy as well and a good chance for pass-the-parcel type foraging to go with the necessary replacing/thickening. It is on a low lounge table and was very stable, though not good enough if other larger pets or very clumsy humans are around...

Spot the bird! Pardon the logs and twigs of (well-washed) sweet gum, doug fir and probably-dogwood. The leaves were an obstacle course and duly fell off.
 

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Kokako

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Apparently Swedish (and Swiss) cage guidelines look more like this. Credit to Mrbowlerhat, who also pointed out that these guides don’t account for heavier-bodied birds or ones with short tails. Perhaps wingspan would have been a more useful if difficult to get measurement? They are wider than tall for all sizes, though!

Cheers!
 

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Zara

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Kokako

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They are pretty great and light enough to maneuver onto their sides easily, and you can reach everywhere inside so much more easily. My two have been sideways on and off for seven-ish years and have no rust or damage that I can spot. The side table or under-support arrangement does need to be carefully done ;)

I like the cage sizes thread, but it doesn’t quite answer my question - why are most of the commercially available cages the wrong orientation? Really? Is there anything we can say to manufacturers that they’ll take notice of? Turning it sideways only works with light, basic cages, not with ones that have legs as long than the cage is tall, and while I love my functional solution and the wheel-foraging layers, it is definitely a goofy solution XD Perhaps it could be elegant in someone else’s hands!
 

zoo mom

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I think it looks awesome.
 

scrape

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Really I think cages should depend on the bird, I see your point. My cockatiel never flies in his cage, he's just not playful/active like that so a wide cage wouldn't really do any good for him. But someone with a budgie might use every inch of free air:)
 

tka

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I like the cage sizes thread, but it doesn’t quite answer my question - why are most of the commercially available cages the wrong orientation? Really? Is there anything we can say to manufacturers that they’ll take notice of? Turning it sideways only works with light, basic cages, not with ones that have legs as long than the cage is tall, and while I love my functional solution and the wheel-foraging layers, it is definitely a goofy solution XD Perhaps it could be elegant in someone else’s hands!
You've answered your own question - they look big to humans, and enough humans buy them to make the manufacturers continue to produce them. Sadly, most people don't do enough of their own research and will let themselves be guided into a totally unsuitable cage. After all, if it's being sold for a bird, it must be okay right? :banghead:

I actually ended up getting an aviary company to make a cage to my design. The commercially available cages depressed me too much.
 

scott199

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I guess first and foremost on the makers mind would be looks and saleability, and prob last would be bird suitability, as the last would obviously need loads of research and also a more designated kind of cage for each or maybe a few species.

I’m guessing they aim for ‘general’ users rather than professional/experienced/well researched owners, like you find here.

I’m still researching my first, I haven’t even looked at a cages really yet until I know what I may get, but I imagine most, if not a large percentage of people, the cage is a second thought and just something they “need” to keep the bird in.

I’ve have been looking for a cage assuming I end up going for a OWA, but as you’ve said, choice is very limited, I’m currently thinking large flight cage or double and remove the divider, but these still don’t seem very good.

Does anyone know if a good manufacturer to look at ?
 

tka

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I’ve have been looking for a cage assuming I end up going for a OWA, but as you’ve said, choice is very limited, I’m currently thinking large flight cage or double and remove the divider, but these still don’t seem very good.

Does anyone know if a good manufacturer to look at ?
The bars on a flight cage won't be strong enough for a determined OWA. They're designed for birds with much weaker beaks.

If you're in the US, you're probably looking at a double cage like the ones on here: Products | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages
 

scott199

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The bars on a flight cage won't be strong enough for a determined OWA. They're designed for birds with much weaker beaks.

If you're in the US, you're probably looking at a double cage like the ones on here: Products | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages
I didn’t know that about flight cages, so thank you, slims my research down now I can remove them from my thinking.

I’m in the UK but I’m sure we have something like that.
 

tka

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If you're in the UK, I highly recommend Rosemead Aviaries - Home

They're the company I got to make a cage according to my very rough design. As you can see, it's wider than it is tall and has nice big doors for access. Their cages also very reasonably priced and you can arrange for them to deliver it.


cage dimensions.PNG
 

Ripshod

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@scott199 most of the cages sold in the USA are also available in the UK under a different brand name. For example the cage I'm using now is the Madeira from Rainforest Cages. The same cage is available stateside as the Madeira under a different brand.
951085a.jpg
 

Kokako

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So if it is a cynical business decision by cage makers who know better, is there any way we can agitate for them to do better in a way they will care about? :s

Regarding perch potatoes, that is tough and some birds are too tough.. but my nudist wing-disabled GCC spent 7 years based in an 18” wide “tall” cage and when given a wide cage discovered jumping far distances onto tiny bouncy twigs. He is a bit stupidly brave, though, so his potential landing areas are padded. I also divide his food into several areas of the cage and like huge bell pepper or pomegranate chunks, which is a lazy type of foraging on my part, ha, but it helped him get moving.
 

Rain Bow

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Great point & I wonder the same thing, I just assume most commercial companies make idiot (for lack of a better term) designs all the time, & we do buy them making them think that they're doing their job properly. If we all joined in & bought the 1 or 2 cages that are actually properly made these companies would then be forced to change or go outta business. These other cages are not always in the price range or as mentioned not in the eye or the fit for most peoples living sitiation. I like what you did. I too have built a playtop on top of our cage to give it height. Mine is just plain old rope perches. You did great work! Please make sure to secure all the branches. Zip ties can help but you have to be sure to cut & then file the nub as birds have injured themselves terribly from that nub when not maintained as I mentioned.

:highfive:
 

Rain Bow

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So if it is a cynical business decision by cage makers who know better, is there any way we can agitate for them to do better in a way they will care about? :s

Regarding perch potatoes, that is tough and some birds are too tough.. but my nudist wing-disabled GCC spent 7 years based in an 18” wide “tall” cage and when given a wide cage discovered jumping far distances onto tiny bouncy twigs. He is a bit stupidly brave, though, so his potential landing areas are padded. I also divide his food into several areas of the cage and like huge bell pepper or pomegranate chunks, which is a lazy type of foraging on my part, ha, but it helped him get moving.
This is one of the best ways to get a lazy potato moving. I'm glad you thought of it!
 

Kokako

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Weaving fresh washed branches into the cage so that the fine bits have to break before you can remove them works too :) And for my tinies, weighting down with huge branches is something I choose to do. That doug fir sans the needles still weighed about 1.5 kg compared to 60 g which admittedly can apply clever pressure... but not that much before I could notice them trying!

I do like to challenge them though - for my amazing super-skilled flier I made a see-saw grape vine wreath which tips if she lands on the further side, which she does regularly, and which is big enough in diameter and light enough not to hurt her. It is also on the top of the cage so she has humans around when it is in use just in case. It is probably the most authentically challenging landing opportunity she has inside my house, and she stuck the landing upright on her first attempt. She’s not an advanced forager, but she could compete at flying! XD
 

Zara

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So if it is a cynical business decision by cage makers who know better, is there any way we can agitate for them to do better in a way they will care about?
All we can do is educate people on which cages are appropriate for their birds and allow them as consumers to opt for the correct cage types. The people buying these cages often don´t know what they are buying. I know I´m guilty of buying a tall cage for my first bird because I didn´t know any better.
You could try to email the manufacturers, I´m notsure how much notice they would take.
You could also create info flyers and leave them in pet stores, something with good cage shapes, branch types, toxic metals etc
You could even see if there´s a local group of bird lovers who want to gang together and start a basic bird care workshop and ask stores if you can host it there.
 
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