Bird Cage Hygiene is Important

"A removable bottom tray that can be taken out and cleaned is a must for any bird cage. Whether you are making a bird cage at home or buying it from outside, you should make sure that the tray is set up in such a way that it allows for easy removal and insertion, without disturbing the bird in any way or opening the main door of the cage. A steel tray will make handling and cleaning easier than a tray of any other material.  

Since the bird cage tray is kept a few inches below the wire bottom of the cage, the bird does not come into direct contact with it. Still, keeping the tray clean is important for the health of the bird. To facilitate cleaning, the bird cage tray should be kept lined all the time. The lining is necessary not just to provide for easy cleaning, but also to enable the bird owner to examine the bird's fecal matters. Any change in color or texture of bird droppings can be indicative of the bird's ill health that the owner should immediately attend to. For this, the tray lining should also be changed daily so that fresh droppings and the previous day's dropping do not get mixed up.  

Old newspaper is the best tray liner for a bird cage. The lining newspaper should be cut correctly to size to cover the tray fully, touching all corners and boundary. Cutting several sheets to size and stacking them in the tray at the bottom of the bird cage will make the cleaning process easier. You can remove two or three top layers of the lining with the poop every day and once the stacked stuff is exhausted, the tray itself should be pulled out and given a thorough soap and water rinse.  Using newspaper to line a bird cage is practical and economical. Those who feel that printed newspaper does not provide a background for thorough examination of the fecal matter, can go in for unprinted newspaper, or paper towels, or plain brown paper, on which the droppings will show off better. 

Even those who use old newspaper to line their bird cage should not use glossy pages with brightly colored ads. Examination of droppings could be difficult in a colored background. Further, colored ink that newspapers use might contain chemicals that are harmful to birds.  Different types of bird cage liners like pine shaving, cedar shavings, aspen shavings, kitty litter, ground walnut shells, wheat grass, and corncobs are available in the market. Of these, from the toxicity point of view, pine shavings and aspen shavings are comparatively harmless. Aspen shavings contain no aromatic oils, while pine shavings contain only a limited amount of it. If the tray is lined with these shavings, the top layer should be removed daily.

Many people prefer paper linings for their bird cage tray as top layer removal is easier with paper than with shavings. Many bird owners are also of the opinion that the use of corncobs, walnut shells, kitty litter, cedar shavings etc. is not conducive to keeping the bird healthy. Those, who feel that newspaper is not aesthetically satisfying in complementing the bird's beauty, can use plain, lightly colored papers in their bird cage."

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