Site Index

Bird Hygiene

Good hygiene is an important part of husbandry for caged birds because most are confined to a relatively small living space. Consequently, droppings often accumulate on cage parts and perches, and tend to contaminate food and water cups, resulting in bacterial proliferation and mold growth.

Perches should be kept clean at all times. Soap and water, cleansers and sand paper may be used to clean them, if necessary. Cage-bottom coverings should be changed daily. Cages should be given a through scrubbing and cleaning at least once a month. Sanitizing products work best if the cage and perches are first given a thorough soap and water scrubbing to remove all of the major contamination. Diluted chlorine bleach can be use if thoroughly rinsed off afterwards.

Food and water containers should be thoroughly cleaned once or twice daily before they are refilled. Bottle brushes work best for cleaning water tubes and bottles. Water tubes and water bottles with ball valve at the drinking end (water bottles for rodents) are increasing in popularity. They greatly reduce the possibility of contamination of the drinking water with droppings, uneaten food and saliva, all of which contribute to massive bacterial proliferation within the water and its container. The corners of food and water containers are the most common areas for bacterial buildup. Therefore, concentrate on those trouble spots while cleaning these containers.

Several sets of food and water cups should be maintained and used interchangeably. One set not in used can be soaking in a disinfectant solution. When possible, use a dishwasher for the final cleaning of these food and water containers because their extremely hot temperatures aid disinfections. Rigid standards of hygiene must be maintained at all times. Disease-causing bacteria grow freely in most water containers. Small numbers of these bacteria from food, saliva or droppings can quickly multiply into millions of organisms in a water container, yet the water appears normal to you. Allow the water tap to run for about 3 minutes before filling the water container. Bottled water dispensers should be allowed to run for about 5 seconds before filling the drinking container. These bacteria do not affect most people but can have devastating consequences for caged birds if allowed to multiply.