Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cockatiel Cages

Pet birds should always be given the opportunity to have toys. With some birds, like parrotlets, this is absolutely necessary. Other birds, like African grays, love toys but are frequently scared of them. It's not uncommon for an African gray to be terrified of a toy for six months.

Audrey doesn't like the kinds of toys that you buy from pet stores. His obsession is with bottles and boxes. Audrey likes to feel protected.

In this shot Audrey is sitting on top of a stuffed giraffe, which is positioned behind the boxes. Audrey feels very secure when he's surrounded by boxes. His need to feel protected is exacerbated by the position of his cage, which is across from a sliding glass door that over looks the ocean, where hundreds of birds fly by every day.

Here's the giraffe. Audrey doesn't understand why I keep taking pictures of him. This giraffe is nearly as old as Audrey and very worn. I still remember when he bit the plastic eyes off.

In addition to toys, I try to give Audrey a lot of perching variety. At night he likes to sleep on top of his cage,
which isn't good for his feet because he's not gripping
anything, so he has a variety of perches inside and outside his cage. The perch on the right is made from a mineral block. If Audrey actually chewed the mineral block with any regularity, this would be dangerous, but Audrey only occasionally nibbles it.

Audrey is also obsessed with nest boxes.
Any shoe box will do for this purpose, as long as it's sufficiently high that he can stand up in it without crouching. Female cockatiels should never be given next boxes unless you intend for them to breed because it encourages them to go into nesting behavior. The females will then lay eggs, which can be very dangerous if she lays too many. Producing eggs is very stressful for the bird and requires a great deal of calcium. If she doesn't get enough calcium, the egg can collapse while she's trying to lay it and she can bleed to death or become egg bound, which means that the egg becomes stuck inside her. For males, nest boxes may make them extra-territorial. Audrey likes to sleep in it all day.

Conner has a nest box too, but he doesn't understand the concept yet. He chewed a hole through the other end. I'm not sure if he thought that the door should be on the
back or if he simply likes to chew things. I suspect it's the latter.

Conner is more receptive to conventional toys. He especially likes popsicle sticks and q-tips. But the nest box remains his favorite. He likes to get inside and sing.

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