For some people it’s fish tanks and aquariums and for some it’s dog kennels and cat baskets but for some select few, it’s bird aviaries. It doesn’t even matter that the rest of the population think that breeding birds these days is like trying to breed bacteria with all the diseases usually associated with birds – somehow the raucous shrieks and bird calls are like a balm to their tired souls.
Whether you breed birds as a hobby or as a source of income, it is important to keep or maintain a healthy environment for them to live in, not just to make sure they are happy and safe but to make sure their humans are happy and safe as well. It is not enough that you feed your birds regularly, it is also important you keep your aviaries disease-free.
Cleaning out your aviaries can be a challenging, tedious and time consuming but something that needs to be done. In order to make this less of a task, you need to keep a regular cleaning schedule, breaking the process down into mini-tasks to be completed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis also helps make it easier to do.
For the weekly cleaning, you can schedule washing cage trays, scrubbing off the grate, cleaning and changing the perches and cleaning and rotating the toys to keep bacteria from breeding. Also, some cage parts like perches and bird toys require soaking time to ensure that they are really cleaned so it is a good idea to have back-up perches and toys so that your birds will have somewhere to rest and play with to keep from getting bored.
For the monthly cleaning, you can schedule a general cage cleaning. Make sure you use a good scrub brush to scrub the cracks and to help break down and remove any sticky substances. When doing a general cleaning, always remember to rinse and dry everything thoroughly as moisture is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria.
As for the basic, everyday tasks, you can start off by lining the bottom of your aviaries with old newspaper or with liners specifically designed for bird cages. You can also use litter if you like and if you do, make sure you rake it everyday and change the litter once a week. If you use paper liners, you will also need to change it once a day as it is quite unsanitary for birds to be walking on their droppings and bits of food, not to mention that it makes the aviary smell bad.
Next, make sure you clean your birds’ food and water bowls every day with mild detergent. This will prevent bacteria that can pose as a health risk to your pets from growing and breeding. A mild dish detergent and warm water is recommended as this thoroughly disinfects your birds’ food and water bowls.
Wipe down the cage’s surface with a mixture of 2 tbs. vinegar and 1 qt. water for a thorough clean. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it to clean once a week. Make sure you use a soft, damp rag to avoid scratching the surfaces and to make sure stubborn dirt like dried droppings can be removed.
If you need to disinfect with household bleach, make sure you relocate your birds to some place where they cannot accidentally inhale the fumes as this can be toxic to birds. All these tips, when done faithfully and in the right way, will ensure that your birds live a longer, healthier life. These will only take up a few minutes of your time but can save you a whole lot of grief and keep your birds happy and safe.