Nature scape bird cage setup

Francie Pants

New member
Jul 21, 2023
1
0
Parrots
Yellow Sided Green Cheek
Hello all!
I am a new bird owner (GC Conure) and would like to pick your brains about cage set ups. As I am new to this I may be out of line, so please be kind as I learn.

I am always drawn to situations which are closer to what a pet would experience in nature (below the post is a picture of my planted aquarium if that gives you an idea). I love the idea of this for birds, with the thought that it would be more homey for both of us. I cannot find any examples of this and perhaps for good reason? The cage is setup with all the toys and perches, but I am wondering what I can do outside of natural looking branches vs the perch rods. I understand that any plants would need to be bird safe and would likely get shredded. I was thinking of having silk or plastic plants surround the cage (not inside) would be better, but I worry about the potential of ingestion via munching while the bird is out. She/he does love to chew on our clothes but has not torn or eaten anything yet.

Does anyone have a cage setup like this or have seen anything similar? Is this a terrible idea? Of course the bird being happy and stimulated is the most important thing.

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Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
293
696
Parrots
Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens
I'll be back to reply a bit later :).
 

Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
293
696
Parrots
Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens
I've seen people with softbills (finches, canaries, etc.) use fake plants but I wouldn't use them with parrots for the reasons you mentioned, chewing and eating can result in crop impaction.
Using live plants (providing they are 100% safe plants) the main issue is the dirt that the plants require to live.
Parrots can get Aspergillosis from dirt that contains the fungus, and that's just one thing, the dirt could be hiding any number of things.

I've done (and still kinda do) what I call "Natural Enrichment". Which is using foliage in place of toys. Doing this the birds have access to generally a variety of barks which they can chew, flowers and flower buds, seed pods, fruits, leaves etc.
I use trees I've identified as safe and collect them from my backyard where they are pesticide free.

This method is hard if you don't have unlimited access to fresh safe foliage so I don't often suggest it, but maybe I've been able to give you some ideas :giggle:
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Greenhouseparrots

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
310
432
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
I have tried something similar with mine but I don't think it's worth it. The birds destroy everything so it lasts a few days, plus they get poop on everything and real branches and plants aren't easy to clean. Bits of leaves and wood will be scattered everywhere and it's a pain to clean up constantly. Conures are especially messy with this kind of setup as they chew a lot more than budgies.

Mine loved it for the few days that it lasted but not much more than their normal cage setups and it takes vastly more work than a normal cage setup and doesn't look super pretty for long. Bear in mind that unless you're using growing plants, the leaves are also going to die without water and if you use water you'll have to change it out very often and stop the birds being able to get to it. If you use real plants and soil there's dangers with soil and birds will also play in the soil and fling it everywhere. So you'll end up with bits of wood, soil, leaves etc. everywhere.

If it's possible for you to take you bird outside in an aviary or using a harness then I think that's a much better idea. I converted my greenhouse into an aviary and I have bird safe plants which mine love and it's outside so the mess stays outside. Before I did that I had an outside cage that I planted lettuce seeds in soil at the bottom of and they could forage for that which they really liked, and they used to nibble my sisters houseplants (all bird safe) which entertained them.
 

Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
293
696
Parrots
Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens
A couple quick things,
Conures are especially messy with this kind of setup as they chew a lot more than budgies.
I don't just do this with my budgies ;) My other birds are aviary birds so it looks a little different, cause I can't strip the trees of leaves otherwise we'll run out and/or the tree die... You're right it doesn't last quite as long with them but given enough leaves you'll find the right balance (and you can combine with other toys! that's what I do currently), my other two love their foliage Quarter especially loves his native seeds and fruit.
Bits of leaves and wood will be scattered everywhere and it's a pain to clean up constantly.
All good bird toys will do this. My budgies made 10x worse mess with a cork perch then they do with their leaves. I see not much difference cleaning up leaves vs wood chips. Any leaves that get too poopy get snapped off/pulled out and thrown in the bin.
Bear in mind that unless you're using growing plants, the leaves are also going to die without water and if you use water you'll have to change it out very often and stop the birds being able to get to it. If you use real plants and soil there's dangers with soil and birds will also play in the soil and fling it everywhere. So you'll end up with bits of wood, soil, leaves etc. everywhere.
Yes the leaves will absolutely die, but then they become like a toy make of palm leaf ;) I throw some fresh leaves in and they now have extra texture!
I get what you're trying to share but fact is birds are messy no matter what we do.

Another thing I didn't touch on much is that natural foliage add to my birds diets, they get new textures, tastes, and experiences.
 

Greenhouseparrots

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
310
432
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
A couple quick things,

I don't just do this with my budgies ;) My other birds are aviary birds so it looks a little different, cause I can't strip the trees of leaves otherwise we'll run out and/or the tree die... You're right it doesn't last quite as long with them but given enough leaves you'll find the right balance (and you can combine with other toys! that's what I do currently), my other two love their foliage Quarter especially loves his native seeds and fruit.

All good bird toys will do this. My budgies made 10x worse mess with a cork perch then they do with their leaves. I see not much difference cleaning up leaves vs wood chips. Any leaves that get too poopy get snapped off/pulled out and thrown in the bin.

Yes the leaves will absolutely die, but then they become like a toy make of palm leaf ;) I throw some fresh leaves in and they now have extra texture!
I get what you're trying to share but fact is birds are messy no matter what we do.

Another thing I didn't touch on much is that natural foliage add to my birds diets, they get new textures, tastes, and experiences.
My birds definitely create a lot of mess with their toys and general living, but it's not as much as actual leaves and twigs everywhere like they do when I do this. For me the mess isn't worth it as they're just as happy without doing this and it takes me so much longer to do it and clean it up than the benefit they get. Plus they go outside and experience growing plants they can shred and eat so I don't see why I need to bring the outside in when they can just go outside and experience it. I work full time as well and don't have time to deck out their cages in new foliage every few days unfortunately.

I would much rather keep outside stuff outside and indoor stuff inside as it makes things both more exciting for the birds to experience different things and reduces the mess which means I can spend more time with them instead of cleaning up after them. I get that not every bird goes outside or can go outside, I'm just sharing what works for me and in my opinion the extra mess and maintenance that this creates is probably why you don't see many setups like this.
 

Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
293
696
Parrots
Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens
My birds definitely create a lot of mess with their toys and general living, but it's not as much as actual leaves and twigs everywhere like they do when I do this. For me the mess isn't worth it as they're just as happy without doing this and it takes me so much longer to do it and clean it up than the benefit they get. Plus they go outside and experience growing plants they can shred and eat so I don't see why I need to bring the outside in when they can just go outside and experience it. I work full time as well and don't have time to deck out their cages in new foliage every few days unfortunately.

I would much rather keep outside stuff outside and indoor stuff inside as it makes things both more exciting for the birds to experience different things and reduces the mess which means I can spend more time with them instead of cleaning up after them. I get that not every bird goes outside or can go outside, I'm just sharing what works for me and in my opinion the extra mess and maintenance that this creates is probably why you don't see many setups like this.
All good points! But I still personally think the mess isn't much different, but maybe that has to do with the plants we are using? :unsure:
 

Greenhouseparrots

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2022
310
432
UK
Parrots
Crimson bellied conure- Tequila
Greencheek conure- Sierra
Pearled cockatiel- Malibu
Cockatiel- Volkan
Yellow budgies- Pina Colada and Houdini
Blue budgie- Lightning
White and blue budgie- Ciroc
All good points! But I still personally think the mess isn't much different, but maybe that has to do with the plants we are using? :unsure:
Possibly! I tend to use more tree branches, the worst one I used was eucalyptus as it got everywhere and the budgies pooped all over the branches and I had to throw a lot of it away. I had a whole bag full of it as a neighbour was cutting it all back so I had loads and created a mini forest in their cages. I've also used apple and blackberry (thornless) branches. Pussywillow is a good one too but the fluffy bits get everywhere so I use it only outside now

What kinds of plants do you tend to use?
 

DonnaBudgie

Supporting Member
Jan 24, 2023
3,213
3,959
Windham, Maine
Parrots
Budgies. Lotsa Budgies.
I've seen people with softbills (finches, canaries, etc.) use fake plants but I wouldn't use them with parrots for the reasons you mentioned, chewing and eating can result in crop impaction.
Using live plants (providing they are 100% safe plants) the main issue is the dirt that the plants require to live.
Parrots can get Aspergillosis from dirt that contains the fungus, and that's just one thing, the dirt could be hiding any number of things.

I've done (and still kinda do) what I call "Natural Enrichment". Which is using foliage in place of toys. Doing this the birds have access to generally a variety of barks which they can chew, flowers and flower buds, seed pods, fruits, leaves etc.
I use trees I've identified as safe and collect them from my backyard where they are pesticide free.

This method is hard if you don't have unlimited access to fresh safe foliage so I don't often suggest it, but maybe I've been able to give you some ideas :giggle:
View attachment 52885 View attachment 52884 View attachment 52886 View attachment 52881 View attachment 52882View attachment 52883
If I were a budgie I would want to live there.
 

Keet_Krazy

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2023
293
696
Parrots
Budgies:
Obsidian (M), Snowflake (F), Sunbeam (F), Emelia (F, English), Winston (M, English)
Galah:
Quarter (Not DNA'd)
Other:
Quail and Chickens

onamom

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This is a really interesting and cool idea!
 

widor

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Aug 23, 2021
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2 Green Check Conures,2 linolated parakeets- RIP, 2 kakariki
I like the idea and I use many fresh - safe -branches when I can- mostly willow in our area, yes they are messy any need to be cleaned after it chewed, dried but when fresh it is a blast. For my kakariki's always provide fresh grass " weeds" from our backyard as well as noticed they love them and even act like little chikens crambling the grass and soil;). Not sure about the fake plants, though. Would worried they chew it ...
 

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