Honestly, I clean my birds’ cages more often than once a year. I clean the grates and trays monthly. I change out some of the smaller utility cages now and again. And I am always looking for a new cage that will work better for any or all of my birds.
I move the cages and clean the walls, the floors, the furniture around them if any. I sweep the ceiling to remove cobwebs and spiders even though I love the spiders for catching the seed moths. I put Sevin dust on the carpet to keep ants at bay. I clean perches and toys and dishes weekly.
Still, there comes a time when a cage must be taken outside and hosed down. And scrubbed. And scrubbed some more. And hosed again. Then left to dry in the sunshine. Meanwhile, the birds are on holiday in the Bahamas. Just kidding! Their wings would get too tired if they tried to fly that far.
I have a few empty cages that I use to house birds while their own cage is getting hosed-scrubbed-etc. Sometimes it’s not feasible, however, to move small birds for a day then return them to their original cage. With that in mind, I have a plan. I have two large flight cages that are in desperate need of hosing and scrubbing. The grates are not removable so that only gets scrapped unless I get the cage outside. Luckily, the cages only have a pair of birds each in them.
The pair of gray singing finches can be housed for a few days in a smaller utility cage. Their flight cage can be put outside for the full clean, then when it’s dry, put inside and populated with canaries. The canaries flight cage can go outside for cleaning, and then we’ll be ready to change out the smaller utility cages.
On the bigger cages, I use puppy training pads to line the trays. The parrots usually leave the plastic and paper pads alone. They make cleaning the tray so easy. For a while, I used them over towels for my footless African Gray parrot, Bo Dangles. However, once she decided to rip them to shreds, they no longer served a purpose. I use just the towels, which she does rip and shred and pull strings out of. Velour works better than terry cloth for her.
I used to have a weekly ritual where I hung all the soiled towels up on cages and trees and bushes, then hosed off the guano. I found that if I got the dirty towel wet and let it sit, then came back with the hose, the clumps would come off pretty easily.
Then I had an epiphany. I could use the toilet to clean the towels, just like we used to do when cloth diapers were the only options. Twice I did that. Then I saw I could scrape the poop off the towel into the toilet bowl. The bathroom couldn’t take much more abuse. Why couldn’t I just scrape the poop off outside?
I could! And I did. So now I need to find a temporary cage for Bo to use so I can wheel her iron monstrosity outside for hosing and scrubbing. I can hardly wait. In fact, I hope she likes whatever new cage we use for her more than the current one. Because she really needs something with less storage space and a better view.
All in all, Spring is fun when I think about cleaning. I always think about it as done and moving on. If anyone knows how to train parrots to clean their own cages, let me know. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next Sunday.