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what to put in a parrot cage

What Do Parrots Need in Their Cage?

Last Updated on: 1st June 2023, 02:44 pm

Parrots are highly intelligent and sensitive birds. If a bird is to spend the majority of its life in a cage, it must be a welcoming and comfortable environment that meets all of its needs.

Consider where to locate a parrot’s new home. The ideal cage location is in the corner of the room, where two walls will surround them. It shouldn’t be in full view of a window.

What Should Be in A Parrot’s Cage?

The better the parrot’s cage setup, the more time it’ll contentedly spend there. The following items should be added to a parrot’s cage to keep it happy and contented:

Cage Lining

Birds are rarely particular about where they poop, so you’ll find that a parrot empties its bowels whenever the need arises. The cage floor will receive most of a parrot’s waste.

Leaving a parrot in its mess for more than 24 hours is unhygienic, so you must regularly clean the cage floor. Use a cage liner or newspaper (paper towels) to line the cage floor.

These linings are ideal because they’re flat, meaning they take up minimal space. Also, seeing droppings and knowing when to clean the cage will be easier.

Some owners also apply substrate to absorb scent, which involves further cleaning.

If you use substrate, avoid anything that irritates the respiratory system. That means no sand or scented litter should be used. It may mask the smell of waste, but it isn’t good for birds’ breathing.

parrot cage setup


A parrot’s cage should have perches positioned at different levels and angles.

There are several different kinds of perches, including the following:

Wooden perchThis is the most common perch, imitating the tree branches a wild parrot would sit on. They help a parrot trim its nails and can be a chew toy.
Calcium perchLike a wooden perch but constructed from cuttlefish bone or another source of aragonite. A parrot can snack on its perch, gaining calcium and preventing hypocalcemia.
Flat perchA flat perch will be easier to sit upon if a parrot has foot issues, whether through injury or musculoskeletal deformity.
Swing perchThese perches provide fun for a parrot, especially if equipped with basic toys like beads. A swing perch also allows a parrot to exercise inside the cage.
Ladder perchMuch like a swing perch, parrots find climbing ladders fun, and a bird will stop and rest if it becomes tired. A colorful ladder perch will always attract a parrot’s attention.

The number of perches a parrot needs depends on the cage size, but aim for at least 3.

Food and Water Bowls

Parrots need access to food and water each day.

Food dishes should be affixed to the side of a cage and never placed directly below a perch. If a parrot sits directly above its food, it’s likely to poop into the dish.

Provide at least 2 water supplies for parrots. A small dish of drinking water on the floor and a bottle affixed to the side of the cage are recommended. A parrot will prefer one of these hydration sources.

Keep food and water within easy reach of the perch. Parrots are much likelier to eat and drink if they can do so from a position of comfort. Wash and change the dishes regularly.

Tub for Washing

Parrots grow unwell if their skin and feathers become unclean, so they need the opportunity to bathe. Birds enjoy splashing in the water, so they’re happy to wash themselves.

A parrot may jump into the water and splash around. Ensure the bird bath has a lid to contain the water, especially if positioned near electrical sockets.

What Do Parrots Need in Their Cage?

Hiding Places

Even the most social parrots can grow overwhelmed by constant stimulation or unending interaction with humans and other pets. Parrots occasionally seek a dark, private place to hide for a while.

One way to give a parrot privacy is to cover its cage with a towel or blanket, which is best reserved for sleeping overnight.

Consider getting a hanging tent because these will be solid constructs a parrot can retreat to.


All parrots need toys to keep themselves entertained. Parrots often fear unfamiliar objects (known as neophobia), so strange toys may cause more apprehension than enrichment.

Once a parrot has adapted to toys in its cage, ensure that all aspects of play are covered. Baby toys are often parrot-safe and appeal due to their bright colors and non-toxic materials.

Parrots love any toy that moves and welcomes interaction. Here are some suggestions:

Climbing frames and swingsIf you’re not using a ladder or swing perches, provide other opportunities for a parrot to engage in these activities.
Foraging toysHide rewards and treats in boxes or behind movable objects. The Journal of Comparative Psychology stated that parrots understand object displacement, which appeals to a bird’s foraging instincts.
MirrorsParrots are often fascinated by their reflection, so keep a mirror in the cage. Remove them if a parrot grows territorial and mistakes the mirror for another bird.
Noisy toysParrots like to make noise, so fill a cage with bells, children’s musical instruments, rattles, and anything else a parrot can interact with safely.
Paper and cardParrots love to shred and will spend hours tearing a ream of paper or pieces of cardboard to pieces.
Soft toysChicks cuddle up to soft toys and play fight with them, while older parrots like to hold onto light but substantial objects with their feet while they peck and chew.

Applied Animal Behavior Science explains that regularly rotating toys in a parrot’s cage, rather than keeping the same ones in place permanently, can assist with neophobia.


Wild birds sleep on tree branches, which means captive parrots are just as happy to sleep while standing on a perch. All the same, some owners prefer to offer hammocks or specialist bedding.

Some parrots will automatically reject bedding. A nest is only needed for laying eggs in the mind of most parrots, so they won’t understand why bedding is provided outside of the breeding season.

If a parrot ignores its bed, remove it from the cage because it takes up valuable space.


The shell of the cuttlefish, a marine mollusk, is sold in exotic pet stores. This shell is constructed from calcium phosphate, ensuring a parrot gets ample calcium.

Hung from a cage, cuttlefish bone provides a parrot with entertainment. Most parrots enjoy chewing and biting at a cuttlefish bone, wearing down and sharpening their beaks.

The consumption of cuttlefish bone remains the most important component of this addition. As per RSC Advances, cuttlefish bone is high in calcium, leading to a strong skeleton and eggshells.

A parrot’s cage is its home, so it’s essential to populate it with everything the bird needs.