Home » What Do Parrots Need in Their Cage? [8 Must-Have Items]
what to put in a parrot cage

What Do Parrots Need in Their Cage? [8 Must-Have Items]

(Last Updated On: November 30, 2022)

Understanding what to put in a parrot’s cage is critical. Parrots are intelligent, sensitive birds, and if they’re to spend most of their lives in a cage, it must be a welcoming and comfortable environment.

Consider where to locate your parrot’s new home. The ideal cage location is in the corner of the room, where two walls will surround them, and not 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 inside. The following things should be added to any parrot’s cage to keep them happy and healthy:

1/ Cage Lining

Companion birds are rarely fussy about where they poop, so you may find that your parrot empties its bowels whenever the need arises. If you’re lucky, the cage floor will receive most of a parrot’s waste.

It’s unhygienic to leave a parrot in its mess for more than 24 hours, so you’ll need to regularly clean the cage floor. So, use a cage liner or newspaper/paper towels to line the cage floor.

These linings are ideal as they’re flat, meaning they take up minimal space, and it’ll be easy to spot droppings and know when to clean a cage.

Some owners also apply substrate to absorb scent, which means more cleaning.

If you decide to use substrate, avoid anything that irritates your parrot’s nose or throat. That means no sand or scented litter. This may mask the smell of waste, but it’s bad for the respiratory system.

parrot cage setup

2/ Perches

A parrot cage should boast multiple perches placed at different vantage points.

There are different kinds of perch, and the ideal parrot cage setup will offer a selection of options. The most common types of perch are as follows:

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

How many perches your parrot needs depends on how large its cage is, but aim for a minimum of three.

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 your parrot sits straight above its food, it may end up pooping in a food dish.

You should also provide at least two water supplies for a parrot. A small dish of drinking water on the floor and a bottle affixed to the side of the cage are ideal. Your parrot will typically be drawn to at least one of these sources of hydration.

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

4/ Tub for Washing

Parrots grow unwell if dander lingers, so they need the opportunity to bathe. Many parrots also enjoy splashing in the water, meaning they are happy to take care of this themselves.

Consider keeping a bird bath in your parrot’s cage, or if it is too large to stay within, just outside.

Your parrot may dive into the water willingly and splash around. Ensure the has a lid to keep the water contained, especially placed anywhere near electrical sockets.

What Do Parrots Need in Their Cage?

5/ Hiding Places

Even the most social of 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 when leaving the parrot to sleep overnight.

Consider getting a hanging tent, as these will be solid constructs your parrot can retreat within.

6/ Toys

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

Once your 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 ladder or swing perches, provide other opportunities for your parrot to engage in these activities.
Foraging toysHide rewards and treats in boxes or behind movable objects. The Journal of Comparative Psychology confirms 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 your parrot can interact with in this way.
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 selection in place permanently, will help manage neophobia.

7/ Bedding

In the wild, parrots 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 some parrots, so they won’t understand why bedding is being provided when they aren’t breeding.

You can create a soft bed for your parrot in the corner of a cage. Many pet stores will sell bedding chips designed to make this as comfortable for your bird as possible.

If your parrot ignores the bed, remove it from the cage, as it takes up valuable space.

8/ Cuttlebone

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

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

The consumption of cuttlefish bone remains the most rewarding component of this addition to a parrot cage. As per RSC Advances, cuttlefish bone will lead to a strong, sturdy skeleton.

A parrot’s cage is its home, so it’s essential to populate it with everything a parrot needs. Follow this advice, and your companion bird will be content to spend hours in its cage.