By Diane Burroughs
A pet bird needs a good perch, or preferably bird perches. It’s mandatory equipment for a proper parrot cage. After all, the perch is where a bird will spend the vast majority of its time. Bird owners should shop carefully for the best choice(s) available for the species they own.
The first consideration is proper perch diameter. A perch that works for a large parrot will be entirely inappropriate for a small one, and vice versa. The bird should be able to grip the perch about 3/4 of the way around, with nail tips touching the surface.
The choice of materials used for bird perches these days is probably larger than you imagined. Although wood is still the perch material of choice, the list now includes PVC, pumice, concrete, lava rock and other choices. Wood is popular for very good reasons. It holds up well, gives the bird a soft surface on which to perch and also allows for safe chewing, which any parrot will appreciate. Once the bird chews a wooden perch to the point of it being worn out, a replacement perch is easy to provide. The wooden dowel perch remains a popular favorite. These types of perches work very well. Uneven wooden perches that provide alternating width’s and diameters along the perch surface are especially useful because they allow a bird to exercise its feet. The uneven surface can be manufactured that way or provided naturally through the use of branches of manzanita or other hard, nontoxic wood.
Rope perches provide a fun alternative to a rigid perches, and many parrots enjoy them. Numerous sizes of rope perches are available, in a variety of designs.
Most perches attach to the cage in one of two ways. The first is a notched perch that has grooves cut in each end to accommodate affixing the perch to the cage bars. The second is the clamp-on perch that attaches to the cage with a wing nut and bolt. Using stainless steel pieces when using a clamp-on perch is always best to avoid rust and possible toxicity issues from the bird chewing the metal.
Along with the range of material used for modern perches is the different styles and designs. Besides the in-cage perches, most pet parrots will appreciate a portable T-stand single perch or even a full bird playpen with a variety of perching areas. Portable perches should have areas at each end for food and water bowls. These generally attach by screwing onto bolts drilled though the perch material.
Some perches also serve valuable functions like bathing and grooming. Do you want a portable shower perch to use as an easy way to help your pet enjoy a warm mist? How about his nails? Are they sharp and frequently require trimming? Perches made to serve both of these needs are available. Shower perches usually attach in the corners of a shower using suction cup attachments. They are generally made with PVC or other durable waterproof material that has a roughened surface to minimize slippage from the bathing bird. If you wish to keep your bird’s talons trimmed, try one of the pumice or concrete perches. When the proper size, they do an excellent job of dulling avian nails.
How about a perch specifically for your car? Yep, there are perches specifically made for that purpose, too.
I think you get the idea. Numerous choices await the pet bird owner who goes shopping for a perch. Carefully considering the needs of your particular pet will help you narrow down your search.