Budgie cages - how to choose the right one!

Choosing a cage for your budgie can be a daunting task. When you are confronted with budgie cages of every shape, size and colour how do you know which one is best? Well there are some basic steps to help you with your decision.

  • firstly you need to make sure the cage is an appropriate size for your budgie
  • secondly, it must be safe
  • ease of cleaning is important, as you need to be able to keep your budgie's home clean if you want it to be healthy.
  • then you can think about necessary features such as perches and feed containers. 
  • last but not least is how will it accommodate a few special toys.

So read on to prepare for your cage buying expedition.

Size Matters

The first feature of a budgie cage that you should consider is the size. Budgies are very active and get most of their exercise from flying.  If your budgie will spend most of its time in a cage then you should be saving up for a flight cage. If it will be out of the cage for a few hours each day then you can go for a smaller size.  As they need to be able to fly to be physically and mentally healthy, you really want a cage that is longer horizontally rather than a pretty upright, narrow one. Unfortunately, most cages are made to be taller than they are wide, so you may not have a choice. I think it is so they fit in to our houses more easily.

Some very cute cages are nice to look at but won't provide a decent home for your budgie, cuteness is not a good indication of a good cage...

Below are some minimum sizes, listing the height x width x length. If you multiply these together you get the volume of the cage.

  • The minimum size for a single budgie would be: 18x18x18 inches, which gives a volume of 5,832" cubic inches (46x46x46cm = 97336 cubic cm)
  • Minimum size for 2 budgies: 30x18x18inches, which gives a volume of 9,720" cubic inches (77x46x46cm = 162932 cubic cm)
  • Minimum size for 3 budgies  32x18x20 inches, which gives a volume of 11,520" cubic inches (82x46x51 cm = 201756 cubic cm)

From there you can work out the minimum size by having a volume of 3800 cubic inches (62271 cubic cm) per budgie. 

Please consider carefully the size you get as it will determine how active your budgie can be and this will effect the health and happiness of your bird.

Safety First

So, you enter the shop, start looking at budgie cages and realise there are so many choices you don’t know where to start! The single most important feature of your new cage will be its ability to keep your pet safe. Lets face it, the whole point of having a cage rather than letting your budgie live free is to make sure it doesn’t fly away, get eaten by a cat, eat something poisonous or drown in the toilet…..

Firstly, establish which cages are designed for budgies. There are some good looking cages for larger birds or for rodents which may or may not be safe for your bird, so start with the ones that are specifically for budgies and go from there. You may find a different type of cage that fits all the following guidelines and will work perfectly, but make sure you double-check everything is suitable.

You will really need a wire cage; the last thing you want is your little darling chewing itself to freedom/danger! The wires can run vertically or horizontally. I don’t really have a preference but a cage with some of each is probably a good choice (then your bird can climb the horizontal ones and slide down the vertical ones if it likes). The most important thing about the wires is that they are close enough that the budgie cannot squeeze its head through. This will mean about 12mm or a half an inch spacing is ideal, anything larger and you run the risk of a small budgie getting stuck - which is usually fatal..

I would avoid any cages with bars that are not parallel, i.e. they get closer together at some points. Your budgie could slip its foot into a tight gap, panic and hurt itself badly. This is where some of the prettier cages fail, they can look lovely but be a real danger to your bird.

Have a good look to ensure there are no sharp edges or pointy bits that your budgie can get caught on or cut by (believe me they will find them if they are there!).

Check how the door opens and closes, budgies learn how to open the doors that just slide up and down without a catch to hold them. If you do end up with a cage like that then stick something like a clothes peg on the door so the inhabitants can’t open it. This also applies to the little doors some cages have to put the feed containers in through.

And, of course, your budgie cage will get chewed on so make sure there are no toxic materials on it anywhere.

Necessary features

Well, firstly, it needs perches for your bird to sit and sleep and play on. These should be of varying thickness so that the pressure is not always on the same points of the foot. Make sure there is one at least that the budgies toenails will make contact with so they are worn a bit and need less trimming. I like to use branches from non-poisonous trees. These allow plenty or variation in size and texture to exercise the feet, and budgies love to chew them too, which is why they must not be poisonous, and also not sprayed with anything toxic (avoid trees on roadsides which can absorb traffic fumes).

The next necessary items are the feeders. You need at least three, one for seed/sprout mix and one for water, and also one for veggies etc. The most common ones are the simple bowl shaped ones or the font type, where the seed comes out of the tube into a catcher at the bottom. I prefer bowl types (though not so good for determined to breed hens who may try to use them as nests) but you must always check to see that the budgies have actual seed available and not just the empty seed husks! The easiest way to do this is to blow the seed; the empty husks are light and will blow away.

Check where the feeders sit in relation to the perches. The budgie must be able to get to the feed, but you really do not want it sitting above the feeder pooping into it!

Ease of cleaning

Now you have narrowed the choice down to a few budgie cages that are safe and practical it is time to think about yourself! You are going to be cleaning this cage out regularly, and hopefully for many years. So how easy is it to remove the base and replace any lining your use? How easy is it to remove the perches for an occasional scrub or disinfect? What about wiping the bars, are there many difficult to get to corners? These are real concerns as if it is fiddly to clean you may end up doing it less than you really need to, so make sure your budgie cage suits you too!

Toys etc…

You will want somewhere to hang a toy or two and maybe a swing. With this in mind, do you think the cage is big enough? The biggest budgie cage you can afford, with the features we are discussing, will usually be best for your pet. The more active they can be the happier and healthier they will be; budgies are very active and intelligent little darlings...

I would recommend buying some little clips to hang greens, millet sprays and cuttlefish. These can be moved around so your budgie has to perform some acrobatic feats (and exercise their brains) to eat the yummies. Some types of clothesline pegs can be suitable, and cheap too. So once you have found the budgie cages that fit these requirements you can happily pick which ever one suits you and your house… have fun!

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