Though several breeders clip their birds’ feathers to keep them from escaping, this practice is inherently inhumane as it deprives the bird of its natural birthright to fly.
Flying is precisely what keeps a bird active and therefore, healthy.
In other words, for a bird to live its best possible life, it should have ample room to exercise its flight muscles. However, most birdcages have limited space which is usually not enough to have a full swing at bird flight.
And so, if you have a budgie at home, you may be wondering how you will allow your bird to fly around and maintain its health.
However, we’ve all heard those stories where a budgie who got too comfortable flying around the house ended up escaping through a window or met with a fatal ceiling fan accident.
This might make you feel horrified at the idea of letting your bird roam freely.
Therefore, I have decided to address your biggest concern by suggesting awesome ways to make your home budgie friendly.
Before we get into that – let’s talk about…
Can I Let My Budgie Fly In The House?
You can and frankly, you should but only if you’re willing to exercise caution.
I Should? Really?
Yes, but to fully grasp ‘why you should let your budgie roam around the house’, you must see life from your budgie’s eyes.
Imagine you are a caged budgie with limited space to yourself. You do have several toys but no companions except for that one ‘Hooman’ who stares at you and occasionally treats you with food. You don’t like walking at all and your wings itch to flap.
But whenever you flap those wings, you end up hitting cage walls.
However, there is no need to walk and certainly none to fly as there is always food next to you. It’s a life full of comfort but not of choice so you feel little motivated to do anything. Therefore, all you do is eat, sit in corners, play with a few toys or stare at the walls.
Does that sound like a happy and worth-living life to you? If you cannot choose such a life full of ‘comfort’ for yourself, isn’t that too much to ask from a bird?
I suppose that does cover the “Should” part but letting your bird fly freely inside your home isn’t exactly the safest idea either.
I take it that you understand that your house is full of unnatural and unfamiliar objects that your budgie is bound to explore through its beak.
So, whenever I or any birder suggests that you should let your bird fly inside your house, we aren’t referring to ‘your entire house’ but a limited portion or just one room.
In fact, birders pretty much recommend that you dedicate one room entirely to your budgie as a “Bird Room”.
Such a room is constructed from bird-safe materials and contains bird cages along with all bird essentials.
That said, a bird room isn’t an option for most budgie keepers.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from allowing your bird to fly around the house as you can make your house budgie friendly with a few minute changes.
Now, you may be wondering:
How Do I Make My House Safe for My Budgies? (10 Things You Must Do!)
You can make your house safe for budgies by taking the following measures:
Here’s 10 things you should do to make your house safe for your birdie
1. Closing Doors, Windows, and Other Inlets
Now, this may sound like the obvious plan because who’d let out their lovely budgie without closing doors or windows first?
But the problem with the most obvious things is that we tend to forget them first.
This is precisely why if you were to draw a bicycle stick figure from your memory right now, you’ll probably draw something that looks like a bicycle but isn’t really.
That also explains why more than 70% of all budgie escape cases involve an unlocked door/window.
But there are ways to make it a less obvious task:
- Using locks for the bird rooms that close with a unique snap sound.
- Adding sensors to doors and risky windows that will blare an alarm if someone forgets to close the door.
- Inserting permanent screens outside windows and getting an additional net door for the bird room.
- Setting up cameras near your birdcage area.
Aside from these measures, I recommend you make a habit of closing toilet doors and putting lids on wash basins as these not only pose potential drowning hazards for budgies but also an increased risk of infection to you.
2. Using Curtains and Mirror Coverings
Most birds don’t understand the concept of transparent glass windows.
So, the first time a budgie flies out of its cage, it aims for windows and experiences its first flight accident. (How to Stop budgies flying into windows?)
So, it’s best to draw curtains before you take out your budgie.
In the long term you can do any of the following:
- Keep drawing curtains every time you take out your bird from its cage.
- Put sticky notes or fabric screens on your glass window to make it visible to your budgie.
- Take your bird to the window and tap against it. In a week or two, your budgie will learn that there is material hindering it from escaping.
Meanwhile, mirrors at your place may delude your budgie into assuming its very reflection as a winged companion.
So, it’s best to cover mirrors before you take your budgie out of the cage.
3. Installing Wired Screens and Grills
Budgies have strong enough beaks to chew down any fabric and even thin wires.
So, it’s best to use a metallic mesh of at least 1mm diameter and 1½ inch spacing instead of using fabric-made screens for coverings.
You can add these wired screens outside windows, exhaust fans, grates, and fireplaces as well as inside chimneys, vents, and wall holes.
That said, wires shouldn’t be galvanized or made of heavy metals.
4. Covering Switch Boards And Electronic Wires
Budgies are extremely curious creatures.
Which means they often end up chewing down electronic wires or dipping their beaks inside switchboards.
Now, you can fashion cardboard coverings for these materials at home or use regular tape to protect wires.
But odds are your budgies will soon rip these materials apart, creating a mess.
So, I recommend you look up some soft vinyl wire protectors such as the ones recommended below
They all can be purchased from Amazon (clicking on the link will take you to Amazon)
- Safety 1st Power Strip Cover for Baby Proofing
- Dreambaby Dual Fit Outlet Plug Cover – Model L907
- Safety 1st Outlet Cover with Cord Shortener
- Baby Proof Socket Protectors
- Floor Cord Cover X-Protector
- Cord Protector CritterCord
5. Switching off Home Appliances and Machines
This too may sound extremely obvious to you.
However, you’d be shocked how many budgie lives have been lost with accidents involving a switched-on ceiling fan.
Now, there is no way to tell all the appliances you hold at home.
So, I recommend you turn off as many appliances as you can as these may produce toxic fumes including ovens, radiators, exhaust & ceiling fans, cooling/heating vents, extra lights, toasters, sandwich makers, rice cookers, dryers, and ironing machines.
6. Filling Corners and Narrow Spaces
Since budgies are extremely small, therefore, they may walk inside tiny spaces but may not know how to come outside.
So, it’s best you cover up narrow corners with newspaper fillings or put cardboard sheets on small holes in furniture.
You can also use PVC strips to protect your wall corners and other places from budgie beaks.
7. Providing Perching Spots
Since birds are unfamiliar with human furniture, they are likely to feel overwhelmed by not finding the right spot to land.
Therefore, it’s essential that you provide appropriate perching spots around the house for your bird to feel comfortable.
You can either fix perches in your walls or get bird-perching play stations.
Here are a few products to consider:
- Penn Plax Wooden Bird Perch
- Polly’s Hardwood Bird Perch
- K&H PET PRODUCTS Thermo-Perch
- Parrot Training Perch Stand
- Prevue Pet Products Small Parrot Playstand with Wheels
- Large Exotic XERCH Perch/Expandable Bird Perch
Now, it depends on you as to what kind of perches you want. You can also create customized perch stands at home.
However, I have two recommendations:
- Don’t use dowel perches all the time as these have a uniform thickness which may create pressure points in your budgie’s feet leading to sores or bumble feet.
- Don’t use sanded perches as these often end up causing scabs and cuts in budgie feet.
8. Securing Other Pets
Several birders are also cat butlers or dog persons. However, budgies don’t intermingle with cats and dogs in the wild. Therefore, such a friendship is not natural.
So, if you are allowing your budgie to fly freely around the house, it’s best that your other pets are not around unless strictly supervised.
9. Air Considerations
Birds are extremely sensitive to air quality. Therefore, aerosols that are only slightly irritating to humans may be toxic to birds. So, here are a few things to avoid:
- Heating non-stick cookware as it produces PTFE and PFOA fumes.
- Air fresheners and scented candles.
- Smoking and vaping fumes.
- Chemical cleansing products.
- Volatile medications.
10. Miscellaneous Considerations
Now, there are certain things that only you have at home and so only you can define them as harmful to budgies. These could involve:
- Poisonous house plants.
- Noise-creating objects that may irritate the budgie.
- Sharp-edged decoration pieces.
- Smart-house connections and screens.
- Hooks and nails in the wall.
- Some predators that are clearly visible to your bird through windows.
You get the idea, the list of budgie-risk factors goes on.
And so, you’ll have to look beyond this given list to make your place perfectly safe for your budgie.
But if you are scared that you won’t be able to handle your bird outside its cage, you can try a budgie harness or jacket such as:
Now, that we have discussed how to make your place more budgie friendly, you may want more details on:
What is Toxic to Budgies?
Depending on the dose, several things can be considered toxic to budgies. So, the following list isn’t exhaustive but it’s here to give you an idea:
1. Toxic Food for Budgies
Here are a few food products that you should avoid feeding your budgies at all costs:
- Avocados as these contain persin.
- Chocolate and Caffeine
- Fruit seeds and pits including those from apples, pears, lychees, and peaches as they contain cyanide residues.
- Onions and garlic
- Dairy products
- Eggplant and tomato leaves.
- Uncooked beans and potatoes.
2. Toxic House Plants for Budgies
Birds tend to chew on plant leaves. And so, there is no telling when your budgie tries to eat your houseplant which may be poisonous to it.
So, here is a list of common houseplants that are toxic to budgies:
- Diffenbachia i.e. Dumb Cane
- Black Locust
- Calla Lily
- Taro or Elephant’s Ears
- Christmas and Jerusalem Cherry
- Lily of the valley
- Locoweed & Milkweed
- Virginia Creeper
3. Toxic Substances for Budgies
Budgies shouldn’t come in contact with:
- Heavy metals like lead and zinc, through paints or wires.
- Galvanized steel
- Chemical detergent residues
- Oily products
- Non-stick materials like Teflon
4. Toxic Fumes for Budgies
Parrots are extremely susceptible to air quality so much so that miners used to take a canary alongside them.
If the air became toxic, the canary would be the first one to die and that would signal miners to evacuate immediately.
The same applies to budgies. So, the following products should be avoided:
- Heavy metal paint may produce toxic fumes.
- Smoking and vape fumes may damage a budgie’s lung cells.
- Non-stick materials like Teflon create Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) fumes on heating that can instantly kill budgies.
- Scented candles, perfumes, and air fresheners create toxic fumes for birds.
Now, you may be wondering:
What Not to Use Around Budgies?
Here are a few things that you shouldn’t use near your budgies:
- Cook or fry food in non-stick pans.
- Use chemical products like sanitizers, air fresheners, scented candles, and perfumes.
- Smoke, vape, or drink.
- Switch on ceiling fans or excessive lights.
- Overuse mobiles and other smart devices as we still don’t fully understand how signals from these may impact our birds.
- Use paint, varnish, or other such volatile materials.
In fact, if you are repainting your place, you should shift your budgies to a different house for a few days until the paint dries and you air the house completely.
- Put galvanized steel-made grills, heavy metal substances, or oiled ropes around your budgies.
- Overuse mirrors to distract your single bird from its loneliness.
Considering all this you may be wondering:
Where is the Best Place for a Bird Cage in Your Home?
Well, the best place for a birdcage in any home is a dedicated well-lit ‘bird room’ with proper ventilation, appropriate temperatures, and limited human traffic i.e. access to family members only.
Ideally, such a room has at least one window to allow daylight but not direct sunlight. It also contains all the bird supplies from food and dietary supplements to bird toys and perches.
See the figure below for a schematic representation of a dedicated bird room.
Figure 1: A Sample Layout of a Bird-room for Budgies
However, most budgie keepers don’t have the luxury of a separate room. Therefore, let’s consider all the spaces in a typical house to place a birdcage.
Now, I get it that you’d want to keep your bird extremely close. So, the first place you’d think about for your birdcage would be your very bedroom.
But I advise against keeping your birdcage in your bedroom because:
- Your budgie and you are not from the same species so spending 24/7 together isn’t healthy for either of you.
- Birds are extremely sensitive to noise at night so your snoring or shuffling around may give them a night scare.
- While birders try to deny it as if it doesn’t matter but birds definitely have a distinct odor and you can do nothing about it.
In case you and your birds do adjust in your bedroom, the commitment may have a cost to your private life as such habits are harder to sustain as you grow old.
Anyways, the Kitchen is obviously not your best option because it’s bound to contain fumes from spices and non-stick materials. But even if you somehow manage to avoid all that, there is always a risk of you ingesting bird germs and vice versa.
Also, the guest room may not be an option as birds smell and create a mess all the time.
Some birders do design aviaries on their porches but that may only work if you live in moderate temperatures. So, you guessed it,
If you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to your budgies, your second best bet would be the living room corner.
Aside from the location of the cage, it’s essential that you put it in the right orientation. Here are a few things to consider:
- At least one side of the cage should be against the wall to give birds a secure feeling. Therefore, walls should be covered with bird-friendly materials like slick wooden panels with no spaces in between panels for budgies to break through.
- The birdcage should be large enough to accord some flight activity to the bird.
- The cage shouldn’t have a view of predators including your domestic cat randomly hopping onto the cage.
- The cage shouldn’t be directly on the floor rather it should have a sturdy stand or table beneath it.
Now, you may be wondering:
What is the Best Flooring for a Bird Room?
While hardwood floorings are considered the most bird-safe materials, I recommend using white or at least bright-colored ceramic tiles that are easier to cleanse and maintain.
You see, many bird enthusiasts use slick hardwood floors with vinyl sheets and seal all corners with silicone gel. They do the same for walls to create impervious surfaces, thereby, ensuring that budgies don’t use their beaks to chew wooden panels.
However, white ceramic tiles or bright linoleum floorings are just as safe only these allow easier scanning and cleaning of the room compared to wooden floorings.
Anyways, many birders add mats and carpets in their bird rooms but I advise against these as they harbor only harmful germs and fungal spores for long periods of time.
That said, budgies don’t usually come in direct contact with bird room floorings but rather materials from the grilled trays at the bottom of their cage.
So, you may be more interested in knowing:
What to Use as Cage Floorings?
Well, most breeders put nothing on birdcage bottom grills as these are built according to a budgie’s needs.
But I recommend you put newspaper or paper towels in the tray beneath the birdcage bottom grill as this will ease the cage cleansing process.
However, if the bottom tray is too close to the bottom grill so much so that your bird can sift through its droppings using its beak, then it’s best to use untreated paper sheets without any ink stains to ensure that your bird doesn’t accidentally eat through contaminated paper.
That said, some new birders try to add wood shaving or bird litter in the bottom to reduce the smell. But I advise against it:
Well, wood shavings or bird litter may reduce some bird smell but it may cost you more than you ought to be spending. However, my disapproval comes not at the cost of extra bucks but because:
- Wood shavings and birds litter will just create more mess for you to cleanse.
- These will make it harder for you to inspect bird dropping for any significant changes or infections.
- Birds see perceive resources as a means to initiate breeding and if you live in warm regions then the budgie may see wood shaving or bird litter as ‘nesting materials’.
Now, you may think that would mean year-round eggs and more ‘cute’ chicks but that just means your female budgie will get stressed and start laying eggs even without a mate.
Therefore, those eggs will be useless and will just cost your female budgie her health and nutrients, especially calcium from her bones.
So, yeah, you buying bird litter is not healthy but counterproductive for your bird care.
1. What Should I Use to Clean My Budgie’s Cage?
Mix 1 Cup of vinegar in 3 cups of water and spray it around the cage. Then use a paper towel to cleanse your budgie’s cage.
Don’t use detergents or dog wipes of any sort.
If you must use soap, I recommend using Dawn Dish soap. But even then, you must rinse thoroughly with water and then air-dry before putting your birds back in their cage.
2. Can I Create My Bird Toys and Perches?
You surely can.
Several birders affix perches from different trees in a single wooden stand. Just make sure that the plant you are using as perch isn’t toxic for your bird.
3. Is an Outdoor Bird Aviary a Good Idea for Budgies?
Depends on where you live and how many budgies you own.
If the outdoor atmosphere is appropriate for budgies, then, an outdoor aviary is a good idea. But having closed aviaries gives you more control over your bird’s health and care.
That said, building a bird aviary for a single budgie isn’t economical unless you have at least 10+ budgies.
4. Are UV lights Necessary in Bird Room?
These are a good addition, especially if your budgies get limited sunlight exposure. But if you live in the middle east or South America then these are probably unnecessary.
So, a good idea is to ask your vet about it.
5. Should I Keep Night Lights on for My Budgie?
I get that you want your budgie to see in the dark and not get scared. But lights can disturb a budgie’s natural sleep cycle and if sleep deprivation can turn a human cranky, imagine how a bird would feel.
So, there should be a light bulb around the cage for emergencies but you should always switch off lights and cover the cage at night.
6. Are Powered Bath Tubs Safe for Birds?
So far, I haven’t heard a birder complain about powered bathtub safety. But I have seen new budgie keepers being exceptionally worried about these.
Therefore, I’d suggest you just use a bowl half-full of water with kale leaves.
I hope this article answered all your queries and helped you create a little heaven for your budgie at your place.