A world of options for bird perches
Your pet bird spends almost all of its time on its feet, so it needs a comfortable, sturdy perch. Bird perches serve many purposes – they provide a place to stand, something to chew on, a beak-grooming device and a vantage point to help keep them alert and entertained.
A good perch is one that is safe, comfortable and easy to clean. Your bird's perches should be made out of materials that are non-toxic and not harmful to the bird if it chews them. A perch shouldn't be too smooth or your bird will have trouble keeping its balance.
The diameter of a perch must be proportional to the size of your bird's foot; a general rule of thumb is that the bird's foot should be able to reach ⅔ of the way around the circumference of the perch. A slight variation in diameter among different perches in the bird cage is preferable so your bird is not always placing pressure on the same parts of its feet.
Clean your bird's perches regularly with water and a mild disinfectant. If hardened bird droppings prove difficult to remove, using sandpaper can help.
Different Types of Bird Perches
Wooden bird perches are the most common; natural branches make great perches due to their uneven diameters and their bark, which birds love to chew. Manzanita bird perches are preferable, as the wood is harder in texture and easier to clean than most other types.
Rope bird perches are great choices, due to their rough texture and yielding softness, which helps your bird get exercise and learn balance. The downside to rope is that it can fray and trap your bird's claws. Pieces of the rope can also be chewed and eaten, so watch the rope for signs of wear.
Acrylic and PVC bird perches are popular because they're easy to clean, but they can be too slippery for a larger bird to grip. Acrylic is preferred over PVC because it is harder and less likely to be nibbled at.
Pet stores and online suppliers offer many perches designed to meet special needs. Heated bird perches are beneficial for birds originating from exotic or tropical locales as well as sick or arthritic birds. There are even bird perches for the shoulder so your bird has a stable perch when you are enjoying its company outside of its cage.
How to Make Bird Perches
Homemade bird perches are an economical alternative for budget-conscious pet owners. If you use wood, make sure it is non-toxic for birds and thoroughly cleaned and cured before you start to build. Never use wood from apricot, plum, peach or nectarine trees, as these woods contain substances that are potentially dangerous to birds.