|Let's Celebrate Pet Birds!|
T.J. Lafeber D.V.M.
Emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of the cage paper and the need to change it daily. Bird droppings have no odor, and without an offensive smell, it is not likely that the pet owner will feel the need to change the cage paper frequently. The proper motivation must come through an understanding and realization of the basic facts.
The first function of the cage paper is to collect the feces and allow you to dispose of them easily and conveniently. Manure building up in the bird's cage-even though it has no appreciable odor-allows bacteria to multiply and results in an unnecessary danger to the bird. As the waste material dries and becomes powdery, currents of air pick up this dust and spread it into the environment contaminating the bird's food and air. Bird droppings are fairly dry within 48 hours. The recommendation, then, is to change the cage paper at 24 hour intervals.
The second reason for changing the cage paper daily is equal in importance to the first. The bird's droppings function as an effective indicator in measuring the bird's health. When the paper is changed frequently, fresh droppings are constantly observed. If the feces are allowed to mound up, interpretation and evaluation is impossible.
Change Cage Paper Daily
The psittasine groups of birds, particularly, enjoy clipping and wadding the paper, possibly as part of a nesting habit. Eating the cage paper reflects a depraved appetite and a veterinarian should be consulted.
Often grit is fed to a pet bird by covering the floor of the cage with "gravel paper"-paper cut to fit the bottom of the cage which has grit adhered to it-or laying grit loosely on the bottom of the cage. Neither method is an acceptable way of providing grit for the bird. First of all, grit is on the floor where it will be mixed and eaten with the droppings. Secondly, the grit supplied loose or with these papers is not the required grit-mineral mixture.
The other disadvantage to gravel paper is that it must be purchased and a considerable quantity used over the period of one year. The economics are likely to discourage someone from changing the cage paper daily. Newspaper or some other disposable paper will function just as well.