How does everyone clean their perches?
And how often?! Every day? Every few days? Once a week? Twice a month?
I tend to give them a rough clean and scrub but haven't been fully soaking everything and perhaps I should be? I use a lot of new, natural sticks and branches from out in the park and tend to change them out when it needs serious freshening.
I'm also planning on making up a big new playgym when I move houses in a few weeks for Charlie and Bo out of branches so I was wondering how often that would need to be cleaned and if I should make it come apart in sections to make that easier. Does it need to be submerged and soaked to clean or just a rinse and scrub?
And one more - How do you clean poop from all the little nooks and crannies between the bars on the cage? I always get angry because I just can't seem to get rid of them all which just makes the cage look a bit shabby. I feel like all the pictures I see of other cages are just beautifully clean and fresh every time!
Soaking is always how I did it...in the bath tub, warm water and vinegar. You can use a toothbrush to get the really hard to get places on the cage, I had one that I used only for the bird cage.
As for the playgym, making one that can come apart easily is a good idea. Then you can take it apart, soak it, clean it, let it dry, and put it back together. Letting everything dry in the sun is the best way to dry as well. I would weekly scrubs are a good idea and then monthly soakings would be best. Do you disinfect the new branches before you give them to the birds?
Thanks DallyTsuka for siggy!
Snowball-whiteface cinnamon cock
Jeep-normal gray cock
Pebbles-whiteface pearl pied hen
Pankakes-PF cinnamon pearl pied cock
I soak mine, too. I fill up the laundry tub with hot water from the tap and some vinegar, and let everything soak until the water is warm and I can comfortably dunk my hand in to get everything out.
Then I empty the tub and turn the taps on so that the running water is luke warm, and give everything a quick scrub over with a soft scrubbing brush (a soft brush or toothbrush should be all you need to get poop off after soaking)
My cages have grates that slide out that I just soak as well. I usually have to turn them a couple times so that all surface areas get adequate soaking time but it always does the trick. Then I just scrub them down with the soft brush and rinse/wipe down with a cloth. Any poopy areas in the cage after that I can usually get clean with just a cloth dunked in hot water and a toothbrush. If a piece is particularly stubborn I just hold the hot rag on it for a minute or so and then scrub it off with the toothbrush. It's generally just the bottom grates that get messy though. And the trays are lined with newspaper so it's just a matter if tipping them into the bin and wiping them out.
Once i'm done, I throw away the cloths I used (I use disposable ones that come in a large roll and tear off into squares) and I put the scrubbing brush into the dishwasher among other household cleaning items and run the hottest cycle without soap, and they're sparkly clean ready for next week's cage clean.
Fantastic, thanks. I went and did a thorough clean of everything today, bought some disposable clothes to use and a cheap toothbrush to get the stubborn stuff out. Charlie seems chuffed with her fresh space, though it looks a bit empty as I got rid of some worn out branches and am still drying some toys.
I hadn't ever thought about disinfecting new branches. I live in Australia and usually get eucalyptus branches, which I assumed were totally fine because it's a part of their evolutionary natural habitat. Should I be soaking everything in bicarb and vinegar water before use?
The only thing that sticks in my head is that I often get branches with bark on them because the birds love to chew it off. I just don't like the idea of soaking that bark before I give it to them because I feel like it will be more porous therfore absorb a lot more and won't be good for them to chew on anymore. What do you think?
I'm in Australia, too (NSW here) and I also use branches as perches for my babies. I don't actually have any regular dowel or plastic perches (the ones that come with cages new) in there, they're all branches, pumice (great for nails AND beaks) and rope perches. Different textures help keep their feet healthy!
I try to pick up one or two new branches every week so i've got plenty in circulation (I have a box labeled "bird branches" lol). I change their cages around once a month (re-position bowls, toys and perches) and I try to replace old branches with new ones. When I bring new branches home, I soak them in hot water and vinegar until the water turns warm, then I rinse them and take them outside and air/sun dry them.
I find that soaking them and then letting them dry out in the sun helps to keep all the crumbly bits they like picking at.
Another thing you can do though is find some native, bird safe flowers for them to play with and chew on. In spring and summer I like to bring home bottle brush and wattle branches for mine and they LOVE them. I just give them a quick rinse to wash off any unfavourables and let them have at it.
I don't soak mine... some woods will swell up and split. I ruined a very nice willow platform perch that way - it split down the middle and the bolt came right out. Elm perches will also get very slimy when wet and it's a nightmare to clean up.
I scrape off any dried poop, food, etc. with an old credit card. Then I spray on a bit of enzymatic cleaner (like Aviclean, PoopOff) and wipe with a damp cloth. Very, very easy.
For the cage/grate I do the same, but use one of these (All Living ThingsŪ Wire Bar & Grate Cleaning Brush)
I generally clean my perches once a week - spot checks- and dive in with a scrubbing brush every 2-3 weeks to really get the crud off. I use dish soap and hot water, unless the perch is really disgusting (Like in the breeding cage. Bleck), then I squirt Lysol on it, and rinse the living Jeebus out of it with hot water Vinegar is probably better than Lysol, but I'm paranoid as I've had some illness in my aviary lately.
As for soaking - I do it with the truly hard to clean perches, like the pumice and cement perches. Otherwise I find the perches split and the splits just make everything more annoying to clean
Mindwipe - f, g, 15yrs Redshift - m, g, 14 yrs Firestorm -f - pearl WF - 2.5 yr Sideswipe-M -grey-5 years Strongarm-F-Pearl - 2yrs August, M, WCPi, 13yrs Slugfest, M, Budgie, 1 yr Swoop, F, Budgie, 1yr
and the medical alert service dog, Aaerro (Whippet/Iggy cross), F, 9 yrs
I went out and bought a whole bunch of new things to clean everything! Bought a new small bath to soak things in, plus one specifically for washing all the food and water containers, bought disposable rags and scrubbing sponges plus a nice toothbrush-like scrubber. Cleaned out and replaced all the perches, and discovered it really is quite easy if I just let them soak just a bit before scrubbing. It's coming in to summer now here in Perth so they dry in no time!
I've also started being more serious and strict with myself about changing paper everyday plus providing greens everyday in a different bowl (ie. not the seed bowl).
I just feel refreshed about the whole thing and my birds seem so to All thanks to you lot!
I'm still trying to get them used to some different toys but that hasn't been working so well, so for now I have to stick to providing broccoli heads that they can pick apart, cardboard rolls they can chew and fresh leaves and bottlebrush from the garden.
For branches I get from outside, I have a little routine to make sure they are (in my opinion) safe for my bird. Preferably I do not use live wood (cut straight off a tree) because that means I will have to let it dry first. When I find anything usable, I'll first freeze the branches for a couple of days to make sure any insects or other things that might live inside the wood die. Then I will dunk it all in boiled, hot water with vinegar or a little dish soap, let it soak til I can touch it without burning my skin, and give it all a good scrub. Lastly I let it all dry and then put it in the cage. I used to do this same routine for when I put branches in my rats' cage, never had any problems!
I wipe down any poop on branches or toys with a warm and damp microfibre rag during the week, and clean the lining depending on how quickly Puck soils it (depends largely on what kind and how much fresh fruit/veg he gets and shreds)
Every 4-6 weeks I like to take everything out of the cage, give it a good soak in hot water and scrub it all clean. Then I rearrange everything except for the dishes (I have 3 that are accessible from the outside but this means they cannot be moved around) Depending on how dirty everything has gotten, I will use hot water, sometimes adding vinegar or a little dish soap.
On the metal parts I use a little windowcleaner on a warm and damp microfibre rag, which is in my opinion the easiest way to wipe them clean of any poop or food. Afterwards I usually wipe it with a clean, wet rag just to be sure.