Anatomy of a Bird Cage – Why Are They Made Like That?

Crimson rosella on cage next to rope swing
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Anatomy of a Bird Cage – Why Are They Made Like That?

Having sold bird cages for almost 20 years it’s easy to assume that our customers know bird cages, but we don’t want to take anything for granted. With spring around the corner people begin to think about getting new bird cages or replacing older cages.

Bird cage design much like our knowledge base of exotic birds parrots has improved enormously over the same period. So we thought it would be good time to explore what goes into the thinking of designing and building a bird cage.


Depending upon whether you’re going to house a small bird or a large parrot may determine if you’re going to get a “wire” cage or a wrought iron cage. This first decision is usually based upon budget because you can put small birds in a wrought iron cage but wire cages are typically less money.

Wire cages are less expensive because they’re made out of just “a wire ” usually with a plastic base. These cages are suitable for small birds like Canaries, Finches, Lovebirds Cockatiels and some small Conures. Some come with stands and many do not.

For those that don’t come with stands, placement is usually on a table or other piece of furniture. They are lighter than wrought Iron cages so picking them up to clean around is not a big problem.

“wire cage”

Indoor Aviary Flight Cage Extra Tall
for the Smallest Birds Blue & White by Prevue

The coating on the wire or wrought iron cage can either be paint or powder coat. Just because a bird cage is powder coated doesn’t make it a good cage. Stick with reputable manufacturers and if you buy your cage online make sure the website is trustworthy. Reputable manufacturers such as Prevue, HQ & AE have been producing bird cages for many years and can guarantee you that the cages they make are bird safe.

Stainless steel bird cages have the advantage of lasting much longer than wrought iron cages and can be placed out of doors for extended periods of time. Although desirable for these properties the hefty price usually discourages stainless steel as material for your cage.

The front and back walls of wrought iron cages will usually have square tubular metal forming a rigid frame. The vertical pieces or what we refer to it as the bars of the cage can be made of thick wire or actual wrought-iron bars growing in thickness based upon the size of the housed bird.

Most wrought iron bird cages, come with either a stand with casters or have casters attached directly to the bottom of the frame components. Wrought-iron cages are heavy thus it’s easier to move a cage on casters when cleaning. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus on wrought iron bird cages

The Top of the Cage

The tops of bird cages typically come in two flavors, dome top bird cages and play top bird bird cages. Dome tops that open and can have a perch inserted into the open dome doors temporarily, can be considered a play top as well.

Play Top Bird Cage for Small Birds by HQ 80018D Bronze 18X18
Play Top Bird Cage for Small Birds by HQ 80018D Black 18X18

Your choice between a dome top and a play top can be based on functionality or form. Dome tops look less utilitarian than play top bird cages and having an attractive style can help offset looking at all this metal in the room.

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