3 Captive bird care myths debunked

white cockatiel in cage standing on grooming perch
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Here’s the thing. As worrisome a thought of wrestling 1 pound (the average weight of an African Grey) of feathers and muscle for 2 minutes to trim eight nails some people prefer not to deal with it.

So while the Vets tell us what not to do, they don’t tell us how to solve the problem.

With grooming perches, it isn’t their “use”, it’s their “placement”

We have no argument with the fact that if a bird spends 12 plus hours or more a day on a grooming perch they will eventually encounter foot problems .

Yet an amazing amount of caged bird keepers we speak with, use bird grooming perches as bird sleeping perches.



We avoid this problem by placing the grooming perch next to a feeder cup or inside the bird cage door.

Feeder cups are often lower in the cage and birds visit them when they are hungry 10 to 30 minutes a day.

Birds tend to be very active while eating which is the perfect time to be on a grooming perch because now their nails are actually getting worn down.

Most hookbills will also swipe their beak on the perch to remove food particulate.

By wiping their beaks on a grooming perch they are keeping their beaks in optimal shape much like a chef using a honing steel to remove the burrs off a recently sharpened knife.

When they’re done eating they will usually move to a higher area in the cage with the fresh pedicure. No toweling nor screaming while the nail points that stick to your cotton shirt or blouse get removed.

Myth 3: Most paints and coatings contain heavy metals that birds can ingest as they use their beaks to climb around the cage. 

First, full transparency. Back in the 90s I managed a powder coating facility specializing in the re-powder coating of food service shelving.

As a retailer of bird cages I can speak with authority about the implications of powder coating on a bird cage or any other metal substrate.

Let’s talk about paint first.

Although rare these days, a bird cage painted by a birdcage manufacturer uses a water-based paint.


Further, and I talk about repainting bird cages in this article, paint is not your enemy on a birdcage.

It’s the VOC’s – Volatile Organic Compounds – released into the air as the paint dries – the stuff you smell.

VOC’s dissipate into the air as the paint dries and then becomes a non-issue.

As for powder coating – there are no metals in the powder to poison your bird.

The powder must melt long before the cage metal does for it to become the “coat” in powder coat.

Sorry doc – ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone and ain’t no metal in the “paint” from a bird cage.

Great Bill Withers cover

Editor’s note: Powder particles (prior to melting) range from 2 to 50 μ (Microns), there are 25,400 microns per inch.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.