Cockatiels are active and playful birds that require multiple perches for exercise and grooming. Choosing a suitable perch is important for their physical and mental well-being. But what kind of perches do cockatiels need?
The kinds of perches that cockatiels need are natural wood perches, rope perches, pedicures (cement), and flat perches. Avoid using perches such as concrete and sand perches, sandpaper perch covers, plastic perches, or metal perches. These perches can be harmful to cockatiels and are therefore not recommended.
When choosing perches for cockatiels, it’s essential to consider their size, shape, and material. They need perches of different sizes to ensure that their feet are exercised in different ways. They also need perches of different textures to provide variety and prevent foot problems.
Additionally, the placement of the perches within the cage can affect the cockatiel’s activity level and overall health.
Why Perches Are Important For Cockatiels?
Perches are an essential part of a cockatiel’s environment. These birds spend most of their day on their feet, so it’s crucial to provide them with a variety of perches of different shapes and sizes. It’s a rare situation to see a cockatiel laying down or sitting at the bottom of the cage.
In addition, their feet contain an interlocking mechanism that allows them to grasp a perch and relax their bodies. Therefore, perching is a natural behavior for them, and they even perch while sleeping.
Besides sleeping, cockatiels use perches for many other activities, such as: climbing, playing, singing, rubbing, chewing, maintaining their beaks, and entertainment.
Wild cockatiels have access to branches of various sizes, widths, and orientations. Therefore, the perches in their cages should mimic these natural conditions as much as possible.
By giving a cockatiel a range of perches in its cage, foot problems like arthritis, tendonitis, atrophy, and pressure sores can be avoided.
Several perches of varying sizes and textures also provide cockatiels with the opportunity to choose what may be most comfortable for them at any point during the day.
It is important to observe that cockatiel feet require exercise to maintain healthy bones. Adjusting their feet on platforms with varying contours and widths can provide joints with much-needed exercise and maintain their flexibility.
There exists a vast selection of natural and synthetic materials for perches. There are also numerous unique specialty perches available to meet a variety of requirements.
Perches with irregular shapes are typically fashioned of branches to create a more natural setting.
What Type Of Perches Are Best For Cockatiels?
Cockatiel perches are multi-functional accessories that not only provide a comfortable resting spot for your cockatiel but also serve as a great chewing option.
Chewing is a natural and pleasurable activity that holds significant benefits, particularly for pet birds.
For this reason, cockatiel owners must keep in mind that perches are expendable objects and need to be replaced relatively frequently. This is an important factor for their health and well-being.
There’s a wide variety of perch options for you online and in pet stores, but here are the best types of perches you should choose for your cockatiel:
Natural wood perches
When it comes to choosing perches for your cockatiel, natural wood perches or branch perches are the best.
Natural wood perches are readily available in pet stores, or also you can source them from your backyard. However, not all types of wood are safe for your cockatiel. Natural manzanita wood is commercially available for cockatiels and is considered the best. Check out this one on Amazon.
But if you choose to get branch perches from your backyard to place in your cockatiel’s cage, it’s important to clean them thoroughly to prevent any harmful bacteria or insects. Here is how to do that:
To do that, you must strip down the bark, scrub the wood with steel wool, soak it in water, and let it dry in the sun.
Other alternatives are to soak the branch for an hour or two, then freeze it for 48 hours, or you can heat it in the oven at 200°F for 30 minutes.
Avoid using harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach to clean the branches, as they can be toxic for your cockatiel.
Furthermore, natural wood perches may help wear cockatiels’ nails down more effectively than perches made from softer materials. They also provide entertainment and mental stimulation for cockatiels when they chew on them.
These perches are very popular among many cockatiel owners. Rope made of jute (hemp) or untreated cotton can make a wonderful perch, and soft, braided rope perches are a comfortable option for cockatiels, particularly older cockatiels with arthritic feet.
Natural hemp or cotton rope can also give a softer surface that is easy to grip and ideal for chewing by cockatiels.
Also, you need to properly and often check the rope perches because they can tear off when cockatiels chew on them.
This results in rope strands or fibers becoming entangled in a cockatiel’s toes or being easily ingested. When they are in this condition, you should replace or remove them.
This is a frequent issue with synthetic fiber rope and nesting materials, which should never be employed.
Also, rope perches can get dirty as time goes on. In this case, you should always clean them in the washing machine or dishwasher.
If you are considering getting rope perches for your cockatiel, check out this one on Amazon.
See Also: Are Rope Toys Safe For Cockatiels?
Pedicure (cement) perches
Using a single ceramic or cement perch along with other perches can prevent your cockatiel from getting bored. The pedicure (cement) perches are necessary for cockatiels because they help them safely wear down their beaks and nails.
In the wild, cockatiels spend most of their time climbing on branches, which naturally wear down their nails. But in captivity, where your cockatiel may not have access to a variety of surfaces to perch on, their nails can quickly grow too long.
Therefore, pedicure perches help mimic the natural maintenance that your cockatiel’s nails would experience in the wild, keeping them at a healthy length.
Also, concrete and sand perches should not be the only perches you use in cages. These can be abrasive to the bottoms of a cockatiel’s feet, resulting in irritation and sore development.
The best option is to place a pedicure perch in front of the food bowl because, in that way, the cockatiel will stand on it, eat, clean its beak on it, and then leave.
Flat perches are a popular choice for cockatiel owners. They offer a comfortable and natural grip for birds and are less likely to cause foot problems.
However, they should be used in combination with other perches to provide variety for your cockatiel’s feet. Furthermore, flat perches can gather more droppings and dirt than rounder perches, requiring more regular cleaning.
When choosing a flat perch for your cockatiel, ensure it’s made of safe materials like natural wood.
Other Perches Available For Cockatiels
Here are some other perches that are available for cockatiels:
Corner perches are a great option if you want to fulfill your cage’s corners. They come in different materials and shapes and are very easy to install. Check out this one on Amazon.
This tiny, semicircular platform offers a flat surface on which your cockatiel can rest and socialize during the day.
This perch design is transportable and suitable for use outside of a cage. You can position it anywhere in your home to provide cockatiels with a suitable landing area.
Heated perches are the only option if you’re searching for a perch for a birdcage that offers warmth during the winter.
These heated (Thermo) perches can be safe for cockatiels as long as they are used properly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are looking to buy a heated perch for your cockatiel, check out this one on Amazon.
However, it’s important to monitor your cockatiel’s behavior and ensure they are not spending too much time on the heated perch.
Calcium (edible) perches
Calcium perches are an essential addition to your cockatiel’s cage. They provide vital nutrients to support feather growth and bone health. Also, they keep your cockatiel’s beak and nails trimmed and healthy.
Made from natural substances such as cuttlebone and calcium, they are entirely edible and 100 percent digestible.
With a variety of sizes and shapes available, you can easily find the perfect calcium perch for your cockatiel’s needs. Invest in a quality calcium perch today (like this one here) to ensure the long-term health and well-being of your feathered friend.
As the name suggests, this shower stool is designated for use in the shower. After a relaxing bath, your cockatiel can perch on it.
It normally comes with three heavy-duty suction cups for attaching it to your shower.
Swing perches provide more than just a place to rest for your cockatiel. They offer an excellent source of exercise and can help reduce stress.
They are also an excellent addition to any cockatiel’s cage, providing a fun and stimulating environment for them. Be sure to choose the right size and type of swing perch for your cockatiel to ensure their safety and comfort.
What Perches Are Bad For Cockatiels?
There are a few perches that are bad for cockatiels and that you should avoid:
Concrete and sand perches
Concrete and sand perches are often marketed to pet bird owners as an easy way to maintain their cockatiel’s nail length. However, these types of perches can actually do more harm than good.
The rough and abrasive surfaces of concrete and sand perches can cause painful abrasions and calluses on the underside of a cockatiel’s feet and toes, leading to a condition known as bumblefoot.
In addition to foot problems, concrete, and sand perches can also cause discomfort and stress for cockatiels. They are cold, hard, and unforgiving surfaces, providing little to no cushioning for the cockatiel’s feet.
Wet concrete can also be particularly harmful because one of the ingredients, known as lime, is highly inflammatory when wet and can burn a cockatiel’s feet.
The shape of these perches can also be problematic. Most concrete and sand perches are straight and regular in width, which can strain the delicate bones in a cockatiel’s feet and result in pressure sores if used for extended periods.
Sandpaper perches are a type of perch that is covered with sandpaper-like material. Many cockatiel owners buy this type of perch as a way to help keep cockatiel’s nails trimmed, but in reality, it can be extremely harmful to your cockatiel.
As with concrete perches, sandpaper perches also have a rough and abrasive surface that can cause pain to your cockatiel and lead to many foot issues. Additionally, your cockatiel may ingest the sandpaper material, which can result in numerous digestive issues.
For these reasons, it’s best to avoid using sandpaper perches and opt for more natural wood perches. Providing perches of varying widths and textures can help maintain your cockatiel’s foot health and reduce the risk of developing foot sores.
Plastic perches are not recommended for cockatiels as they can be slippery and cause your cockatiel to lose its grip and fall off its perch. This can result in injuries, which may even require a visit to the vet.
Additionally, plastic perches are not natural, and cockatiels may be inclined to chew on them, sometimes leading to the ingestion of plastic pieces. PVC pipes are better options in this case, but you should also avoid them because they may cause a risk to your cockatiel’s foot health.
Therefore, it’s always useful to get perches that are made of natural materials to avoid any potential hazards.
Metal perches are also not recommended because they can cause discomfort and even pain to your cockatiel. They can become hot or cold, depending on the room temperature, and this can lead to discomfort in your cockatiel’s feet.
As a result, they may be reluctant to use the perch or may even develop health problems.
Perches with sharp edges or rough spots
Perches with sharp edges or rough spots can be extremely dangerous for your cockatiel. These types of perches can cause injury and discomfort to your cockatiel’s feet, leading to pain, bleeding, and even infection.
As a responsible cockatiel owner, it’s important to inspect each perch carefully and ensure that there are safe for your cockatiel. But, if you find any sharp edges or rough spots use a file to smooth them out or simply replace the perch altogether.
Your cockatiel’s well-being depends on a safe and comfortable environment, and this includes the perches they use every day.
So always remember to prioritize your cockatiel’s safety and ensure their perches are free of any sharp edges or rough spots.
Also, it’s important to avoid perches that are too small in diameter for your cockatiel’s comfort. In addition, you should exercise caution with colored perches since cockatiels tend to chew on them.
To prevent any potential health risk, it’s advisable to choose perches that either do not have any colors or use approved, non-toxic, bird-friendly colors.
Also, don’t overcrowd the cage with perches as it limits the cockatiel’s space to stretch its wings.
Choosing the right perches for your cockatiel is essential for its physical and mental well-being. Natural wood, rope, pedicure, and flat perches are recommended, while concrete, sand, sandpaper, plastic, and metal perches should be avoided.
By providing a variety of safe perches of different sizes and textures you can help your cockatiel to prevent foot problems and provide mental stimulation.
Also, always prioritize your cockatiel’s safety and comfort when choosing perches for its cage.