Are round cages bad for birds? Talk to any bird enthusiast and they will likely tell you that round cages are bad for birds and are to be avoided at all costs. Certainly, when I started learning more about budgie care, this was a topic I came across as part of my bird education and research. Many bird owners in many forums and Facebook groups will all tell you round cages are bad for birds, stating that the shape of the cage is stressful and psychologically damaging to the bird.
But before I dive into this topic, let me back up and tell you why I’m talking about this on the blog today. You may or may not know that I am an animal lover, and a bird owner. I do have several different kinds of pets–and I started with birds. I own five budgies (parakeets) and two diamond doves, as well as a rabbit. And I have spent the past few years educating myself on bird care (and rabbit care) because birds are a seriously misunderstood pet and require much more care and attention than most people realize. And a big part of that care is providing the right sort of habitat or enclosure for a bird or birds.
Why am I even talking about this on my blog? Cuz I kinda bought a round-ish cage…
Keeping Birds Caged
Naturally, when you think of keeping a pet bird, you think of keeping them in a cage. Traditionally this is where birds are kept for obvious reasons. But is keeping birds caged best for them? I suppose I used to think, well they are born in a cage and they are used to it. But the reality is, birds are only recently domesticated and still have all the same instincts as their wild cousins. Another reality is, most bird cages on the market are far too small for most birds–even small birds! And large flight cages or aviaries are not always practical for a lot of bird owners even if they know that those environments are not best for their birds. Which many, sadly, don’t.
And birds are flighted–in the wild they are free to fly for miles, and caging them may seem to many to be cruel. Which is quite correct. So what is a bird owner to do? Many budgie owners, like myself, buy a cage as a home base and let the budgies fly free. Budgies, who are apart of the parrot family, are smart birds and they quickly figure out how to navigate a room, and even your home, and know to return to the cage to eat and drink and even to sleep at night. Eventually, when I had more than just two budgies, I did buy a large flight cage for the birds so that when they were enclosed (which is sometimes necessary for safety reasons) they had plenty of space and wouldn’t be crowded or get into squabbles.
What Cage is Best?
Always get the biggest cage you can for your bird. Always! Even if it is just one bird, get the biggest cage you can. This will allow the bird plenty of room to spread its wings and play. For birds like budgies or other birds in the parrot family such as cockatiels, it is very important to provide toys for enrichment so your cage should be able to house bird and at least three toys comfortably. Plus perches and food bowls.
Size is the first consideration, as I said, so always provide the largest cage you can. Safety is equally important, so make sure the cage is good quality and relatively new. You don’t want a cage that is rusty or with bent bars or that contains toxic paint. One great brand for cages are Prevue, which does have large flight cages, and also has smaller cages. Smaller cages are easier purchases for a variety of reasons–they are cheaper, they fit more easily into your home and seem plenty large enough, even though really they are not. However, they can be used as a home base if you allow your bird flight time–which always needs to be done safely. Always get a cage that is wider than it is taller as birds fly side to side and will make better use of a wide cage than they will a tall cage. And be sure to meet the minimum requirements of cage size for the kind of bird you are keeping.
Are Round Cages Bad for Birds?
When looking around for a cage, you might find a few on the market that are round. In my experience, most of these cages are super tiny, and totally inappropriate for any bird. They are comparable to asking a human being to live in a closet. You could survive in a closet, but would you be happy? Again, size must be a consideration regardless of shape–I’ve seen plenty tiny square and rectangular cages on the market as well.
As I mentioned above, that safety must be a consideration. No rusty or bent bars. And this is where round cages are problematic because many taper upwards to create a turret like peak. The spaces between those bars becomes harrower and narrower and therefore make the cage unsafe as a birds toes, feet and even wing tips can become caught between these narrow bars and cause serious injury and even death to the bird.
For these two reasons alone, round cages are generally bad for birds. But, you’ll also find experienced bird owners making other claims about round cages. Such as, the bird will drive itself mad going round and round the cage and becoming confused and distressed by the shape because it offers no point of reference as it has no corners. They will tell you that a bird likes corners as they offer safety. In this way, they say, round cages are pshyscologically damaging to birds. Now, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to cause my birds emotional distress! Upon hearing this, most bird owners will immediately put the idea of a round cage out of their mind.
But, is this true? Do birds need corners as a point of reference to navigate about their cage? Do you they prefer corners because they offer them a “hide” or a place of security? Does the round shape confuse and distress them? And where did this idea even come from? To be quite frank, I cannot find anything that is scientific to support this idea. I can’t even find anecdotal evidence. Yes, I know this is heavy talk for a blog post but really…how can we make these claims with no evidence?
And really, when you think about it, the natural world isn’t cornered off like a square or rectangular cage is, so why would a bird need corners for a point of reference to know their way around a cage? And birds make their homes in trees, which are organically roundish in shape. Birds navigate the world for miles and miles, so I am not sure why they couldn’t figure out the design of a round cage. So I have to call these claims into question. And I’m not the only one calling this into question either. I’ve seen other bird owners and even knowledgable bird trainers question this idea.
I personally decided that no, round cages aren’t bad for birds. Cages that are bad for birds are cages that are small and unsafe. Any animal would become distressed kept in a small space that offers no room for exploration, enrichment and exercise. Just think about how we have all felt during lockdown!
The Round Cage that I Bought for My Birds
Since my husband and I are having a baby and re-modelling our home, we have had to take into consideration how my pets will fit into our home as our lifestyle is changing. Currently, the birds are in the sunroom, which I don’t like. It’s a small room, I can’t even fit a chair in there to sit with the birds, and it’s hard to clean the room. Birds are messy, throwing around seeds and moulting feathers, and vacuuming in that space has proved a pain in my neck–figuratively–and a pain in my back–literally. I don’t want the birds in that room, and it’s becoming our office anyway so…the birds need to move back into the main living area which is where they originally were.
And which makes my husband cringe. Now, my hubby loves animals and pets. But he also doesn’t want the responsibility of dealing with them, and he’s not thrilled by the fact that you need to bird proof and bunny proof the home as it limits what we can do with our space in some ways. He really hated the idea of having the flight cage back in the living space as we really want that space to be peaceful and aesthetically pleasing. And I have to admit, while the flight cage is great for birds, it’s not the nicest thing to have in the middle of your living space. I don’t personally mind it as much, but I can’t deny that the man has a point. It’s a bit of an eyesore.
Now, I don’t know how he found it, but he found the Geo cage by Omlet online and we both thought, wow what a nice looking cage! It’s a unique geometric shape, kinda retro in design, and just really pleasing to the eye. But of course, my mind immediately said, it’s round, it’s bad for birds. Because that’s what every bird savvy bird owner knows. But as I looked at the cage, I thought, well, it’s roundish, not round and it kinda has corners…it could work and we are planning on letting the birds out to free fly anyway, so why not? Plus, the more I read about the cage, the more it seemed like a great cage. The cage shape allows for movement in all directions, while many rectangular cages are too shallow front to back to allow for movement. So that made the cage seem, in my eyes, more spacious than a few I had had in the past.
Plus, it can comfortably house two birds so it is definitely not too small, as most round cages are, and the dimensions are 23 inches wide, 23 inches diameter, 24.4 inches high making this cage larger than the popular Vision cage with dimensions at 16 inches long x 25 inches wide x 21 inches high. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the Vision cage, I have it for my doves and they quite enjoy it and it did house two of my budgies for a time, I’m only saying that the Geo cage is larger. Both of these cages, in my opinion make for a great home base for birds. But, since the Geo cage is larger, it’s the better option in my opinion if you can afford it.
My husband and I are delighted with the look of the cage, it’s totally customizable coming in three colours you can mix and match, and you can order stands of two heights for your cage. We got two cages because we have five budgies and knew one simply wasn’t going to cut it, and we got both a high and low stand. They look wonderful in our space. But how they look in the space is secondary to how the birds enjoy the cage, and so far the birds are loving the cage. Are round cages bad for birds? It seems not. Many bird owners are praising both the design of this cage, and the fact that their birds love the space and that tells me that no, round cages are not bad for birds.
I really hope you enjoyed the post; I love sharing my knowledge and experience with my pets. I hope you enjoyed seeing the birds and that I’ve inspired you to be the best pet owner you can be.
Please share your thoughts about birds, pets, life in the comments below!
It’s clear that you love and take good care of your birds! Thanks for posting this perspective and for the peek into your cage. 🙂
Thanks! I do try and give my pets the best I can 🙂
This is such an informative post. I also have a budgie his name is derek. he does have a large cage but the door is open most of the time so he can fly around the room when he feels like it.
Awesome! Love hearing about birds who get flight time.
That’s cool. I know nothing about birds so this was good information to pick up!
Tangela recently posted…Popping Pills
Glad you enjoyed it!!
This post is honestly such a good one! I couldn’t agree with you more – as much space as possible for the bird is the best size.
Kayleigh Zara recently posted…Strawberry and Prosecco Cheesecake
Thanks Kayleigh! Are you a bird mom too?
Informative stuff! this is great info. I think any cage is psychologically damaging for birds, but the bigger, the better. thanks for sharing!
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