Buying parrot perches at the pet supply store can be costly, and they don't always look natural. To put a little nature in your bird's environment, do some scavenging outside and make a DIY perch out of a tree branch. It could be just the conversation piece his cage needs.
Measure the width of your bird's cage, as you'll need a branch that is at least that wide. You want the perch to span the short width of the cage, not the length of the cage. This encourages your bird to fly from one end of the cage to the other, instead of waddling around on his perch all the time.
Go outside and pick a few dead branches of varying diameters. Not all parrots have the same size feet, so perches aren't one-size-fits-all. You'll need a few different branches to see which one fits your bird best.
Mix up a batch of cleaning solution using one part bleach and 10 parts water. Wash your branches with it, and after soaking up the solution for 10 minutes, give them a good rinse and let them air dry.
Cut the ends off the branch so that it is as long as the cage is wide. Use a saw, not shears, so that the full diameter of the branch is exposed on either end. Using shears will result in pinched ends, which will not work.
Take the branches into your home and prop them up between two sturdy, level objects, like the backs of two chairs. Walk your parrot over to the branches and allow him to try them out for size. Estimating by sight, your bird's feet should fit about 3/4 of the way around the perch. Select the appropriately sized branch and discard the other branches.
Hold your branch up inside the cage where it will be placed. It should be in the top third of the cage, but of course, leave enough room for your bird to sit without bumping his head on the ceiling.
Line up a small block of wood with the branch outside of the cage. Drill a nongalvanized wood screw through the block of wood and into the end of the branch. Repeat this on the other side of the cage, so that the blocks hold the branch firmly in place.
Allow your parrot back into his cage so that he can use his new, all-natural perch.
- There is no one specific size necessary for your wood blocks and screws. The blocks are only there to hold the branch in place.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.