Letting birds out of cages

A guide to letting your birds fly safely inside:

While many people would recognise a permanently caged cockatoo or macaw as neglectful, small birds such as budgies, finches, and canaries are often left in tiny cages for their entire lives. These birds are flighted for a reason, and in the wild may travel several kilometres every day in search of food. Even the largest cages don’t replace an hour or two of free-flight time.

Here at G’Day Birdie Sanctuary, all of our birds are let out of their cages daily between approximately 8am-6pm. That’s 70 hours per week of zooming around and having fun! While this may not be possible for every bird owner, here are a few tips to help your small bird start to safely spread their wings:

  • Start small: if they’re used to being caged, they may be reluctant to leave it at first. Choose a smaller room to start with, or allocate a small time period each day to leave the cage door open.

  • Prevent crashes: post-it notes, window stickers, posters or curtains can be placed over windows or bare walls to prevent crashes while they learn the room layout. We particularly like post-it notes, as they can gradually be removed one at a time.

  • Food as incentive: Food can be used both to encourage shy birds to leave the cage, and to lure untame birds back into the cage after flying. Provided that the bird associates their cage with food, they will eventually go back in when hungry. In this way, you can easily let a bird out even if they are not tame!

  • Provide perching spots: Birds will typically perch as high as possible to maintain a sense of safety, especially when exploring a new room. Ensure that the tops of bookshelves, curtain rails, and any wall-mounted fixtures (e.g. air conditioners) are cleared and safe for them to perch on. Ceiling fans should always be fully turned off before birds are let out.

  • Close doors: Always ensure that doors remain fully closed, especially if they lead outdoors. Many birds escape due to doors accidentally being opened while they are uncaged. Consider installing a security/screen door to allow a breeze to flow through the house, while ensuring your birds remain safely inside.

We believe that all birds should be engaged, not caged. With a little bit of effort, you can easily enrich the body and mind of your small birds! Happy flying!