Pet birds can be hard on cages, often chewing, scratching or wearing down the paint.
They can ingest flakes of paint which can be harmful to their health.
Pet birds can also be sensitive to fumes from new paint.
If you want to repaint an older cage, here are a few tips.
First, the wire should be scrubbed with a wire brush to remove any loose zinc flakes, and then sanded smooth by hand.
In general, look for paints which:
- do not contain lead, zinc or chromate
- are "high adhesion", formulated to bond with the metal surface
- are hard-wearing
- are fast drying
Another suggestion is to look on the back of the paint can and see if it is safe for a human baby. There usually is a picture of a mom holding a child's hand somewhere on the can.
While painting, be sure to:
- move bird to a separate room
- work in a well-ventilated area
- apply paint in a thin coat
- if you're using a spray paint, be sure to hold a large piece of paper or cardboard behind the cage, moving it as you go, to act as a backdrop which catches the excess paint.
When the job is done.....WAIT. If possible, give your freshly painted cage a week or longer before using. Solvent-based paints take time after initial drying to release the solvent vapours. NEVER cover a bird in a freshly painted cage.
This tip to help minimize paint chewing by birds:
Birds love to climb, and paint damage often occurs from birds' gripping the cage with their beak to assist them in climbing up the cage. Aviculturist Eb Cravens also once reported that, by wiring perches or appropriately-sized tree branches onto the inner sides of the wire enclosures, the birds will be encouraged to climb from place to place by gripping these with their beaks, so that they do not even touch the wire when climbing.