Restructuring cage for now single budgie, want advice
Now that Bonejingles is gone, and Chitters is on his own, I've decided to move around some stuff in the cage and get him new toys. I'm leaving in most of the current perches and 3 of the swings, but I'm wondering, for example, if I were to get an African Violet in a wide pot, place that in the bottom of his cage, and bury forage toys (Like millet balls wrapped in brown paper) what kind of soil mix would I be looking for? Also, he'll be getting his bath back soon now that the weather is warming up, but he seems to prefer everything up high. Would he use it on the bottom if he's more used to it thanks to the forage toys I would like to place there? I wouldn't leave the African Violet in constantly, just maybe stick it in once a week when I clean the cage to help him look forward to it instead of just running back and forth on the perch next to the window. Among the new toys will be a mirror, since I got rid of the old one when he bonded with Bonejingles. Could it be too soon to reorganise the cage? I already swapped out toys and perches while cleaning every time before she died.
I did take some pics but won't be able to get them for a while and they're probably very low quality since the stupid camera kept focusing on the bars of the cage- I tried to make the perches like a tree from the get go, for example, there's a really big diagonal one. It's the only diagonal one in the cage. I do have a bendable perch but instead of rope it's rubber, so it's nice and soft. Couldn't get pics of Chitters, he's still camera shy and since the focus keeps going on the cage bars he's blurry while the bars are in focus.
Edit: Forgot to put in the cage size, It's 19 inches wide, 35 inches tall, 30 and a half inches long. Pretty big for just the one budgie. The bars have 1cm spacing. It also has a set of bars before the tray, so I can use the bottom easily.
Last edited by InsanityShard; 10-02-2017 at 08:28 PM.
Don't think the potted plant is a good idea. Aside from the possibility of plant toxicity,and
soil varies so much and may harbor bacteria, I'd rather use other forms of enrichment for Chitters. New branches from trees that are not toxic to birds, paper towel rolls, or new veggies in the food dish would be as beneficial.
African Violets are non toxic plants to parrots, I checked. I've tried putting in new branches before but he just pulls the leaves off and eats the bark within a day, part of why I want a potted plant- something far more long lasting he can play with. Here are the pics of his cage- managed to get a single one of him.
As you can see, his cage is pretty big for him.
Edit: just realised you seemed the think I meant as nurtient/food oriented only- no, I meant something for him to play with and actually be able to dig at. With this area I'd have to change the soil on the African Violet quite frequently anyway, so it harboring bacteria isn't much of an issue. I mostly want to do this so he has a toy that makes him have to think, not just bang a bead around or swing. He's been bored, I have the pegs on the doors because they even use them as toys. Most of the toys available around here are just chew toys and swings. Since Bonejingle, who he played with, died, he's spent the last few days running back and forth on the perch he's on in the pics. He's not very interested in the variety of toys I have access to and I can only get so many branches off the bottlebrush tree with how fast he strips them. He does get fresh fruit and veggies, not just the mixes, I give him stuff like kiwi fruit and mulberries. It's not food stuff, just something he'll find interesting and mentally challenging.
Just discovered he won't eat now until I do. He waited around an hour for me to finish the dishes and come back with a drink to start eating. .-.
Have you ever owned a african violet before? I've grown them for years, they are pretty soft. If he can destroy a branch in a couple days, a violet won't last either.
You also have to consider that houseplants have been grown with a myriad of chemicals. Even if you switch to a safer soil, there will still be chemicals left over on/in the plant.
I would only consider a plant from a organic greenhouse and all it will end up being is a expensive shredder toy.
Since you seem adamant about using a plant. Look for a organic soil without any added fertilizers, fungicides, or beneficial bacteria. You want no additives like perlite or vermiculite.
The soil needs to be as inert as you can find, even then you need to dump it in a bowl and microwave it until its really hot to kill off any bacteria or germs it might be harboring.
Personally, I think its a bad idea. You can find foraging toys on amazon or ebay. If you are handy at all, you can find DIY instructions on google.
I've had violets before, I don't think he'd be too keen on eating them. What he does to strip the bottlebrush branches is more imitating the lorries he's seen. I'm not adamant, I just don't know anything else suitable, and since places like Amazon tend not to ship to my area shopping online is actually very difficult and expensive. I was more trying to explain to the prior answer that I wasn't intending the plant to be food, just something that takes his interest deeply and is a bit more interesting to him than a few beads on a wire or a swing. The main reason I know African Violets are non toxic is actually because I still intend on getting something to block my door to let him out, but wanted some of those plants in my room among others. I used to have a couple but the soil went bad because I didn't change it, hence why I know I'll be changing the soil at least once a month, even if it is just the topsoil that's all Chitters would really be digging in even if I did use it. I'm fully open to any alternatives, as long as they're something fairly complex that challenge him mentally, like some kind of parrot puzzle. The only other requirement is something he can't tear apart or destroy easily. While he's not destructive he does chew a lot, most of his current toys are chew toys of sorts. I figured a plant would just grow back over time, especially if I was only putting it in for an hour or so just after a cage cleaning to make him more comfertable with them and looking forward to getting his cage cleaned instead of just sitting in the corner and getting angry when I take his toys out for cleaning.
Hey, I'm from Australia too. Sometimes pet stores like pet barn will have foraging toys that you can put treats into. Or you can make your own. You would be surprised how entertaining jiggly toys can be for budgies. And regular chew toys. I've found paddle pop sticks are a good in between for chew toys as they are soft enough that budgies can chew them, but hard enough that they will last for a while. If you want something to challenge him mentally, I would look into clicker training with him.
I have a couple of plants in my room all of which are non-toxic to budgies and they honestly pay very little attention to them. I have grown spider plants for them and let them have a play with the young plants and they destroy them so quickly I don't see that this will give them any real stimulation, even taking it away after an hour.
I would speak to Karen at the Natural Bird Company about shipping to your area. I know they will only charge the cost of shipping and you can get some great toys that are made to suit your bird's needs. Much better long term.
I agree with the advice given above:
The natural bird company has great shredding toy ideas that my birds love.
One of my birds likes bells, the other not so much.
They both enjoy a good swing.
They both get involved with simple foraging toys. This is an easy clean easy fill toy made for rabbits that my boys enjoy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trixie-Rabb.../dp/B0054VEWB8
Have an internet search for diy foraging toys, there are lots out there, just start simple and then gradually increase the difficulty whilst remembering that budgie beaks aren’t as strong as bigger parrots that some ideas will be designed for.
Like others have said, I also think that your violet plant would either be ignored or quickly shredded, but if you feel that plants would interest Chitters more than a bowl of veggies, then here are a some other ideas to consider:
Herbs attached to the outside of the cage, with stems poking through, keep the soil away from your bird.