How To Easily Setup An Epic Budgie Cage

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

Budgie cages are not difficult to set up.

All you need is the basic cage accessories, a good space to put the cage, and some creativity. Because a budgie’s cage is like their little home inside your much larger home, it must be strategically designed! 

Especially if your budgies will be caged for many hours a day, as most are. 

This article will teach you:

  • What accessories are crucial to a budgie’s cage setup
  • How to place certain items around the cage
  • Where to place your parakeet’s cage
  • And a few budgie cage design ideas (From Pinterest)

But first, you need to know if your current cage is actually suitable for budgies…

Affiliate links are present throughout this article, which means I earn a small commission for qualified purchases made through those links. It helps keeps the lights on💡

The Budgie Cage: Dimensions & Bar Spacing

To determine whether or not your budgies will be housed safely and comfortably, we need to look at these 2 main components of their cage:

  1. The dimensions (length, width, and height) of the cage
  1. How much space between the cage bars

Minimum Size Requirements For Budgie Cages

An appropriately sized budgie cage allows them to spread their wings out inside the cage without restriction.

If they cannot spread their wings all the way out without hitting anything, the cage is too small.

“So how big should my budgie’s cage be?”

Many sources say that the length and width of a bird’s cage should be at least 1.5x the bird’s wingspan and the height of the cage should be 1.5x the bird’s height. Budgies have a wingspan length of roughly 11.5 inches and are usually 7 inches tall.

Based on their size, a budgie’s cage size should be no less than the following measurements:

18″ L x 18″ W x 10.5″ H – (45.7cm L x 45.7cm W x 26.6cm H)

budgie cage setup guide
Image source: Unsplash (budgie in a very spacious aviary)

Safe Bar Spacing Length For Budgies

Bar spacing is not talked about as much as the cage dimensions, but it’s just as important or arguably more so. The space between the bars will barely affect your budgie’s comfort in the cage, but it plays a huge role in safety.

Bar spacing that is too wide for budgies can be dangerous…

Your budgies could potentially squeeze through the bars while unsupervised or they could get a part of themselves stuck in the bars, such as their heads.

Make sure your parakeet’s cage has a bar spacing length between 0.5″ and 0.7″.

Having it anywhere above 0.7″ is too wide for budgies.

if your cage is too small:

Browse through the top 17 BEST budgie cages to find an upgrade!

Essential Budgie Cage Setup Items & Accessories

As mentioned at the start of the article, setting up a budgie cage isn’t hard as you only need to add a few different cage accessories. If you’ve been researching budgie care recently, you’ve likely seen all of these items in YouTube tutorials, websites, or wherever you’ve been searching.

Here are the 5 crucial accessories for budgie cages:

  1. A variety of high-quality perches
  1. Stainless steel food and water dishes
  1. Fun & enriching toys!
  1. Cage liner (what you place at the bottom of the cage)
  1. Cuttlebones & mineral blocks

Let’s go through them one by one in further detail, so you know exactly how to add these items to the cage properly

1. A Variety Of Good Perches

Perches make up a large portion of the overall cage setup. Budgies use perches for climbing, jumping, flying, chewing, and roosting.

Generally, perches help your birds travel around the cage.

Wood perches are the best and most natural type of perches for a parrot’s cage as that’s what birds primarily perch on in the wild. And when it comes to your budgie’s enclosure, it’s always good to try simulating their natural environment as much as possible.

how to set up a budgie cage
Image source: Pixabay

Besides natural wood perches, other great perch types can include:

  • Rope “boing” perches
  • Pumice perches (Rough surface)
  • Dowel perches (No surface variety. Only 1 in the cage is recommended)

Each type of perch is unique and must be installed differently from other perches to maximise its use.

Related: 10 Top-Rated Budgie Perches For Healthy Feet

Tips For Ideal Placement With Each Type Of Perch:

Natural wood perches – Best placed near food bowls, toys, and other engaging activities. Since natural wood perches are good for your budgie’s feet, you want them to spend most of their time perching on woods of varying sizes, diameters, and textures.

Pumice perches – Detailed with rough edges, pumice perches can help file down nails and keep your budgie’s beak trimmed. To help with this, they can be installed near food bowls so that your birds brush (and file) their beaks on the rough surface after eating.

A yellow pumice perch
A yellow pumice perch

Rope “boing” perches – Since rope perches can bend and twist into a variety of shapes, there are hardly any limits on how you can install them on your budgie’s cage. You could install it as an arc on top of the cage or you could twist it around between two cage panels. The possibilities are endless, so be creative!

Flat perches – Birds use less energy when perching on flat surfaces, which is why they’re often used for roosting and sleeping. The ideal placement for a flat perch is near the top of the cage’s interior as budgies like to sleep up high in the cage. Having a flat perch above all the other perches in the cage will encourage your birds to sleep on it.

Dowel perches – Having absolutely no surface variety, it’s not recommended to have any more than a single dowel perch inside the cage. These are the plain wood perches that are included in almost all cages. Since they provide no benefits, many bird owners don’t even have 1 in the cage. Again, there’s nothing wrong with just 1, but you should encourage your bird to perch on other types of perches.

dowel perch
Dowel perch

2. Stainless Steel Food & Water Dishes

You need to have 2 – 3 dishes for your bird, one for pellets/seeds, one for water, and another bowl for vegetables and fruits. If you decide to use the same bowl for both dry foods and vegetables, you’ll need to wash that one bowl 3 – 4 times a day, which is why I suggest separate bowls for each food type.

You’ll also need an extra food and water bowl for each bird you have.

As for what types of bowls to use, I suggest stainless steel as they’re super easy to clean!

These are the ones I use:

Stainless steel bowl

I’ve used them for years with no problems, they easily tighten onto the cage, and they’re rust-resistant.

Get these stainless steel bowls on Amazon now…

Using an automatic water feeder is also a great option!

In fact, they’re probably better than water dishes as debris (feathers, pellets, etc) cannot spoil the water, which means you won’t need to replace it 10 times a day. For this reason, many parrot owners choose auto feeders over water bowls.

Get a high-quality automatic water dispenser from Amazon…

Amazon API
Image source: Amazon API

3. Fun & Enriching Toys!

Your budgies won’t even desire to spend time inside the cage if there’s nothing to do.

And what better way to provide enrichment, fun, and stimulation to your bird’s cage than through a variety of toys? The best types of toys help simulate a budgies natural behaviours, which mainly include shredding and foraging:

Foraging toys encourage parakeets to scavenge through various materials to find delicious treats.

Shredding toys are pretty self-explanatory… They encourage shredding, destroying, and chewing.

Ideally, you should have a few of both kinds of toys inside your budgie’s cage.

Low on budgie toys? Check out these posts below to browse through the very BEST options:

11 Most Incredible Budgie Toys For 2023

Top 10 Best Foraging Toys For Small Parrots

20 Creative DIY Foraging Toys For Small Birds (Homemade Toys)

4. Cage Liner (Bottom Of The Cage)

Your budgie’s cage must be lined with some type of paper to help make cleaning easier.

But cage liner is not just for cleaning convenience, it also makes observing the looks of your budgie’s droppings more apparent. Since the look of their poop is a huge indicator of health, you must be able to check their daily droppings in the cage clearly.

For this reason, plain white paper (or newspaper) is the best cage liner for budgie cages.

cage liner paper
Paper used as cage liner on my cage

You can see all the gross details of a dropping on a plain white surface, such as paper.

A proper cage liner is also good for providing a flat walking surface when your bird decides to explore the bottom of the cage.

Related: What To Put At The Bottom Of A Bird Cage (Cage Liner)

5. Cuttlebones & Mineral Blocks

Cuttlefish bones are a calcium supplement used for many pets, but they also contain other vitamins and minerals.

Mineral blocks are essentially the same, except they may contain trace amounts of other nutrients.

Both cuttlebones and mineral blocks also make fun chew toys for budgies!

“But are they actually essential to a budgie’s cage setup?”

Considering they’re only a calcium supplement, they’re not entirely crucial to your budgies unless you believe they aren’t getting enough calcium from their diet. Breeding or moulting birds on the other hand should always have a cuttlebone available as they require much more calcium intake.

I talk a lot more in-depth about cuttlebones, mineral blocks, and how they benefit budgies here…

Where To Strategically Place Your Budgies Cage

There are almost endless ways to set up, design, and customise a budgie cage, but there are only a few suitable places in the household to place the cage.

No matter where you place the cage, at least 1 panel of the cage should act as a wall.

Look at where I’ve placed my cockatiels cage:

The back panel of the cage is facing the wall, which provides my cockatiel with the feeling of security as he knows nothing will sneak up behind him. You may also notice the blanket covering the left side, which provides an extra wall.

Some budgies can get a bit nervous when all sides of the cage are open and vulnerable.

Considering all this, my budgie cage placement suggestion is this:

Place your budgie’s cage in the corner of a room you occupy the most. This could be the living room, a bedroom, or a study room. If you can’t get the cage in a corner, having the back cage panel up against a wall is the next best thing.

Where To NOT Place A Budgie’s Cage

Some of the “less ideal” places to set up a budgie’s cage include:

  • In the centre of a room with no security walls – As mentioned, some budgies can feel vulnerable without at least 1 wall on the cage. Try not to place the cage in the centre of a high-activity room where your budgies can see movement all around them.
  • Near dog or cat beds – Dogs and cats can physically hurt your budgies, but the dander they produce can harm your bird’s respiratory system. Dog and cat fur quickly builds up on their beds, and that can all go flying through the air from a gust of wind, so it’s best not to have your budgie’s cage nearby where they can breathe it in.
  • Avoid the kitchen – If you cook often, it’s not a good idea to have your birds in the kitchen. Although some cooking fumes are safe, most release carbon monoxide and gases, among other harmful odours.
Image source: Pixabay

What To AVOID Adding To Your Parakeets Cage

Unfortunately, many items, toys, and materials marketed for pet budgies are not actually safe or good to use.

Here is a list of common items you should avoid adding to your parakeet’s cage setup:

  • Furry happy huts – Not only can the dark and enclosed space of a happy hut cause hormonal behaviour, but your budgie can also rip apart and digest the fabric, which can contribute to fatal crop impaction. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid those triangle-shaped furry huts.
  • Easily frayed rope toys or perches – Tough rope perches are perfectly safe as they don’t fray too easily. However, loose rope from toys or perches can be digested by your bird, which can cause crop impaction, just like those happy huts. Always check the quality of rope materials before adding them to the cage and then check them daily.
  • Heavy & toxic metals – Copper, lead, and zinc are commonly found in various household objects. If you’re unsure of what a metal object is really made from, don’t add it to your budgie’s cage. The safest metal for parrots is stainless steel, which is ideal for bowls and cage materials.
  • Breeding boxes – Unless you plan to turn your pet budgie into a breeder bird, avoid adding breeding boxes to the cage. Adding one can lead to extreme hormonal behaviour and your budgie could become generally unsociable toward humans.
budgie breeding box
Image source: Unsplash (two budgies in a breeding box)

Epic Budgie Cage Setup Ideas! (Pinterest Board)

There are almost unlimited ways to design a budgie’s cage, it’s almost like art! Pinterest has a great collection of images that can inspire some cage setup ideas, but a lot of those images suggest the use of unsafe materials, such as happy huts.

This Pinterest board contains design ideas that are 100% safe and suitable for a budgie’s cage:

Hopefully, these images can give you some inspiration 😉

Short Summary | Conclusion

Here’s a short summary of what was covered in this article:

  • The minimum dimensions required for a budgie cage = 18″ L x 18″ W x 10.5″H
  • Safe bar spacing length for budgies = Between 0.5″ and 0.7″
  • Where you should and shouldn’t place a budgie’s cage
  • What to avoid adding to the cage (happy huts, toxic metals, breeding boxes)

We also went through the 5 basic budgie cage accessories, which were:

  1. High-quality perches of varying textures, sizes, and diameters
  1. Stainless steel food & water dishes
  1. Enriching foraging & shredding toys
  1. Cage liner (what you put on the bottom of the cage)
  1. A cuttlebone or mineral block

Remember that when you’re designing a cage, you’re actually creating your budgie’s living space, so it must be set up to the highest standards. Try to think of how your bird will use each item before you put it in the cage. For example, install perches in a way that encourages flight across the longest direction of the cage.

Install bowls, toys, and cuttlebones near perches for easy access.

That’s my guidance on the subject, I hope you got value from this article!

For more advice, why not check out what Pisces Pets has to say on setting up parakeet cages?


Categories: Housing/Cage


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