Caging Your Lory

Margrethe Warden

For any bird the housing is important. At the bare minimum, the cage should be large enough that if the bird sits in the center and outstretches its wings it could turn completely around without touching.

There are several factors that will influence cage selection. Price is a big one. Itís easy to spend considerably more on the cage than was spent on the bird. The location of the cage is another, lesser factor. In what room it will be placed may determine certain elements such as color. Available space is a big consideration when purchasing a cage for your pet bird. While one might want to buy the biggest cage on the market, if the space available is only a 24-inch corner in the living room, the cage cannot be larger.

Lories are incredibly active birds. Unlike many other types of parrots they tend to utilize the entire cage, including top, bottom and all sides. This can present a dilemma for the person who wants a reasonably sized cage to put in their home.

The ideal size for a single lory would be in the range of 2í tall, 3í wide and 3í deep. Lories need the width and length more than the height. Cage manufacturers however are not inclined to make a cage with these dimensions. In the absence of other choices, look for a cage that is about 24" square. If appearance is not the most important thing, breeder style cages made from galvanized wire can be larger without costing a lot. These would be the most inexpensive cages available. Some lory owners have even used ferret cages and found them to be quite suitable for lories.

Another essential cage element is bar spacing. Make sure the bars are not far enough apart for the bird to get its head stuck. If your lory is one of the smaller varieties, perhaps ĺ" spacing would be the safest. For the larger birds such as the Lorius and Chalcopsitta varieties, 1" spacing is acceptable. The bars must be such that toys and perches can be fastened on.

One of the most important consideration is cleaning and sanitizing. Lories, like most parrots, are not especially neat creatures. Having a pull out bottom tray is practical. The tray can be lined with newspaper, which is cheap and safe, and can easily be cleaned. A grate in the bottom is also a good idea as it keeps the bird out of dropped food and feces. Pull-out grates are wonderful because they can be removed and easily cleaned. The cage itself should not be so heavy that it cannot be moved easily. If a wheeled stand is available for the cage thatís even better. This makes moving a bulky cage easier, even to point of wheeling it outside for a good cleaning with a garden hose. Some cages also offer seed guards or some sort of attachable apron. These are effective in catching droppings and food but be sure they can be removed easily for cleaning. Toys and perches should also be ones that are easily removed and cleaned. Many cage accessories such as perches and toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Finally, be sure the cage you select has an opening large enough for you to reach in with both hands as you may need to remove the bird from time to time.

Because the nature of lory droppings is a bit unlike other parrots you may wish to do some additional mess control. A plastic chair mat, sold in any office supply store, can protect carpets. Shower curtains or shower board can be hung on the walls behind the cage. Some people prefer to hang panels made of acrylic or similar material that can be removed for easy clean up. All it takes is a little imagination and possibly a power tool.

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