How to Choose Your Bird’s Stand – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
Hi, I am Rick Horvitz with Golden Cockatoo in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and I am here to talk to you about perches since you already have your parrot. This perch, which I have right here, is what will come with the cage that you just bought. It is a dowel. It is an even circumference. It looks real pretty, it looks real smooth. But it is horrible for your bird. Throw it away. Get rid of it. Okay? We do not like it. Why do not we like it? There is no variance in diameter. Horrible. Imagine, the bird normally flies and now it is in the cage a lot, at least sleeping, in the same spot every night with his feet exactly the same way. Now what would happen to your hands if your hands were like that all day long? Arthritis, cramps, etc.
It is very important to have something for the perch, for your bird to perch on, that is going to, basically, have a lot of variance in diameter. One of the first woods that people started using for their parrots was manzanita. Now manzanita does have a variance in diameter. This happens to be a piece of manzanita that has been scraped. The manzanita is a really nice red wood. It is a desert wood – Arizona, high desert areas is where it grows. And it was used at first because people could just go up in the hills and basically cut the wood down for free, put a bolt and a fender washer in the bottom of it, and sell it to people with birds. The problem with manzanita is that it is very, very slippery, so the birds get something that is called “bumblefoot”. When they try to grab onto it, they slide, and when they slide, it causes abrasion on their pads right here, which is not good for the bird. Plus it is so hard that when the birds do chew it, it splinters and breaks apart and gets destroyed fairly easily. Right now, there are still some people who like manzanita. It is still available, it is very inexpensive. It is better than a dowel, but it is not the best wood for your bird.
What has recently come out for parrots that you will see a lot of is this wood, which is coffeewood. It is beautiful. It is gorgeous. Great piece of furniture. Is it good for birds? In my opinion, no. Why not? Same thing as manzanita: it is very slippery, it is very hard. It is even more slippery than manzanita, because a lot of places just basically, actually slide it and take the little bark that is on there, on the tree, off to make it extremely slippery. And then when they clean it, it gets even more slippery. (Hey, Sam, do you mind?) So it looks pretty; I say no for javawood, coffeewood, whatever people call it. We offer it; a lot of stores offer it. It is fine if you want to use one or two perches, I guess, as variety, but do not use it as a roosting perch, do not use it as a food perch. Maybe use it for in between. Certainly not as a stand.
Another type of wood which I do like a lot is this, which is really a vine. It is called grapevine. It does not look anything like this when it is producing grapes. But what people have done is gone to the vineyards, and made a deal with the vineyards to take the non-producing grapevines, sandblast them, the good companies bake them to get the bugs out of them, and offer them for the birds. You can see after what I have said why this is so good for birds: a lot of variance in diameter, a lot of nooks and crannies, so any size bird could really use this perch. A little Green Cheek could use this, the Hyacinth Macaw behind me, or Sam here, our blue-and-gold, could use it. No problem at all. It is a great piece of wood. Because there is nooks and crannies, it is a little bit more difficult to clean, but I like it. Grapevine is a really good wood to use, especially if it has been baked, so you do not have the bug issue.
And another type of wood that is really new is the bottle brush. It has been around for years. A lot of people do not know about it. It is a Florida wood. Birds like to chew and they like to gnaw, and this does both, this provides both for the birds. Plus, there is a variance in diameter as you can see. The outside bark is thick, it is chewy, it is fun, it is a toy, so the birds can chew off the bark. So now this perch is not only a perch, but it is also a toy. Underneath, the wood is very hard, but it also compresses, so when the birds gnaw on it, it squeaks and it compresses together, and little pieces of it come off rather than bit chunks of it splintering off. So this is our favorite wood, and birds’ favorite wood.