There is nothing better than natural wood toys and perches for birds, but which natural wood is safe for the bird and easy for you to source and maintain? What about bamboo?
Is bamboo safe for budgies? To keep budgies happy and healthy, fit their cage with perches and toys made of bamboo as bamboo is one of the safest woods for budgies. As long as it is not treated with pesticides, a bamboo branch with leaves attached is the perfect toy for a busy budgie that likes to chew and shred!
Many birdcages these days come with metal or plastic perches and toys which are not good for your budgies. Instead, you can have them replaced by perches made of natural wood, and bamboo is a great replacement option.
Bamboo is safe for birds
While common sense might say that wood of trees with edible fruit, or those that wild birds perch on is ok to use in birdcages, the truth is many aren’t.
Bamboo, on the other hand, is safe for wild and pet birds to sit on, chew on and generally wreak havoc on.
If you’re getting a bamboo perch for your budgies’ cage, opt for a natural branch that has grooves and use more than one of different thickness and place them at different heights as this mimics nature closely.
Perches of varying thickness allow birds to distribute their weight, prevent thinning of scales on the toes, arthritis, and other illnesses.
However, avoid using bamboo wood that has been treated with pesticides or other such chemicals that could potentially be hazardous to your bird’s life.
What to keep in mind when using a whole bamboo tree
Trees given fertilizer for strictly nutritional value are safe, but those trees that were given fertilizers with added fungicides or insecticides should be avoided.
Thorough cleaning is advised if…
If you’re purchasing a bamboo perch from a pet supply store, you don’t need to worry about cleaning the wood, but if you’re sourcing it yourself, you must clean it well.
Bamboo in North America is mostly free of rot and diseases and can be used in budgie cages safely, but it’s always a good idea to clean it before an industrious budgie gets to work shredding it.
Bamboo types that could be dangerous for budgies
Please note, certain types of bamboo are unsuitable for budgies. In fact, these plants are known as bamboo but are not actually bamboo trees. Lucky bamboo, heavenly bamboo, and Japanese Knotweed can make birds sick or even prove deadly.
Bamboo is easily available
Since bamboo is fairly common in Asia, Central America, Mexico, and the southeastern USA and Australia, people living in or near these areas should not face any difficulty in getting bamboo perches.
You could always ask family and friends to look around their neighborhood for some fresh bamboo sticks.
Many garden stores also carry bamboo that you can purchase and modify for a birdcage by trimming it, cleaning it and roughing it up a bit.
Bamboo is easy to care for
If you’ve bought your budgie a bamboo perch from a pet supply store, it should be ready for immediate placement in the cage.
However, for bamboo branches you have sourced yourself from bamboo tree patches or a plant nursery, give them a good cleaning with boiling water and a soft brush.
Allow drying in the sun or in the oven for 10 – 20 minutes (keep an eye on it throughout!) before fixing it in the cage.
If the perch becomes soiled, simply remove it and clean with hot water and a soft brush before allowing it to dry and putting it back in the cage.
Bamboo keeps budgies busy
Unlike woods like Balsa, which is safe for birds but so soft a small parrot chew through it in a matter of days, bamboo is soft enough to give your bird a sense of accomplishment after chewing through it, yet hard enough to make your budgie work for the accomplishment.
The bamboo wood and leaves may provide some measure of nutritional value to your budgie, but it should never be used as a replacement for proper bird food.
Bamboo is easily customized
Getting a bamboo branch for a birdcage is not difficult and because it is a softer wood, you can easily trim it to the size desired yourself.
Since bamboo is a smooth wood and most branches budgies sit on in the wild are rough, you can roughen the branch a bit with sandpaper so your bird can get a firmer grip on the branch.
A general rule for bird perches is to have them of a diameter that allows a bird to curl its toes 2/3 of the way around it. For a budgie, that diameter is approximately 1 – 3 cm.
Since bamboo branches will mostly be of uniform thickness throughout you might want to place two, maybe even three if cage size allows, perches of different diameters so your budgie has the option of moving from one to other.
Remember, narrow perches can result in atrophied feet and wide perches will result in birds feeling uncomfortable and unsafe as they will not be able to balance well on them.
Which woods are unsafe for budgies?
Not all woods that produce edible fruits and flowers are safe for use in a budgie’s cage. These could include certain fruit and nut trees. For example, a budgie may love eating mangoes, but placing mango wood or leaves in the cage can cause serious harm to it.
What other types of perches can you have?
Since bamboo wood perches will be smoother than other natural perches, it is a good idea to have a couple of other perches made of different natural materials placed in the cage and outside if your budgie is allowed out of the cage.
Concrete, sand, cuttlebone and other wood branches are always a good idea. When needed, use hot water and wire brushes to clean all but the cuttlefish perch. Allow them to dry well before refitting.
Not only do they provide a variety of textures for your budgie, but they’re also important in keeping nails trimmed and beaks polished. In the case of the cuttlefish perches, they provide extra nutrients that are important for the bird’s health.
Additionally, we recommend reading the following articles:
- Are plastic perches bad for budgies?
- The 5 best perches for budgies!
- 4 Reasons why cuttlebones are crucial for pet birds!
- Are heated perches safe for birds?
Do I have to keep more than one budgie? Ideally, yes. Budgies are social creatures that like being around their own and their human. Keeping just one budgie could mean dealing with a bored bird that’ll either get up to mischief, mope or in extreme cases, pull out its feathers.
What is the ideal cage size for budgies? If you plan on keeping your budgies caged most of the time, make the space large enough for them to fly across the width, but if you plan on letting them out for long periods of time the cage could be a bit smaller. Either way, make sure your bird has space enough to move around without pooping on other things in the cage.