If your budgie’s mess is causing you distress, rest assured that you are not alone. Budgies may be small, but as any budgie owner can attest, they can — and frequently do — make big messes. Throwing food around their cages, splashing in their water dishes, and spreading feathers about the room are just a few of the ways they like to have fun, all the while oblivious to the messy work they are creating for their owners.
Here are a few ways you can stop (or at least decrease) the mess made by your favorite feathery friend:
1. Re-evaluate Your Cage
Owner-friendly features built into a cage can make all the difference in the amount of cleaning required. To minimize mess, consider upgrading to a cage with a few extra-helpful features.
- Keep an eye out for slanted bottom panels that are designed to help waste roll down into the bottom of the cage instead of onto your clean floor.
- Consider getting a cage with sliding metal trays at the bottom to catch waste or even a cage that attaches directly to the litter tray. Either of these features can make it much easier to keep the mess in until you are ready to clean it out.
- Find an extra-tall cage. Budgies prefer to perch at the tops of their cages, so be sure to put their food and water towards the bottom. The more space there is between where your bird eats and where he perches means less food is scattered and sent airborne when he flaps and flies around up above.
- Look for a cage with a built-in debris guard or seed skirt. A quality guard will have tight seams that keep even the smallest debris from making a mess on your floor.
- While a round cage may be whimsical and aesthetically appealing, if you want to use newspaper as a liner, you will never be able to get a perfect fit without trimming the paper just so, which can prove tricky and time-consuming. A rectangular or square cage may be a cleaner choice.
2. Aid with Add-ons
If you do not plan to invest in a new cage, there are plenty of items on the market that you can find to aid in your fight against the mess. Here are some simple things you can use in conjunction with your current cage to help diminish the debris — and your workload.
- Add on a seed catcher. They come in many varieties. You can find inexpensive nylon mesh netting to keep the mess in or plastic guards that resemble funnels to send the mess to one convenient spot. You can even make your own.
- Erecting three to four-inch panels around the bottom insides of the cage using acrylic or stainless steel is another successful way to keep the unwanted mess contained.
- Finding a mat that is easy to throw in the washing machine or wipe up may save your floors — and your sanity. If your bird likes to splash water around, find one that is made of absorbent material to keep water from being tracked around the house later.
- Add a perch that bolts on directly in the middle of the cage and does not extend to the sides. If your bird’s new favorite place to roost is away from the edges of his cage, he will likely keep all messes directly below him and off of your floors. If you want to know what kind of perches are best for budgies, have a look at our article on the best budgie perches here!
3. Clean Smarter, Not Harder
When it comes time to clean your bird’s cage, there are a few tips that savvy owners know that help to keep them from having to clean up after the cleanup.
- Use a mister before you pull out the newspaper. If you lightly spray the paper before you roll it up, all of the debris will stick to it, making it much easier to throw out while minimizing the mess.
- Stack the newspaper several sheets thick. Then you can peel off a couple of sheets at a time, exposing clean layers for your budgie just underneath.
- Keep a handheld vacuum close when you are cleaning out your budgie’s cage. It is a must-have item for people who find themselves constantly tracking tiny bird seeds throughout their house — the ones a broom would miss.
- Consider purchasing a robot vacuum if you can. Set it to clean your budgie’s room twice a day, and you will find yourself loving the low-maintenance life.
- If you know your birds are most active and “flappy” at certain times of day, try to clean just before they like to have their fun. Then maybe they will be less likely to spread their joy around the entire room.
- If you do have an unusually-shaped cage, spend one day a week pre-cutting sheets of newspaper so that they will be handy when you need them.
- Invest in an air purifier that is made specifically for rooms with pets; this will catch much of your bird’s airborne dander and will even cut down on any bird-related odors.
4. Change the Way He Eats
The bulk of your budgie’s mess probably comes from his food. Budgies typically throw hulls around and generally make a shambles of their cage during mealtime. Thankfully, there are a few ways to cut down on dining disasters.
- You can invest in a spill-proof feeder. These have chambers that your bird enters so that when they eat, the mess stays within the feeder instead of scattering around their cage — and your house.
- Consider purchasing a feeder that is geared towards separating the hulls from the seeds as your bird eats. This keeps your budgie from digging through his leftovers to get to his food, thereby eliminating him throwing food around his cage to find what he wants.
- Think about changing his food to pellets if his diet consists mostly of seeds. Not only are pellets less messy in general, but many bird experts assert that they are much healthier for budgies as well.
- Rethink your budgie’s treats. Bananas and strawberries are mushy and can easily be smeared all over his cage in the blink of an eye. If your budgie especially enjoys them, just be sure to wipe out the cage immediately after he is done so that the mess does not dry and harden, making more work for you later. If you want to know what treats are best for budgies, read our article on the 12 best budgie treats here!
Can I Potty Train My Budgie to Minimize Mess?
While some consider it extreme or even virtually impossible, if your bird’s mess has you desperate, potty training may be just the tactic for you to employ.
Step One – Observe Your Bird
First, for several days, observe your bird’s potty cues. What does he do just before he relieves himself? Does he crouch? Fluff up his feathers? Step backward?
Then write down when he is most likely to go to the bathroom throughout the day. It is typically just after he wakes up, immediately following mealtimes, and after exciting playtimes.
Step Two – Pick a Command
Choose something simple and easy to remember — a phrase that you feel comfortable saying in front of others or having your children repeat. “Go potty,” is a good choice.
While one person should be mostly responsible for your budgie’s potty training, it is important that everyone who may lend a hand use the same phrase.
Step Three – Pick a Potty Spot
While a tissue or paper towel may seem like a good idea, keep in mind that once your budgie associates that material with his “toilet,” he will most likely think any and every tissue or paper towel fits the bill. Therefore it is important that you pick something that is not so commonplace.
You may want to use the trash can, a newspaper (as long as you do not read one at the table each morning), or a specific spot in his cage.
Step Four – Time to Train
As soon as you recognize one of your budgie’s potty cues, immediately hold him over the designated potty spot and give the command. Praise him when he does go. Make sure to give him his favorite treat and plenty of affection afterward.
The treat should be something he only gets when he follows your potty command. Just like with potty training children, your bird will not get it overnight. It will take time and consistency.
Multiple repetitions over time may be required before he associates your command with his actions.
Step Five – Be Vigilant
Once your budgie seems trained, it is still always up to you to keep an eye on him and watch for cues. He may occasionally be too excited or distracted to remember to use his spot and require a friendly reminder.
If your budgie has been out of his cage for fifteen minutes without using his “toilet”, he may need you to help him recall where he is supposed to go to do his business.
Under the eye of a watchful owner, not only can an intelligent little budgie become potty trained, but a talkative one may even start giving himself the potty command!
Why is My Budgie Losing So Many Feathers? The most likely reason for the loss of feathers is that your budgie is molting, a process that allows for budgies to lose their feathers gradually and replace them with fresh feathers. It should only last for two to three weeks.