The importance of the right perch for your cockatiels can not be stressed enough. If you have the wrong perches then this can lead to feet and claw injuries.
The Perfect Perch
This is the only way to best keep your cockatiels feet and claws healthy, by having a varied style and size of perch. The best perches would be from native tree branches of various shapes as the come in all different shapes and sizes and offer a variety of things to nibble on. Unfortunately not all of us are lucky enough to live in an area that you can just go and trim off a branch or two. Saying that, most pet stores do stock some natural wooden perches or climbing frames that you can adapt.
So the next best thing is… natural wooden perches of different diameters. The different diameter is important because without various sizes the claws of the cockatiel will grow long and touch the other side of the foot resulting in cuts and infections. You’d rather go for bigger perches than smaller.
The best way to tell if the size is good is to see if the feet when standing on the perch do not wrap around the perch allowing the claws to touch.
You can use the flexible perches that come with a screw and nut to hold it in place. These are a great way to enhance your cage without having to try and fix in a wooden perch which can be difficult if your cage has the wrong size bars…
Perches don’t necessary have to go the whole way across the cage either, they can be in the form of a mirrors, swings and ladders. Even a cuttlefish bone which is a much need form of calcium in your cage can act as a perch. Your cockatiels will find their favourite spots to rest on during the day.
Try not to over do it when adding perches either as they will only inhibit the space that your cockatiel needs to stretch its wings. And during night frights the more cluttered a cage the more likely that they will injure themselves.
Perches To Avoid
These are generally ones that are covered in sand paper, or plastic. This is too aggressive for cockatiel feet. They do not form hard skin and so do not need any abrasive paper to rub on. Some people say that cockatiels need abrasive elements to keep their beak sharp and clean, well they do that on the side of cuttle bone, the side of the cage and especially on natural wooden perches. Plastic coated perches are prone to cracking and peeling, avoid these as the birds will pick them apart and reveal any toxic material beneath.
Also be aware of those colourful rope perches. Make sure that all coloured items have been approved, by that I mean that you are satisfied that the colours are bird friendly and contain no toxins. For more information read this post on various toys and additions to your cage that you might want to be aware off.
We have coloured rope items in our cages that we have made sure are safe for our birds, remember some products are made very cheap and therefore are likely to break or come apart easily, just be careful and always check the cage including things like mirrors rope ladders etc.
When setting up the cage, make sure a few comfortable perches are up high enough for the cockatiels to sleep on yet still have space to move.