Our pet birds are always on their feet. They don't have the luxury to lounge on a sofa with their feet propped up. Now, imagine you must grip something firmly with your hands all day long. Your joints would become pretty achy after being in the same position for a few hours. Birds must constantly grip bird perches with their feet, so a fit is critical.
Provide several perches for foot health
One of the best pieces of advice that vets give is to provide several perches with variable diameters and textures throughout the bird cage. According to Dr. Larry Nemetz in California, your birds sleeping perch should be a perfect fit. He recommends that this perch, in particular, allows your to bird wrap its foot about 3/4 of the way around. This is the "75% Perch Rule."
How to Choose the Right Sized Perch
Choosing a right sized perch is important to prevent foot sores and arthritis in toe joints. The goal in individualized sizing is to reduce the strain on the series of joints in your birds’ feet.
“If the perch is too big, there is potential for pressure sores at the junction of the first inside toe (digit #1) and the first forward toe (digit #2) and for the birds to fall off of the perch while sleeping because the toes are not grasping properly” says Dr. Nemetz. Pressure sores can be quite painful and can easily become infected.
If the perch diameter is too small the joints in your birds/ feet will become cramped and painful.
Natural branches are highly recommended for all birds since they offer variability in the diameter across the entire length of the perch so your bird can easily move to a more comfortable position.
Rope perches are another popular perch for two reasons. First, your bird can dig its’ nails into the cotton fibers providing stability. And, secondly, rope perches are just plain old comfy!
The Thermo-Perch Heated Perch is very useful not only in winter climates, but for keeping a stressed or ill bird warm. We recommend that you keep a Thermo-Perch as part of your bird first aid kit. These heated perches tend to run big to allow most of the foot surfact to be in contact with the warmth.
Conditioning Bird Perches
Probably our favorite perch at BirdSupplies.com is the Sandy Perch. We like to put one or twoof them in each of our birds cages.
Sandy Perches are made from a bonded sand compound that sticks to natural branches. The sand is carefully inspect to insure that the individual grains are not sharp. The sandy texture gently grooms the sharp edges of grown claws minimizing and even eliminating the need for manual grooming on many birds.
We’ve used Sandy Perches for years to minimize the need for manually trimming the nails and beak. Our birds’ nails are gently rounded making it very comfortable to pick them up. Plus, we find that nicely groomed nails don’t get caught in fabrics and cotton bird toys as much, saving our shirts. We’ve probably used the same Sandy Perches for 10 years, so the investment definitely pays for itself in savings of grooming costs.