One of the most important things a parrot needs is an adequate bird cage. Unfortunately, most people underestimate how much cage space their bird should have.
How Big of a Bird Cage Do You Need?
The truth is that the cages that are typically available at regular pet stores like PetCo and PetSmart are WAY TOO SMALL for your parrot (and that includes budgies and cockatiels).
These cages — often sold as “cockatiel kits” or something similar — are fine for transporting your bird home, as an alternative to a travel cage, or as a sleep cage, but not as a daytime cage where the bird will be spending the majority of his time.
Even if you anticipate being able to give your bird “out of cage” time for the majority of the day, you may still want to consider buying a large enough cage for your parrot to be able to spend longer stretches of time in it, in case something comes up.
Your bird’s cage should be large enough to fit a variety of different perches, several types of toys, food dishes and enough room for the bird to be able to climb around and fully stretch its wings. There should be enough room that you can arrange the toys, perches and food bowls so that the bird’s droppings don’t end up on any of them.
You should buy the largest cage you can afford (with the approriate bar spacing for your bird’s size and beak strength), but we recognize that every situation is unique.
Below are guidelines for minimum cage sizes to keep in mind as you consider different bird cages for sale. (Minimum means “the smallest that would work”, not “recommended”. We recommend going bigger in every case.)
|Bird Size||Minimum Cage Size|
(depth x width x height)
|Size Bar Spacing|
|Finches, Canaries*||20″x20″x20″||1/4″ to 1/2″|
|Budgies, Parrotlets, Lovebirds*||20″x24″x24″||1/4″ to 1/2″|
|Cockatiels, Small Conures||22″x28″x24″||1/2″ to 5/8″|
|Quakers, Poicephalus, Caiques,|
|26″x32″x34″||5/8″ to 3/4″|
|Mini Macaws, Ringneck Parakeets,|
|30″x32″x40″||5/8″ to 3/4″|
|Amazon Parrots,African Greys,|
|30″x36″x48″||3/4″ to 1″|
|Moluccan and Umbrella Cockatoos||36″x48″x48″||1″ to 1.5″|
|Larger Macaws||36″x48″x60″||1″ to 1.5″|
* Small birds tend to be very active, so they actually need more room to climb, play and fly relative to their size. We recommend flight cages as a great value for your small parrots.
Cages are a big investment, and once you buy one, it can be difficult to “upgrade” to a better size. Getting the right cage from the outset can be the wisest investment.
Also check out photos of cage setups to give you an idea of what these bird cages look like once “fully furnished”:
- Conure cage setup photos
- African Grey cage setup photos
- Pionus cage setup photos
- Cockatoo cage setup photos
Don’t know where to start? See what things to consider when choosing what kind of bird cage to buy.