Sunday, April 12, 2009

A View from the Bottom

Those of us with birds understand exactly what is involved in maintenance of the bird areas! It is part of the 'deal', and our ability to clean, easily but properly, is paramount.

One might think having birds in a cage free or semi-cage free environment might make clean up more difficult. Yet, keeping the Fort areas spiffy is easier than might be expected!

The 12'x15' room is carpeted, so flooring was needed. Fort Coco (and Fort Sammy) sit on a 5'x8' piece of enameled masonite flooring on 3/4" plywood.


Except for an occasional toy or pellet going airborne, everything remains on the flooring. Why? Because of the #1 rule of Fort design: consider the
poop-line! All perches and structures are placed with this geometry in mind.

Fort Strider will sit on this 3'x4' piece of enameled masonite with the coffee table as a base. Strider joined us in September, 2008 when I found him in a tree near my job. I was able to snatch him (this is the only time he has been grabbed), and while I knew I would not get a second chance, the real miracle was me ascending and descending the tree, at my age, in work clothes unharmed! Understandably, I am anxious for his Fort to be finished so he can have an appropriate living space.

Those of us with birds also know that what we use to clean our bird areas is of utmost importance. Given a bird's sensitive respiratory system, we cannot expose them to chemical agents such as ammonia, bleach or certain other commercially available cleaners without risking harmful or fatal results. Pet stores offer cage cleaning products, but they are not always economical. I have used a diluted bleach solution in a well ventilated area outdoors or far from the birds, and have also used soap and hot water over the years. And a good scrub brush. During the winter, cleaning in a bathtub may be the only option. Rinsing and allowing to dry is important as well. No matter the process, cage cleaning can be a chore. It is actually easier to keep the floor of the Fort clean than to clean the bars, grate and corners of a cage!

There are 3 primary tools for Fort cleaning:
  • Paper towels
  • Small whisk broom
  • A spray bottle of water with several drops of Murphy's Oil Soap
Spraying the floor and letting it stand for 1 minute enables it to be wiped clean with paper towels.

Sometimes I strategically place newspaper, further streamlining the cleaning process.




Coco, in particular, can make quite a mess. In less than 5 minutes, the flooring can be sprayed and wiped (or newspaper picked up and replaced), and toys and pellet crumbs swept up. That quick, it can be ready to be once again trashed by The Diva!

Another time-saver is an extra set of water bowls. Each day I collect the bowls and replace them with those cleaned and air dried the previous day.


Once my concern for easy cleaning was addressed, my attention turned to storage. Proper storage helps maintain a tidy appearance and encourages organization. The main house of Fort Coco was built with this in mind, with a door and two shelves.

Pellets are kept in their original bags, and I place nuts and treats in various sized glass mason jars.

Naturally, personalizing with Coco's name using sisal rope and furniture tacks was a must!




So, the view from the bottom is just as important as the view from the top! Anything we can do to streamline cleaning means more time for: our birds!







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1 comment:

wolfgirl1987 said...

Great info, Robin!

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