What makes the best perch for your pet parrot? The answer is easy – it should be natural material as in your birds’ natural habitats. In nature birds don’t need a nail or beak trim – their environment takes care of all of this – so give your parrot natural wooden perch.
In your home parrots are 24/7 on their feet especially if they spend most of the day locked in cages. Your bird needs few different perches of various diameters and with irregular surface to properly exercise its feet – just as branches and twigs on trees. Different structure/hardness of perches will help trim its beak and nails naturally – many birds owners and breeder would strongly discourage you from use of sandpaper and cement perches as it may damage your parrots’ feet. As a general rule the feet of your bird should go 3/4 around its main perch. Even though dowel perches are the easiest to find and common ones they shouldn’t be the only perches your bird has. Big flat wooden rest perches also gain their popularity and may be mounted high in the cage for the night sleep (some would recommend rope perches for that – give your parrot options and very soon you will see more happier pet). New perches as well as perches already used by your bird should be washed and cleaned regularly (perches in front of the feeding station more often then others). New natural wooden perches besides washing could be placed in oven for the lowest setting of 200 F for an hour or so to make sure all the insects that may be lurking in the wood are gone.
The most common perches you can find made from (listed in alphabetic order not given any priority):
Island Wood (Coffee)
Wacky Wood Lima
All of these perches serve your parrots’ needs at best. All of them pretty hard if seasoned/dried properly and have many other beneficial properties as well – some could be left with bark, some sand blasted – that makes surface uneven and very comfortable for good grip for your parrot, others prized for its natural uneven surface and crevices that could keep your parrot occupied for hours.
Cactus (Cholla)- Cholla is a term applied to various shrubby cacti of Opuntia genus with cylindrical stems composed of segmented joints. Perches made from those sun dried cylindrical stems exercise your bird’s feet and legs; give an extra texture for perching, and also irresistible chewing stick by itself; plus, Cholla’s natural nooks and crannies are great for hiding treats.
Cajeput Tree, also known as White Tea Tree, Swamp Tea Tree and White Wood is a tree of the family Myrtaceae native to the East Indies and Tropical Australia. Cajeput wood is hard and very strong when seasoned /dried properly. Tea tree oil derived from leafs and twigs very well known for its antiseptic properties. Those qualities along with being native to Australia make it a good choice for the parrots’ perches. Be aware that oil of this tree is very volatile and some people report it as allergen.
Dragon Wood (Dracaena is a genus of 40 trees and suqqulent shrubs) –dragon tree is evergreen very slow growing tree – it may take up to 10 years to grow about 1 meter tall tree, thus its wood very dense and hard. Tree exterior, spiky lives and red resin probably responsible for its name. The majority of the species are native in Africa, with a few in southern Asia and one in tropical Central America. The rock hard wood of these trees makes it good choice for the bird perch and it’s easy to clean. Dragon Tree branches subtly curved, pretty straight and even in circumference compare to that of Manzanita.
Eucalyptus (very hard when seasoned/dried properly) makes an excellent perch. Eucalyptus trees are natural habitat to many birds and parrots. Wood from this trees used in perches and toys for parrots by quite a few pet companies, also you can find some chewing parrot toys from eucalyptus wood and leafs, that claimed to be beneficial for your bird (because of trace elements and minerals and oils, leafs are also believed to help reduce inflammation). Perch from this tree can be beneficial to your parrot feet health as eucalyptus oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
You could do a perch for your bird from fresh eucalyptus branch if you have available even though it wouldn’t be so durable as professionally seasoned/dried, but on the other hand if you have a constant supply – change it as soon as structure becomes weak.
Grapevine wood – is a byproduct from pruning old vineyards, prized for its natural look, attractive form, and excellent durability. It is a renewable resource and is best suited in medium to low humidity environments only – exactly as most of human homes are. Under wet or high humidity, grape wood has a tendency to fungus or mold easily. Many bird owners say that their pets loved wood natural crevices and knots. Sandblasted perches can be scrubbed clean easily.
Island Wood (Coffee) – After producing coffee for many years, coffee trees become non-productive and dormant. After those trees removed from the ground, its branches properly shaped and carved used for making various applications – pet perches and stands. Usually its hardwood debarked, sanded and kiln dried.
Manzanita perches prized for its hardness and unique shape. You can find it left with its bark intact (red color) or sandblasted, depending on your preference. Sandblasted Manzanita has a coarse surface texture and a clean elegant presentation. Natural Red Manzanita has a smoother surface texture and a darker appearance – from bright red to deep burgundy depending on how aged they are.
Ribbon Wood – Very hardy shrubs and trees from New Zealand and Australia, whose inner bark yields a strong fiber similar to flax. Several species belonging to 2 genuses Plagianthus and Hoheria have common name Ribbonwood with very similar descriptions. Perches from this hardwood usually keep some of the innerbark that can be stripped by your bird providing it with hours of ammusement.
Rosewood – refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish and good choice for the birds’ perches. True rosewoods belong to genus Dalbergia. Most of the species originated from Brazilia, tropical America, Southeast Asia, Madagascar and Africa.
Yellow Cow Wood – refers to wood from cratoxylum cochinchinense tree – fairly common in semi-open areas and along forest margins in Burma (Myanmar), South China (Hainan, Hong Kong), Malay Peninsula, Indochina, Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo), Thailand and Laos (Khammouan). Plentiful supply makes use of this tree great green choice: this deciduous tree is one of the first trees in returning forest. Another very good reasons for using it for birds perches are durability, hardiness, flexibility and good resistance to the splitting. The wood considered being lighter yet harder than Manzanita wood.
Wacky Wood Lima – Perches are usually made from the roots of equatorial wood Lima, the natural irregular shape of this perch provides excellent exercise as bird walk (it often has somewhat of spiral shape). Lima Root is an ultra hardwood known for long-lasting durability. And with all its dips and curves, your bird is sure to get a workout!
* – All the information provided is collective from many sources over the Internet, birds’ owners, breeders and other public sources. It’s provided for your convenience only and does not represent any warranties or promises. If in doubt – always contact your avian veterinarian and manufacturer of the product in question.